Trailer Tuesday: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Welcome to “Trailer Tuesday” where I talk about trailers for upcoming movies.

The final film in The Hobbit trilogy is approaching.  It has a new subtitle, The Battle of the Five Armies, which replaces the earlier title There and Back Again.  And until they come up with a way to turn The Silmarillion into a series of films or they decide to make The Ongoing Adventures of Legolas and Gimli (which I would totally watch), this will be the final film in Peter Jackson’s epic Middle Earth saga, comprising six movies over 13 years.  And now we’ve got the first teaser trailer for this final film.  Take a look, and read on for my thoughts below:

I was very curious how they’d choose to market The Battle of the Five Armies, and I have to say that I really like the direction they chose.  The trailer features only two sections of dialogue, choosing instead to set the images of battle, action, and drama to Pippin’s song from The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.  It’s a clever way to tie in the finale of The Hobbit to the finale of The Lord of the Rings (and surely smart business, considering Return of the King‘s massive success).  It’s safe to say that response to The Hobbit trilogy has been somewhat mixed, missing that fervent passion that accompanied the previous trilogy, and this is a great way to get people excited for Middle Earth one last time.

Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins

The trailer opens with a somber-looking Bilbo saying, “One day I’ll remember, remember everything that happened.  The good, the bad, those that survived and those that did not.”  Clearly they’re going for a serious tone with this trailer, starting with this dialogue and continuing with Pippin’s song, which was originally sung over scenes of Faramir’s soldiers being slaughtered.  Even the lyrics fit pretty well with the feeling of The Hobbit, of one small man away from his home facing darkness.  Most of the rest of the trailer is a sequence of unconnected images of action and battle, with some pensive looks from our cast to balance things out.

Smaug attacks Laketown

We first see Smaug attacking Laketown, picking up right where The Desolation of Smaug left off.  If we’re comparing The Battle of the Five Armies to Return of the King, this would take the place of Shelob’s attack on Frodo, an early action sequence before the leadup to the grand battle.

The destruction of Laketown

We also get a glimpse at the aftermath of the town’s destruction, as Legolas and Tauriel watch from a distance, surrounded by what I assume are refugees.

Galadriel and Gandalf

There’s this really interesting shot of Galadriel kissing a beaten Gandalf, presumably following his confrontation with the Necromancer from The Desolation of Smaug.  How Gandalf’s story will play out is the biggest unknown going into this final film, as his fight with the Necromancer is not a part of the book, so we don’t exactly know the circumstances of this shot.

Bard and his soldiers

Bard and his soldiers

We see armies gearing up for battle, including a sequence where Bard the bowman interacts with an army of archers.  I could be wrong, but they look a bit like the troops Galadriel sent to aid Rohan in The Two Towers.  Do we think she’s aiding men again (for the first time)?

Kili and the Dwarves

We also see the Dwarves getting armored for battle, with Kili looking particularly grim.

Chariot chase

Next there’s a sequence where a chariot skates along a frozen river and is attacked by Wargs.  I’m not entirely sure who we’re looking at or what’s going on.  Does anyone have any theories?

Will you have peace or war?

We see a confrontation between Bard and Thorin.  Bard (whose men feel they deserve a share of Smaug’s gold) asks, “Will you have peace or war?”

Thorin: I will have war

Thorin, always the calm, resonable one, replies, “I will have war.”  The “and you will have none of my gold” is implied.  As the battle looms, the trailer gives us a sequence of quick shots showing off the scale of the conflict and the action:

Azog's army

There’s Azog and his army.

Cart Chase

Some sort of cart chase through laketown.

Running across a bridge

A favorite Peter Jackson shot, people running across a bridge.

An army of warg riders

An army of Warg riders.

Legions of bowmen

I’m assuming these are human archers, as their armor doesn’t match the armor we saw previously with Bard.

Bard kicking ass

And we see Bard attacking someone or something.

Thorin's company

Things take a pause as we see Thorin’s company looking glum, and we hear Thorin ask, “Will you follow me, one last time?”  We’re then treated to shots of some of the main players as the trailer comes to a close.

Gandalf

Legolas and Tauriel

Bilbo Baggins

It’s a smart move to end with a shot of Bilbo, because we don’t want to forget that this is Bilbo’s story we’re watching.  In all, this was a really well crafted trailer that actually surprised me.  I’d grown a little weary of The Hobbit and this has definitely rekindled my interest.  It was a smart move to make it feel like we’re watching a Lord of the Rings trailer, but I hope that Peter Jackson can do a better job with the finale of The Hobbit than he did with Return of the King.  (I know, I’m the only one who was slightly disappointed in ROTK, as I much preferred The Two Towers.  I felt like ROTK veered too far into spectacle so that it dragged a bit.  But I also know that I’m crazy, so just ignore me.)

In all, this is the most excited I’ve been for a Middle Earth movie since I finished watching An Unexpected Journey.  I think it’s fair to say that this trilogy has been much more uneven than the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  Still, I’ve enjoyed it and I’m eager to see how they wrap it up.  I get the feeling that even moreso than Lord of the Rings, this trilogy will be best viewed as a marathon, which will help smooth out some of its rougher edges.  Of course, there’s no guarantee that this is the last we’ll see of Middle Earth, but it might be a while before we get to The Silmarillion: Part 1 (of 15).

What do you think?  Are you excited for The Battle of the Five Armies?  What do you think of the title change?  Is there something particular from the book that you’re looking forward to seeing?  How do you think the Necromancer story will play out?  Do you like that they’re treating this film more like a part of Lord of the Rings?  How perfect was the song choice?  Let me know in the comments!

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