So here it is, our first look at the next installment of Peter Jackson’s Middle-earth multiplex pleaser.
Despite the portentous dialogue snippets it seems much lighter than The Two Towers – a fellow sufferer of middle movie syndrome – and more action-oriented than it’s predecessor, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
When The Hobbit was first mooted Jackson declined the director’s chair, fearing perhaps that his confidence and experience would lead him to “do a George Lucas” and start tinkering self-indulgently and retconning his screen creation to its detriment.
Alterations and additions are always necessary when adapting a story from one medium to the next but they are only truly successful if they integrate seamlessly with the original author’s vision: we have a trailer that looks more like Peter Jackson’s Hobbit than Tolkien’s.
If Jackson wants to make an Elf movie wouldn’t he be better adapting The Silmarillion? Poor old Bilbo scarcely gets a look-in as we are treated to tree-running Timotei models who skid into shot with the enthusiasm of sugar-dosed kids on polished floors. Back in his Rings days Jackson wisely cut leaked scenes of “Action Arwen” kicking Orc at Helm’s Deep after incurring the wrath of Tolkien fans. Now it is hoped those same fans will accept original invention, Tauriel – a red-haired female Wood Elf who has achieved warrior status decades before poor Éowyn has to sneak off to Minas Tirith in drag.
The biggest surprise is the full close-up reveal of Smaug’s head. Despite the opportunity to allow the art department’s imagination to run riot the trailer delivers a very conventional-looking dragon – unless he’s hiding a serpentine body or a clockwork limb. This may be a way to get the critique over and done with so, by December, audiences can relax and enjoy the flying, fire-breathing and vocal stylings of Benedict Cumberbatch.
We revealed here some months ago that Cumberbatch had been cast as Sauron The Necromancer (link to the article below) yet, whichever evil nasty he is portraying New Line seem desperate to keep Cumberbatch’s contributions under wraps.
It’s nice to catch a glimpse of Luke Evans although such a pivotal character might have warranted a bigger fanfare and what about “sexy” Dwarf Kili – and all the other supporting Dwarves for that matter. We need a longer trailer, but share your thoughts on this one while we wait…