Return to Middle Earth All Wrong with THE HOBBIT Trailer
Eleven years ago, December of 2000, a group of enthusiastic fans (myself included) lined up at the Lincoln Square theater on Manhattan’s Upper East Side to be the first to watch the very first teaser trailer for Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. We got our first glimpse of The Fellowship strutting their stuff in slo-mo over that mountain ridge, we got to see Middle Earth on film for the first time, we got “Frodo Lives” pins. It was an EVENT previously unrivaled at the time except for Star Wars Prequel-related goings-ons. Cut to today, December 20, 2011, and we get our first look at the first of Peter Jackson’s HOBBIT films, “An Unexpected Journey,” and it was all wrong on on more than one level.
Now there’s nothing wrong with the actual film, mind you, no no, not at all. It’s epic and everything we’d expect from Jackson. The problem is the lack of “Event.” There are those who say that I should get over it, that these are the times we are living in and first looks at trailers are for iPhones, not theaters anymore. But I say it doesn’t have to be this way. I may not be a fan of Chris Nolan’s vision but bless the guy for trying to bring the EVENT back, with his shooting in IMAX and presenting the prologue properly on only a handfull of FULL SIZE IMAX screens across the country. Same for Brad Bird, who opened GHOST PROTOCOL 5 days early so the folks who care about EVENT, who care about seeing films the way they’re intended by the filmmakers, can seek out their closest FULL IMAX screen and see a presentation that takes all 3 of the D’s out of other forms of spectacle.
I appreciate Jackson’s attaching of The Hobbit trailer to his and Spielberg’s Tintin, but with limited if no IMAX engagements of Tintin at midnight, this left the majority of us unable to screen this trailer on the big screen for the first time, reducing everyone’s first impression of the return to Middle Earth on a 3-inch screen. Great. So not only do we not get the fun of the event aspect of something of this magnitude, but we get to watch it on potentially horrible conditions as well. Way to reduce THE fucking HOBBIT to Jack & Jill level, Warners.
What should have happened here is the same model as Warner’s own The Dark Knight Rises. You wanna see the first look at The Hobbit? Seek out Tintin in an IMAX theater. No online debut just yet, no attachment to other films. Tintin IMAX. That’s it. And not to mention how much it would have helped give Spielberg’s first animated film a much-needed boost this weekend here in the States, where the character has less interest than overseas. A no-brainier.
ALSO — This is just too much footage right out of the gate. Too much. This should have simply been a teaser, or at most the last half of this trailer with just the singing over visuals ending with that great moment. Just something to re-whet everyone’s appetites for this material. To remind folks how special these films are, and to let the average Joe know there are two more on the way, just as that first teaser announced the release pattern for the LOTR trilogy. My problem is that, while this is amazing, it plays like Trailer #2 – not a teaser. This is something that would have been a great follow-up in the spring for this film. I know many will disagree, but I just think a tease right out of the gate, like the classic teaser for T2, is the way to kick off a campaign. They should be treated like a lapdance. And here WB has just started with the top completely off.
So if you haven’t seen the trailer yet, I envy you. I wish I wasn’t forced by Warner Bros to see this online for the first time. But, if like me, you simply must watch it now, at least stay off YouTube and download it in 1080p from Apple HERE. Project it on a wall or something so you can at least pretend you’re seeing it in a theater correctly.
And then… enjoy the AWESOMENESS. The next two Decembers are going to be so great…
Bilbo Baggins is swept into a quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from the fearsome dragon Smaug. Approached out of the blue by the wizard Gandalf the Grey, Bilbo finds himself joining a company of thirteen dwarves led by the legendary warrior, Thorin Oakenshield.
Their journey will take them into the Wild; through treacherous lands swarming with Goblins and Orcs, deadly Wargs and Giant Spiders, Shapeshifters and Sorcerers. Although their goal lies to the East and the wastelands of the Lonely Mountain first they must escape the goblin tunnels, where Bilbo meets the creature that will change his life forever … Gollum.
Here, alone with Gollum, on the shores of an underground lake, the unassuming Bilbo Baggins not only discovers depths of guile and courage that surprise even him, he also gains possession of Gollum’s “precious” ring that holds unexpected and useful qualities.