Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug - All the tales and songs fall utterly short

I watched the new trailer for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug four times today. After I had (mostly) gotten over the sheer awesomeness of it all (on about the third viewing), I started thinking about some of the things that the trailer brings up and hints at. Here are my impressions.

First of all, let me just point out that Martin Freeman is AWESOME. He can convey a specific emotion so perfectly, so that you know exactly what's going on in Bilbo's head and what he's feeling. I can feel his fear in the first line of the trailer. You get that he's faced with the most terrifying thing he's ever encountered in his life, and he's totally freaked out, but he's trying to keep it together. I love the way he twists that line from the book about how all the songs and tales fall utterly short. In the book, I always read that line as Bilbo simply flattering Smaug; Bilbo is freaked out, but this isn't the line that conveys it. He's just sweet-talking Smaug to get him off his guard. But in the trailer, this line becomes really sincere. Everything Bilbo has heard about Smaug falls short. Nothing could have prepared him for this. Smaug is infinitely more massive and terrifying than Bilbo could have ever imagined. It's great.

Next comes Thranduil. I'm a little dubious about him offering his help to Thorin. What exactly does that consist of? Obviously not throwing Thorin and his friends in the dungeon (unless Thranduil has a very unique definition of 'help'). Of course, Thranduil could offer his help and then betray Thorin, as is hinted in the trailer. I guess that's all I really have to say about Thranduil. He's rather enigmatic.

The look that Legolas gives Tauriel at 0:43 cracks me up every time.

And that brings me to the subject of Legolas and Tauriel. Apparently Tauriel is not supposed to give Legolas "hope where there is none." I take that to mean that Tauriel is incapable of returning Legolas' love for some reason. Either she does not love him in return, or there is something preventing them from getting together. I'm not sure what that could be, but I'll spare you my wild guesses (which involve Tauriel already being married and secretly being Legolas' sister, OK, I didn't spare you, sorry). Anyway, there's obviously going to be some complication in the relationship between Legolas and Tauriel, and I predict that, as a means of solving this complication, Tauriel will die. It makes sense because we don't see her in The Lord of the Rings movies, and if she were really that important to Legolas we might expect to see her there. It's therefore an easy way out of the situation to just kill Tauriel off by the end of the Hobbit trilogy. Plus, that's an easy way of resolving her relationship with Legolas as well.

"We have been blind, and in our blindness our enemy has returned." That is a great line, in typical Gandalf style. Short and to the point, but leaves you so much to ponder.

And this brings me to the segment with Bilbo and the ring, possibly my favorite part of the trailer, and, I think, one of the most intriguing. It's very interesting to me that we get a shot of Bilbo looking horrified as he picks up the ring. What has he discovered? I wonder how much Bilbo will know about the ring by the end of the trilogy. Apparently he has guessed enough to think about revealing it to Gandalf. I wonder if he gets glimpses of Mordor or Sauron through the ring. Or maybe the ring is starting to work on him and he is starting to realize its power. Whatever the case, I think this could be very interesting. Obviously, the fact that he cannot bring himself to actually mention it to Gandalf shows that the ring is beginning to influence him somewhat.

I'll skip over the random, epic action sequences, and move on to the scene with Thorin and Bilbo. Clearly, this is hinting at the break in their relationship, which I assume will reach its climax when Thorin discovers that Bilbo has stolen the Arkenstone and threatens to throw him down from the mountain. But what is going on in this scene? Bilbo seems genuinely surprised when Thorin stops him with the sword, so apparently he didn't see this coming. And Balin seems rather taken aback as well, so it would seem that Thorin is acting irrationally from the point of view of his companions. And, of course, this is in accordance with the book. So that's good. And way to go Balin for sticking up for Bilbo! It reminds me of the part in the book when Balin takes his hat off to Bilbo and re-introduces himself to show that he now respects the hobbit.

And then there's the ending. When I said before that the scene with the ring was possibly my favorite part, I probably lied. My favorite part was hearing Benedict Cumberbatch as Smaug. I've been waiting a long time for this, and I know lots of other people have, too. The part of Desolation of Smaug that I am most excited for is Bilbo's conversation with Smaug. That said, I was just a little disappointed that his voice sounded so unlike his real voice, because I think he has such a great voice as it is and would make a great Smaug just on his own. I'm guessing that they did something to his voice, and if so, I hope they don't overdo it in the movie. On the other hand, he is a very talented actor, and he could be doing all that with his own voice. If so, he is awesome and that's great. I will just be a little disappointed if I don't get to hear Sherlock having a conversation with John Watson. But maybe that's what they're trying to avoid.

All that being said, I'm extremely excited for the movie to come out on December 13th. What were your impressions of the trailer?

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