A few days ago Peter Jackson announced that, in celebration of Tolkien week, a second, full-length trailer would be released for the first installment in his Hobbit trilogy, titled The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. For many a fan, this is the first new footage they’ve been treated to since the teaser premiered some nine months ago; others will recognize that a healthy chunk of the new trailer features excerpts from the 12 minutes of material previewed at the Hobbit Comic-Con panel.
An Unexpected Journey continues to look like a visually-magnificent treatment of J.R.R. Tolkien’s source novel, as you would expect from the filmmakers behind the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Middle-earth is as gorgeous a fantasy realm as ever, thanks to Jackson’s expertise at capturing the New Zealand landscapes in all their majesty – not to mention, improvements in CGI over the past nine years since Return of the King was released in theaters.
Moreover, this trailer offers a taste of the lighter tone Jackson and his collaborators are aiming for with the first Hobbit installment, when compared to the weightiness of the second and third Rings movies. Not only are the stakes lower, but the colorful Dwarves lend themselves to comedic antics. So far, the humor in An Unexpected Journey is broader than anything since the Shire opening to Fellowship of the Ring, but the jokes don’t seem too forceful – nor do they appear to diminish the dramatic atmosphere of the film’s action-packed portions (again, so far).
Here is the official synopsis for An Unexpected Journey, followed by a collection of screenshots from the latest trailer:
“The Hobbit” follows the journey of title character Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), who is swept into an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor, which was long ago conquered by the dragon Smaug. Approached out of the blue by the wizard Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen), Bilbo finds himself joining a company of thirteen dwarves led by the legendary warrior, Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage). Their journey will take them into the Wild; through treacherous lands swarming with Goblins and Orcs, deadly Wargs and Giant Spiders, Shapeshifters and Sorcerers.
Although their goal lies to the East and the wastelands of the Lonely Mountain first they must escape the goblin tunnels, where Bilbo meets the creature that will change his life forever… Gollum (Andy Serkis).
Here, alone with Gollum, on the shores of an underground lake, the unassuming Bilbo Baggins not only discovers depths of guile and courage that surprise even him, he also gains possession of Gollum’s “precious” ring that holds unexpected and useful qualities… A simple, gold ring that is tied to the fate of all Middle-Earth in ways Bilbo cannot begin to know.
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The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey hits theaters on December 14th, 2012; its sequel, The Desolation of Smaug, follows on December 13th, 2013; and the final installment, There and Back Again, release on July 18th, 2014.