By Craig Hubert | “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” the first installment of Peter Jackson’s expansive and ever-growing return to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien, premiered a new theatrical trailer this morning. What began as a double feature (with Guillermo del Toro directing) is now a trilogy (with Peter Jackson taking over) stretching an already thin book (it’s “only” 300 pages) even thinner by using extra material Tolkien sketched to expand the universe of Middle Earth. Aside from the departure of del Toro, the film has run into problems after Jackson announced he would be filming “The Hobbit” at 48frames per second (doubling the normal 24fps, which apparently makes the 3-D image easier on the eyes); when Warner Brothers screened a ten-minute clip to theater owners in April, the reaction was grim. For what it’s worth, Jackson is standing behind the look of the film, even if Warner Brothers plans on releasing the 48fps version as a limited release.
Considering the first chapter of “The Hobbit” has been plopped down in prime movie real estate (the film hits theaters December 14th), it’s surprising there hasn’t been more award chatter. This may be because “The Hobbit,” a book geared toward a younger audience than the semi-adult “The Lord of the Rings,” doesn’t resonate with voters the same way Jackson’s monumental first trilogy did. Based on the trailer, it seems Jackson is attempting to strike a balance between the tone of the book and a darker tone, akin to the previous films. Does it work? Outside of the diehard fans, it’s hard to see whom the audience for the film is – viewers who want seriousness will have trouble with the goofiness, and kids who want goofiness will have trouble with the darker elements, like giant monsters throwing rocks at Bilbo Baggins and scary wolves attacking our group of heroes. No matter what, “The Hobbit” will make lots of money, which was kind of the point of making it in the first place. Watch the trailer below:
Image: Peter Jackson/Larry Busacca/Getty Images