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The clip introduces a young Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) and the company of dwarves led by Thorin Oakensheild (Richard Armitage). It also sees the return of Lord of the Rings castmembers Ian Holm (as the older Bilbo), Ian McKellen (as Gandalf) and Cate Blanchett (as Galadriel).
The movie, an adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s tale, is set 60 years before The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. It centers on Bilbo’s quest to take back the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from the evil dragon Smaug.
Immediately, the blogsphere went into a frenzy as reactions hit the Web. So what did they have to say?
Geoff Boucher of the Los Angeles Times said the the trailer might have been too short for fans but still was a solid first look at the movie. “While it was all too fleeting there was enough in it to stir the heart of fans,” he wrote.
CinemaBlend’s Eric Eisenberg praised trailer in a post featuring 94 screen grabs from the clip.
“Though the preview didn’t feature any epic battles or hordes of orcs, what it lacked in action it more than made up for with beauty and an insane amount of nostalgia,” he wrote. “Every shot in the trailer is breathtaking, from Bilbo Baggins wandering through the Shire to Gandalf in a fight against a mysterious creature. Everything about it is stunning.”
Gawker’s Seth Abramovitch experienced deja vu while watching the trailer.
“Good god, it’s f—ing The Lord of the Rings again,” he wrote. “The score, the Shire, the Ians (Holm and McKellen), the font, the Dwarf makeup, the Gollum, the Precious — they’re all back. If you wanted to return to Middle Earth exactly as Jackson had left it in 2003, then you’re in for a treat. But movies don’t tend to age as well as books do — particularly effects-driven ones — and this one looks and feels dated by about a decade. I’ll stick to HBO’s Game of Thrones, thanks.”
Binh Ngo of Movies With Butter echoed those sentiments, calling the trailer “kind of a letdown.”
“It is not because the movie looks like it is poorly done, but because the movie is the prequel to the Lord of the Rings movies, which most of us have seen,” Ngo wrote. “We know what will happen to all the characters, so it’s difficult to be surprised by the events in the movie.The stakes are so much lower here as well. In the Lord of the Rings, the world is on the brink of being overrun by Sauron’s army horde; in The Hobbit, a group of dwarves just want to reclaim their home. Taken for what it is though, The Hobbit will still stand on its own, just don’t expect to see Lord of the Rings here.”
On the other hand, MovieFix staff noted that the familiarity works in the trailer’s favor, calling the clip a “must-see.”
“It’s so good to see Gollum, Gandalf and the marvellous world of Middle-earth again!” they wrote.
The Washington Post’s Jen Chaney was on the same page.
“Visually and tonally, this preview for part … looks like a perfect match for the Frodo Baggins tales that released in 2001, 2002 and 2003,” she wrote “This time, of course, the focus is Bilbo Baggins, who goes on a quest along with a gaggle of dwarves, all determined to snatch back valuable treasure from the dragon Smaug. But plot isn’t the main matter at hand in the trailer. … This clip is all about reacquainting us with Middle-earth.”
E! Online’s Bruna Nessif also wrote that Lord of the Rings fans should be satisfied.
“Die-hard LOTR fans might also enjoy the overall look and feel to the film,” Nessif wrote. “Unlike the animated Hobbit from back in the day, a lot of scenes from the new film are going to seem very similar to Jackson’s first three films, with dark and chilling moments and the oh-so-exciting run-ins with Goblins, Orcs, Wargs and giant spiders.”
On the other hand, Buzz Sugar’s Becky Kirsch was yet another who opined that the trailer did not live up to expectations.
“If you’re expecting something of the same caliber as The Two Towers, you might be a little disappointed; this preview is low on action and high on introduction and backstory,” she wrote, adding: “As excited as I am for this movie, I can’t help but feel a teensy bit underwhelmed by this trailer. The production value looks amazing of course, but I was hoping the preview would incite a little more excitement. That said, we’ve got a whole year to build up the hype.”
The movie opens Dec. 14, 2012. Part 2, subtitled There and Back Again, opens Dec. 13, 2013.
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