By Daniel Rutledge
The first trailer for Sir Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit films was launched yesterday and has already been viewed by millions of people around the world.
The video gave countless websites, including 3news.co.nz, a much-appreciated boost in hits just before the Christmas slump, but it gave much more than that – the fans have finally had their first decent look at The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. And it looks glorious.
In the US, the Hobbit trailer is now being shown in cinemas, in 3D, ahead of screenings of The Adventures of Tintin, while in New Zealand ‘The Hobbit’ is trending on Twitter – one position higher than ‘Kim Jong’ and two below ‘Home Alone’.
Reactions to the trailer have been largely positive.
Film3's Kate Rodger says: “This first taste of The Hobbit did everything it needed to.
“It reacquainted us all with the Shire, established Martin Freeman as the young Bilbo, as well as introducing us all to The Hobbit's other important new characters, the Dwarves. Choosing a haunting song led by Dwarf hero Thorin Oakenshield to guide us through was a stroke of creative genius... it gave me goosebumps!"
Drew McWeeny at Hitfix wrote: “If that were the trailer we were seeing two weeks before release, I'd be thrilled. I'd think it was a slam dunk of a final trailer. As a teaser? Dear god, that's a throw-down.
“That is a gorgeous piece of advertising, and while there's a sense of big adventure and wild scale, there's also a strong emphasis on the new characters we're going to meet as well as the familiar faces we're going to see again. That last glimpse of Gollum? Ding ding ding. You win.”
Eric Vespe at aintitcool wrote: “I quite like how the trailer (long for a teaser) balances nostalgia, introducing the new characters as well as establishes a weight thanks to that amazing Misty Mountains song by the dwarves. Goosebumps there.”
Russ Fischer at slashfilm wrote simply: “One word: singing! I love it.”
Sandy Schaefer at The Christian Science Monitor's Culture Cafe writes: “There’s a pleasantly welcoming and enchanting air to this trailer, which teases yet another imaginative adventure through Middle-Earth.
“Not only do new characters like Thorin Oakenshield and his fellow dwarfs look like fun (not to mention, possess excellent singing voices), it’s also all the more enjoyable to see familiar faces like that of Gandalf and Lady Galadriel (Cate Blanchett) – not to mention, objects such as the shattered remains of Narsil and Bilbo’s trusty blade, Sting. Plus, the brief glance at the famous encounter between Bilbo and Gollum (Andy Serkis) near the end is enough to send shivers down your spine.”
However, as widespread as the praise for the trailer is, there have been some negative responses.
David Chen, host of the slashfilm podcast, wrote on his Twitter account: “HOBBIT trailer seems haphazardly thrown together, like they're not even trying anymore.”
New Zealand’s David Farrier, who recently mentioned Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol in a best of 2011 list, dismissed the trailer with this statement: "It felt like deja vu from five years ago. Or was it 10? Yawn."
By far the consensus is clear, however – the fans are very pleased with what they have seen.
There's still more than a year to wait before The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is in cinemas, then there’s another whole year before the release of There and Back Again. But with yesterday’s trailer launch, Sir Peter has delivered a clear message: the films will be worth the wait.