For those going to see MAN OF STEEL this weekend, there's a certain teaser trailer for a certain holiday fantasy film based on a certain beloved children's literary classic that they'll get a chance to see on the big screen when they take their seats.
Alternately, we can just watch it right now on the internet. Because the future!
Gotta say, for all the issues I had with An Unexpected Journey, and the misgivings I still harbor about making this story a trilogy in the first place, the promo materials have been really good. Mostly:
Um. . . okay, I know this is only the first trailer and it's very dumb to base weighty impressions on this sort of thing, but I'm really torn about this. On the one hand, there's boat-loads of stuff for long-time Tolkien nerds like me to get jazzed about. Beorn as a bear, Thorin debating with Thranduil, our first look at Bard the Bowman, and - of course - the titular dragon Smaug himself. That all looks cool.
Less cool - the fact that this teaser seems far more in line with the hyper-kinetic second half of the first HOBBIT film than the (far superior) slower and character-based first half. Bilbo has no lines in this trailer at all, does very little, and all in all gets lost in the shuffle of what is - supposedly - HIS story. Then there's the overall look, still bright and fantastic, but seeming far more glossy and synthetic than the LORD OF THE RINGS films, or even much of An Unexpected Journey. CGI dwarves in CGI barrels, CGI elves swinging around trees and fighting CGI orcs... hey, remember when LOTR used mostly make-up and prosthetics and it looked WAY THE HELL BETTER? I do. Really not loving the "let's bring back the 2002 digital double" motif on display here. And I'm also not wild about the ever-growing need to turn every event into a rollicking roller-coaster action scene extravaganza.
Honestly Jackson. The barrel ride? REALLY?
I'm not trying to be a Negative Nancy here, really. I had a ton of fun with the (admittedly flawed) first film, and I'd love nothing more than to lose my mind for this movie and the third as well. But if there's one thing that the story of THE HOBBIT really doesn't need, it's the invention of even more wild last-minute-escape action/adventure sequences. Especially not at the apparent expense of the characters and their development.
That being said, Smaug himself looks FANTASTIC, and I'd be a lance-nosed liar if I claimed not to be looking forward to scenes like "Inside Information" and "Fire and Water" with feverish delight.