I hope you all had a great holiday season full of joy and happiness with your family and friends. I know my Christmas was fantastic and I was blest to be home with my mother, father, brother and some extended family. Also, wringing in the New Year was a joy – I particularly enjoyed watching Levi LaVallee and Robbie Maddison’s New Years No Limits jump across the San Diego Bay. 2012 may bring us the end of the world but I know I am excited about what challenges and blessings it will deliver.
However don’t think that, just because its the holidays, I haven’t been hard at work retooling the blog here and preparing for Season 2 of Art of the Trailer. 😉 I have been getting things ready for this New Year Trailer Extravaganza week and I am really excited to kick everything off with one of the biggest trailers to hit the net ever. Returning to Middle Earth after a nine year absence, Peter Jackson brings us back to Tolkien’s magical world and relives “There and Back Again”. The tale preceding the Oscar winning trilogy comes to the Silver Screen in a bold and highly anticipated manner that is sure to be one of the biggest films of the year, despite its releasing so late in the season. So, without further ado, please enjoy the first trailer for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey:
Just like they did a decade ago when selling audiences on The Fellowship of the Ring, Peter Jackson and New Line Cinema have to overcome one major problem: people don’t really know the story. I can honestly say that I read the first two Lord of the Rings books in middle school only after the first movie had come out and, had it not been for the film, I would not have understood it at all. Despite the universal literary acclaim and worldwide popularity, I doubt many people could have accurately summarized the plot for me based only on the books. People simply didn’t read them until they were older and for a filmmaker that 18-25 age category is the money range; so Peter Jackson needed to sell us a story we all knew ABOUT but few actually knew. And from this trailer I can say that they did a great job at it.
First, let me say that I loved the linear nature of this trailer, picking up where we left off with Bilbo writing his novel and reflecting back to the events of The Hobbit. What was most impressive was that every aspect of the trailer acted in progression from start to finish, taking the viewer on a sweeping adventure through that which we know and have seen (Lord of the Rings) into this new era of Middle Earth. The editing and the score created an environment that we were not entering something new, but that we were merely going home after a long holiday.
The makers of the trailer did a great job of bringing us back into the world of the Lord of the Rings, starting with the musical theme for the Shire and Ian Holm’s monologue informing us of, as Paul Harvey would say, “the rest of the story”. From there, we are taken on a journey all it’s own through the new scores and themes of this two-part film. The Dwarven song which has so much gravity in the trailer is then flawlessly molded into the underlying score, reminding us that this will be it’s own epic film. Completing the odyssey, the trailer ends right back in something that we know with the old theme for the Ring and with a certain Andy Serkis character’s hauntingly inquisitive line. The whole trailer eases the audience back into the world, reveals the new directions it is heading, and brings us back to the beginning of the Oscar-winning trilogy – and all that with only the music!
Another strong point of the trailer is the introduction of all of the new characters. While we all know and love Ian Holm as Bilbo Baggins, the trailer gives us our first real look at the new player – Martin Freeman. Coming from Hitchhiker’s Guide and Sherlock fame, fans were wondering how the British funny man would fair as a mild-mannered hobbit and the trailer shows us that he seems to handle it just fine. Ian McKellan reprises his role as Gandalf and Cate Blanchett is also back as elf-queen Galadriel.
The one critique I have about this trailer (and story really) is that, though I have watched the trailer 10 or more times in preparation for this review, I still can’t understand the names of the Dwarves. I get that it plays to a humorous effect, but I still need some sort of distinction between the characters. They do manage to isolate Thorin Oakenshield enough for me to know that he will be the most important of the supporting cast but still I wish they had made that a bit more clear.
Other than that one little nitpick I really loved the whole thing. It did a great job of selling me not one but two films and reminding me of that world with which I am already familiar. I am particularly excited for The Hobbit because I know much less about this one than I did about Lord of the Rings – and of course I now know that story more completely because of the films. The original trilogy taught us the end of the story and I think this one will follow in their footsteps well to deliver the exciting beginning.
Overall Rating: 5//5
Well, there you go! The first trailer of the New Year Trailer Extravaganza is complete and we are off to a great season of for the Art of the Trailer. The Hobbit is slated to release in two parts: An Unexpected Journey (2012) and There and Back Again (2013) and I plan to catch both of them in theaters opening weekend. What did you think of this first look at Peter Jackson’s next epic tale? Do you think they are advertising too early, seeing as the film won’t be out until December, or do you think the early hype will help lift the film past the dismal theater attendance of this past year? Please let me know what you thought of the trailer in the comments below.
Don’t forget to tune in tomorrow for part 2 of the New Year Trailer Extravaganza! I will be reviewing a trailer that came out at the very end of 2011, yet has managed to set fire to the sci-fi fanbase. Ridley Scott returns to the the genre that he recreated with an origin story to his acclaimed franchise. So, check back tomorrow for my review of the first trailer for Promethius!