The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was probably the most anticipated film of 2012 and grosses a one billion, seventeen millon, three thousand, five hundred and sixty eight American dollars worldwide. Over $222million from the first weekend alone. Absolutely incredible.
But it’s not all about money, the film was generally well received with some reservations but I for one utterly adored it as I knew I would, It was a little long perhaps and didn’t follow the book very religiously at all but I am prepared to invest time into watching a Peter Jackson masterpiece but even more importantly I went to the cinema to watch it with a friend who hated the Lord of the Rings series, and who has never read any of the books and they absolutely adored it. Laughing at all the japes, getting into the fight scenes and coming out of it with the biggest smile. I was really surprised I was expecting him to hate it, and when I suggested watching the Lord of the Rings a couple of weeks later he circled up and went to sleep on my settee. No new found love of Tolkien there then, but it shows that anyone can enjoy it without having to be a fan of the franchise.
But getting back to the topic at hand, last week after returning from The Killer Bits live stream I came across the new trailer for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and I’m not really sure. I’m excited… visually it looks amazing and I’m intrigued by the new story elements but the trailer itself really didn’t do it for me.
Any excitement I am feeling is more to do with my trust in Jackson and not Orlando’s face.
Could the trailer be anymore Legolas heavy, the only time we’re distracted from his gaping maw and horrific contact lenses is when he is being chastised by Tauriel. Who?
They’re very equal opportunities these Silvan Elves, in fact if we include An Unexpected Journey it would seem that she-elves are highly respected in the world of Jackson’s The Hobbit, what with Galadriel’s womanly powers of intuition and Tauriel’s nagging. That’s unfair, although initial forgotten in The Hobbit strong female characters are a staple of Tolkien’s legendarium, and considering the inclusion and hyperbolise of minor character merely referenced in the works such as Azog I think the inclusion of strong female character is justified and highly appreciated. If I remember correctly in the 2003 video game we also meet one of Thranduil’s female guards, Lianna, who helps Biblo and friends escape from the Elven King’s Halls. As a tween I think I was quite disappointed to discover that she doesn’t actually exist within the literature.
Talking of people who don’t actually exist, where’s Beorn? Did anyone see Beorn? Big hair guy skin-changes into a bear? Mikael Persbrandt was confirmed as having been cast as Beorn in December 2010 so I know we’re not going to be disappointed but even with the heavy focus on the escape from Mirkwood I somewhat feel distracted by his absence.
I was listening to a podcast a little while ago by the Tolkien Professor discussing how Mirkwood and its corruption is going to be portrayed in The Desolation of Smaug, we get a quick glimpse of it during A Unexpected Journey when Radagast first starts beginning to notice the corruption as it’s killing his woodland friends but from what we can see from this trailer there is nothing especially mysterious or ominous about Mirkwood, it’s just a common old garden variety woodland and I find that a little bit disappointing really. With the most ominous aspects of it being Lee Pace’s facial expressions, forget Andy Serkis and Benedict Cumberbatch, Lee Pace is the creepiest name alive. He does this creepy thing with his neck eeeeck. I never imagined Thranduil as being creepy but I really like it.
Of course what we’ve all been waiting for, Bilbo finally entering Smaug’s Lair and confronting the magnificent beast. December 2013 :3