Followers of this blog know what my family and friends do: the Lord of the Rings films are some of my favorites and it is certainly my favorite trilogy of films. (Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy is second by a healthy distance.) I had high hopes and expectations for The Hobbit trilogy. Hopes and expectations that had nothing to do with box office performance. I liked the idea of the scripts being developed primarily from Tolkien’s prelude to The Lord of the Rings, but also from the appendices and from lesser known materials with a dash (or three) of original additions. I wanted to see the parts that happen off stage in The Hobbit. I was eager for Jackson & Co’s broader scope approach.
And I was disappointed. So very disappointed. I found last year’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey to be a bloated, poorly paced, and ultimately very pedestrian film. It doesn’t even look as good onscreen as its predecessors, whether it’s the HFR shooting process or the distraction of 3D or the quality of the CGI work or something else. At its worst it is just outright silly and bad. I exited the theater with zero interest in watching it again, much less owning it, and I’m someone who not only owns the prior films, I own the Special Extended Edition of the prior films and house them in a collector’s case.
So it has been with a lot less anticipation that I’ve been waiting for the release date for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug to roll around. I’ve always planned to see it, but I had much lower expectations. Nothing I’d seen in the trailers or the TV spots gave me any reason to think otherwise. If anything, much of what I saw reinforced my assumption that this installment would be just more of the same.
Then I watched this today:
Now…it’s a trailer. Trailers lie. They are something close to an art form unto themselves and sometimes bear only a distant cousin sort of resemblance to the product they are advertising. But at least it feels to me like there’s a story with a bit of depth being told here. The characters have more substance, a whiff of history to them. Fate has come knocking and there are serious choices to be made with equally serious consequences attached.
Damn it. Now I have to worry about being let down again.