'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey': First Trailer Introduces Young Bilbo Baggins and Dwarves (Video)

Martin Freeman and Ian Holm play the younger and older Bilbo, respectively, in Peter Jackson's movie; his "Lord of the Rings" stars Cate Blanchett and Ian McKellen also appear in the newly released clip.
James Fisher/Warner Bros. Pictures as supplied by flicks.co.nz

SYDNEY -- Director Peter Jackson and Warner Bros. have provided a sneak peak at what will be one of the most anticipated releases of 2012, with the trailer of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey debuting online Tuesday, 12 months out from the film’s release.

Returning to Middle Earth after more than a decade, the trailer for the first of the two Hobbit films introduces the new cast of Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) and the company of dwarves led by Thorin Oakensheild (Richard Armitage) and sees the return of some old friends, including the older Bilbo Baggins (Ian Holm), Gandalf (Ian McKellen), Galadriel and Gollum.

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It opens with the older Bilbo telling about his adventures at home in Bag End, saying "I can honestly say I’ve told you the truth. … I may not have told you all of it."

It then shows Gandalf challenging the younger Bilbo: “I’m looking for someone to share an adventure.” 

Gandalf introduces each of the dwarves to Bilbo, culminating with Thorin, who then starts to chant the dwarves song, which overlays vignettes of what promises to be their epic travels to Rivendell, where Gandalf meets with Galadriel (Cate Blanchett), Dal Guldur and through the Misty Mountains to Gollum’s cave with a requisite sword fight and a hint of danger from Orcs along the way.

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Thorin tells Gandalf that “I cannot guarantee your safety, nor will I be responsible for his fate” and Bilbo asks Gandalf. “You promise that I will come back?”

“No,” says Gandalf. “But if you do you will not be the same.”

The two-and-a-half minute trailer finishes with a glimpse of the ring and Bilbo meeting Gollum in what appears to be the dankness of Gollum’s cave and Gollum asking, “Bagginses, what is the Bagginess precious?”

What it doesn’t show, and which will become apparent to those who will see the trailer in 3D in the coming weeks, is the detail given by the decision to shoot the film at 48 frames per second. Jackson has spoken at length about how immersive the 3D experience at 48 frames per second is in his production videos.

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Fans worldwide from the U.S. and Canada to Brazil, Germany, Spain and, of course, Australia and New Zealand, were online to watch the trailer as it debuted at 7 p.m. PST, with Ian McKellen (@ianmckellen118) tweeting the trailer's release about 15 minutes ahead of scheduled time.

Responses for the most part were wildly positive. They included:

ahhh! just jumped up and down clapping while watching #thehobbit trailer! what a way to cap off the 10 years since FOTR! 

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i love you peter jackson. makes cinema feel special. feel warm, fuzzy, excited. beautiful trailer from a beautiful man. #thehobbit.

Great that Ian Holm made The Hobbit trailer. A little Galadriel is nice (and confusing) too, but hooray for Ian Holm!

Richard Armitage manages to look good as a dwarf. AND he sings. Oh yeah.