If you hadn’t noticed, last week was Tolkien Week; with the seventy-fifth anniversary of The Hobbit on Friday and Bilbo and Frodo’s shared birthday yesterday, it’s been a fun week for Ringers and other assorted Tolkien freaks. And Peter Jackson’s contribution to the festivities was a new trailer for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey on Wednesday. It was supposed to drop at 10 AM, but actually went up half an hour before; lucky for me, because in the battle between my Latin class and Tolkien, I have no idea who would win. Let’s take a look.
- 0:02: We open on stunning vistas of Middle-Earth—er, New Zealand.
- 0:10: Action shot! The Company draws up to the camera.
- 0:14: The Shire, as green as lush as ever.
- 0:16: This shot, Bilbo looking out the window, is beautifully composed.
- 0:19: I’ve probably mentioned this, but I like Bilbo’s ensemble here—the golden vest and the teal ascot. Very dapper, Bilbo!
- 0:22: And now I finally have a bead on how Fili sounds. This is more important than you might think.
- 0:25: Dwarves greeting each other via headbutt! Balin looks like he’s going to be brilliant, which, of course, only rubs more salt in the wound when we get to Moria in The Fellowship of the Ring.
- 0:26: Ah, Gandalf the Grey, my favorite homeless wizard.
- 0:36: Martin Freeman is Bilbo Baggins. There’s a few alternate endings to the trailer, and the first one has Freeman being perfect.
- 0:49: “I’m going on an adventure!” This could be too twee, but it works great.
- 0:53: Man, I guess being semi-immortal gives you enough time to learn how to casually but impressively drape your clothing about yourself. Nicely done, Galadriel.
- 0:59: I heard about this moment from TheOneRing.Net, and it still makes me tear up. The idea that Bilbo, a regular hobbit, inspires Gandalf, one of the Maiar, to be brave is just so incredibly touching.
- 1:06: I am not sure how I feel about this bit of Rivendell. I can understand trying to beef up “and then Elrond holds the map up to the full moon” into something a bit more impressive, but the production design feels more dwarven than elven. Hmm.
- 1:08: Man, remember when shots like this would absolutely blow our minds? It’s nice to see everyone in proportion.
- 1:11: Goblintown!
- 1:13: Bunny sled. Bunny sled. And it works.
- 1:14: Radagast the Brown, as played by Sylvester McCoy, who is awesome. I think he’s got a prosthetic nose and I’m a bit concerned that the white stuff in his hair is bird poo.
- 1:17: But bird poo or no, this is perfect—Radagast’s home, tending to the little wounded hedgehog… this is sort of what I think Jackson is going for, in marrying the simple text of The Hobbit with the epic tone of his The Lord of the Ringstrilogy. (Roommate: “Is Radagast normally associated with hedgehogs?”)
- 1:19: And then spiders. Always with the spiders.
- 1:21: Gollum is looking better—obviously, as it’s sixty years before the whole torture business.
- 1:26: Oh man, chills hearing Serkis do the voice again on the big screen. Eee!
- 1:35: Perfect interchange. Riddles in the Dark should be very good indeed.
- 1:38: Wargs!
- 1:42: “I would take each and every one of these dwarves over the mightiest army.” Ohana means family, people. (Family means we eat the weak.)
- 1:51: I love this shot, and not just because I love James Nesbitt. But it really gets at the camaderie; y’all remember that very short scene from The Fellowship of the Ring, where they’re making camp and Boromir is teaching Merry and Pippin a few moves with a sword? I adore that scene, so I’m happy to see the same vibe here and represented in the trailer.
- 1:54: Hero shot!
- 1:58: And then I started tearing up hearing Gandalf say “Home is now behind you; the world ahead”, because that’s a line from the song Pippin sings in The Return of the King. Argh, my heart.
- 2:00: Goblintown looks great!
- 2:07: Matching the ring to the O in the title? Bless you, editor, bless you. I appreciate you.
- 2:12: A snarky Irish dwarf? And it’s not even my birthday!
In conclusion: AAAAAHHHHH!
This week has been a usual week for me—busy as all get out and feeling ragged as a result. I realize I’m falling behind on comments; I’ll try to tend them at the end of each week, once my schedule settles down. I started on Virginia Woolf’s Orlando and finished Iola Leroy for class, as well as actually picking up An Old-Fashioned Girl again, if only to get to another Sherlock Holmes collection around the time Elementary starts. I’ve also started watching Once Upon a Time on Friday—guys, I found out where all the nineties fantasy aesthetic went! Also: swordfighting with babies. Context is for the weak.
The Baen Free Library is full of free downloads, including The Shadow of the Lion and On Basilisk Station. Night Shade Books is offering Butcher Bird and Grey as free downloads at the moment. Vertigo Comics is offering free downloads of the first issue of several series, including Fables, The Unwritten, and Y: The Last Man. (And you will go download The Unwritten.) Small Beer Press offers several of their books as free downloads, including Kelly Link’s Magic for Beginners. If I’ve missed your giveaway or freebie, drop me a line!
What did you make of the new The Hobbit trailer?