After hearing all of the worrying issues that caused Guillermo del Toro to leave the director’s chair in pursuit of other projects, and the long period of relative silence from production, it’s a relief to find some footage of Peter Jackson’s upcoming adaptation of The Hobbit today, in the form of a gorgeous trailer courtesy Collider.
Kind of nostalgic, isn’t it? It’s really nice to see that budget problems and creative changes don’t appear to have affected Peter Jackson’s interpretation of Middle Earth at all, and it’s a little embarrassing to admit how happy I am to be back in Bag End, and to see some old faces once again.
In addition to the trailer above, Collider also included a beautiful poster, along with the movie’s official synopsis:
“The Hobbit” follows the journey of title character Bilbo Baggins, who is swept into an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor, which was long ago conquered by the dragon Smaug. Approached out of the blue by the wizard Gandalf the Grey, Bilbo finds himself joining a company of thirteen dwarves led by the legendary warrior, Thorin Oakensheild. Their journey will take them into the Wild; through treacherous lands swarming with Goblins and Orcs, deadly Wargs and Giant Spiders, Shapeshifters and Sorcerers.
Here, alone with Gollum, on the shores of an underground lake, the unassuming Bilbo Baggins not only discovers depths of guile and courage that surprise even him, he also gains possession of Gollum’s “precious” ring that holds unexpected and useful qualities … A simple, gold ring that is tied to the fate of all Middle-earth in ways Bilbo cannot begin to know.
The trailer is vague, but if you’ve read the book you’ll know that things look as dedicated and faithful to the source material as all of the Lord of the Rings films before it. Of course, they’ve kept Smaug and the other creatures out of sight for the time being, which is a maddening tease, particularly after reading the massive feature on del Toro that was written in the New Yorker back in February. The interview, in addition to delving into the filmmaker’s fascinating story and older work, eventually went on to describe in detail some of the amazing designs del Toro has come up with for his fantastical creatures, including The Hobbit‘s iconic dragon:
“Smaug’s body, as del Toro had imagined it, was unusually long and thin. The bones of its wings were articulated on the dorsal side, giving the creature a slithery softness across its belly. “It’s a little bit more like a snake,” he said.
Smaug’s front legs looked disproportionately small, like those of a T. Rex. This would allow the dragon to assume a different aspect in closeup; the camera could capture ‘hand’ gestures and facial expressions in one tight frame, avoiding the quivery distractions of wins and tail [...] Smaug’s eyes, del Toro added, were “going to be sculpturally very hidden.” This would create a sense of drama when the thieving Bilbo stirs the beast from slumber.”
There’s a lot more about Smaug’s description and concept in the full article, and all of it sounds awesome (The article is a must-read). Obviously the dragon might not feature at all in the upcoming movie, as An Unexpected Journey is only the first half of the story, but it’s a safe bet that del Toro would pour that same dedication and creativity into all of Middle Earth’s inhabitants, and I desperately hope that Peter Jackson is incorporating as much of his designs as possible into the final film.
I’m really excited for The Hobbit films, if you can’t tell. The trilogy is arguably the largest cinematic event of our generation, but even on top of that, I always felt the Hobbit was the best of the novels. The potential for these final Tolkien adaptations is paralleled only by our expectations of them – it’s a lot to overcome, but Jackson has proved before he doesn’t shy away from huge undertakings. 2012 can’t come fast enough.