Dan Silver: After raking in billions of dollars at the Box Office, and winning numerous Academy Awards, it was only a matter of time before the Hollywood suits came back to search for their “precious.” But as the title states, The Hobbit took “an unexpected journey” — through financial and studio turmoil, rights ownership disputes, and a lost director (all places worse than Mordor) –- back to the big screen. But there’s no reason to go into any further detail on the behind-the-scenes drama from the past because for the first time in nearly eight years, we’re finally given a peek at the return to Middle Earth.

For Ring fans, this trailer does not disappoint. It’s a perfect blend of the familiar with the unknown.

Since Jackson and the majority of this creative team return — and the visuals, the sets, the props, the costumes and the music share the same cinematic DNA — it’s as if no time had passed, and Ian McKellen just stayed in Gandalf costume.

The trailer starts in well-known territory, The Shire, the home of the Hobbits. We see old Bilbo (again played by Ian Holm), Bag End (his home), and even get a glimpse of Elijah Wood’s return as Frodo. Holm’s voiceover (“Although I told you the truth. I may not have told you all of it”) is a good indicator that the majority of The Hobbit will be told in a flashback, and these moments in The Shire will most likely act as bookends.

It’s at this point the trailer begins to give off a Fellowship of the Ring vibe, with multiple characters being introduced and joined together to take part in mysterious and most likely arduous adventure. Howard Shore’s sweet and playful “Bag End” theme complements the humor and mayhem surrounding the introduction of the Dwarfs. All this ends when Thorin Oakenshield and the rest of the dwarfs sing a somber song very reminiscent of the ones Aragorn and Pippin sang. Then the sense of foreboding so distinctly associated with the original Ring films envelope the trailer. All of the images from this point on are infused with a sense of inevitable doom.

Various shots of the group trekking through vast landscapes, dark tunnels, and menacing forests follow. There are glimpses of battles and monsters. And a few other familiar persons, places and things show up; Cate Blanchett as Galadriel, the Elves’ home of Rivendell, and the sword “Sting” to name a few. All of this leading to the unavoidable reveal of how Bilbo found The Ring of Power and Gollum — the connective tissue between The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

Martin Freeman looks wonderful as a young Bilbo. He seems to have the permanent look for wide-eyed wonder Elijah Wood’s Frodo wore throughout his journey. And after two lackluster outings with King Kong and The Lovely Bones, Peter Jackson’s visuals look inspired capturing and framing the events of Middle Earth.

There’s so much more to dig into here (like how the Dwarf Gloin was made to look exactly like his son Gimley, played by John Rhys-Davies in the original trilogy), but instead of hearing from a guy who annually watches all three Rings films with his wife in one day (yeah that’s over 12 hours of movie), it would be much more entertaining to hear what my much funnier and astute buddy Rembert has to say.

Rembert Browne:
Dan, I’m going to go out on a limb and say Hobbit Trailer Premiere + 1st night of Hanukkah = GREAT NIGHT TO BE “THE SILVER”. The pure elation that you’re still feeling right now is contagious and I must say, after reading your review of The Hobbit before watching the trailer, the pressure for it to be fantastic was at an all-time high. Thankfully for all parties involved, it didn’t approach disappointment. Even as an increasingly unapologetic non-fan of science fiction, magical realism, and other genres that require an imagination, I love everything Lord of the Rings-related. Worried that The Hobbit, with all of its ups and downs production-wise, would ruin the franchise, I honestly was hoping it would never come out. Again, I’m glad no one remotely respects my opinion, because it’s coming out and its going to be epic.

My only complaint: Release date, December 2012. Really, PetJack? I guess I respect the fact that you’re positioning The Hobbit to be the last movie of the year, but this wait is pretty egregious. Do you know how many times I’m going to have to sit through We Bought a Zoo until then? Answer = 0, which means I have not a single thing to do until this film comes out. Even though this angers and saddens me, it’s all from a place of love. A place of love for shires, swords, caves, rings, pale skin, gremlins, mumbling, peace pipes, large sticks, beards, waterfalls, hairy feet, and the most legendary score in the history of the world. I can’t wait for my imagination to be restored in a year from now, it’s in need of some serious Middle-Earthian repair.

Filed Under: Lord of the Rings, Peter Jackson, The Hobbit, Trailers of the Week

Rembert Browne is a staff writer for Grantland.

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