By Darren Franich
Updated September 19, 2012 at 10:36 PM EDT

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

  • Movie

The ultimate endpoint of the upcoming Hobbit movies is not going to be a surprise. J.R.R. Tolkien’s book was already an extremely popular book before the Lord of the Rings turned halflings into movie stars, and it’s a good bet that most people have at least a vague memory of how The Hobbit ends. (Spoiler alert: There’s a battle! Like, a huge battle!) But since Peter Jackson and Co. decided to stretch Tolkien’s book into a full trilogy, the real question is: What are they going to add in? Jackson has said that they’ll draw from some of the mountain of supplementary material that Tolkien wrote. (However, Jackson doesn’t have the rights to The Silmarillion. So, alas, The Hobbit will probably not feature a lengthy sequence where Melkor leads his renegade group of Ainur against Ilúvatar only to be defeated by the power of music. Sorry to disappoint you, nerds!)

The newest trailer for The Hobbit (which you can watch in full here) offers some hints about new subplots while also overdosing on eye-popping imagery. Let’s take a look shall we?

The trailer begins with Gandalf explaining: “Far to the east over ranges and rivers lies a single solitary peak.” At that point, we see a shot of a distant mountain. Could this be Lonely Mountain, the dwarf-capital turned dragon-home? At first, I thought it was Weathertop, the old hillside keep where Frodo gets stabbed in Lord of the Rings. But that looks more like a mountain than a hill, and there are no other mountains around it. So we can all agree that it is a lonely mountain, if not The Lonely Mountain.

An alternate look at Lonely Mountain, this time in map form. “Gee, I sure hope that dragon is just a cartographic metaphor!” thinks Bilbo to himself. Catnip for Tolkien scholars: The lines along the side noting “Here of old was Thror, King Under the Mountain” and “East lie the Iron Hills, where is Dain.” At the rate these Hobbit movies are multiplying, expect to see an entire trilogy about the Iron Hills by 2016.

Ah, the peaceful Shire! Ah, the lovely green fields of Hobbiton! Hey, I just realized something: Isn’t a Hobbit living in a place called “Hobbiton” sort of like me deciding to live in a town called “Humanville”?

You like dwarves? Hobbit has dwarves! The trailer has a few fun moments with some of the little guys. Sure, they’re all hardboiled warriors. But they’re also friends! Anyhow, I hope you like dwarf banter, because there’s three movies of dwarf banter coming your way.

Thorin Oakenshield stifles the banter for a serious conversation. “We’ll seize this chance to take back Erebor!” he proclaims, referring to the Lonely Mountain.

Bilbo is shown racing away from the Shire. “I’m going on an adventure!” he exclaims to some of his neighbors, who are probably Proudfeet and wouldn’t know an adventure if it bit them on the big toe.

Cate Blanchett’s elf-queen Galadriel didn’t appear in The Hobbit in book form, but she’s making an appearance in the movie. The last trailer strongly implied that the filmmakers were developing a romantic subplot between Gandalf and Galadriel — let’s call them Galdalf, or perhaps GanGala. But in the new trailer, Galadriel just asks the old wizard why he brought Bilbo along. “Perhaps it is because I’m afraid. And he gives me courage.”

It’s been a while since I read The Hobbit, but I can’t say I remember Thorin talking to Elrond in front of a big ice table. But hey, who doesn’t love ice tables? Elrond warns Thorin about his quest to Lonely Mountain: “There are some who would not deem it wise.” I’m guessing Thorin does not heed his warning.

It’s a good thing that Bilbo is carrying his trusty dagger Sting. Otherwise, how else would he know that there were orcs around?

Addition alert! We see a quick shot of a few giant rabbits pulling a sled through the forest. Intriguingly, former Hobbit director (and credited co-screenwriter) Guillermo Del Toro also talked about adding scary rabbits into Pinocchio. I bet you anything he was the guy who added in these rabbits. So, in a few months — when your kids kids are saying, “Oh please, daddy, please, can’t we get a giant rabbit as a pet?” — be sure to shake your fist at the sky and scream “Del Torooooooo!!!”

Addition alert, part 2! Sylvestor McCoy plays Radegast, an old wizard who originally played a teeny tiny role in Lord of the Rings (and a somewhat larger role in Silmarillion.) Radegast loved animals, and he’s shown here caring for an adorable forest creature that appears to be dying. “A dark power has found a way back into the world,” he says. Could this be a reference to Sauron, the Big Bad of Rings? Or is the “dark power” some other malevolent force, greater than the dragon Smaug?

Hey, look, it’s our old buddy Gollum! The new trailer shows quite a bit more of Andy Serkis’ digitally animated ring addict, as he sets the terms for a riddle-game with Bilbo. “If Baggins loses, we eats it whole!” he says. “Fair enough,” deadpans Bilbo.

Bilbo and his dwarf gang are besieged by gigantic rock monster which throws giant rocks. (Which, again, seems roughly analogous to a human who throws fingers. But yo, whatev: Fantasy!) Again, I don’t recall any rock monsters from the original Hobbit. But it looks pretty cool.

The dwarves recover from what appears to be a fall from a great height. “Well, that could have been worse!” says a dwarf. At that point, a giant…thing…falls on top of them. Woo-hoo, trailer moment! All that’s missing is the record scratch and the dog reaction shot. I’m not quite sure what that creature is — that chin looks too big to be a troll. Actually, the creature looks a lot like the Well Zombie from season 2 of Walking Dead. Crossover!

Film fans, what do you think of the new trailer? Intrigued or disturbed by the additions? Wondering when we’re going to get our Rock Monster spin-off? And who’s your favorite dwarf: The moody one, the fat one, the cute one, or the funny one?

Follow Darren on Twitter: @DarrenFranich

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The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

  • Movie
  • 170 minutes
  • Peter Jackson