Critic extraordinaire Steven D. Greydanus, who reviews movies for CT, the National Catholic Register, and his own website, Decent Films, recently watched the new trailer for The Hobbit, which comes to theaters in December 2012. And Steven, not only a discerning critic but also a "don't-mess-with-my-beloved-Tolkien" fan who had some serious reservations about the Lord of the Rings movies, pretty much likes what he sees, thought with a few caveats.
Writing for the Register, Steven says, "I think it looks fantastic, for the most part. Of course it's a trailer, and so the material has been carefully selected, but I love much of what we see here." He lauds the casting choice of Martin Freeman as Bilbo. He loves the re-casting of Ian McKellen as Gandalf, a choice which Steven says "is one of the most awesomely right and perfect performances of any literary character I've ever seen, and I'm so happy there's more coming. I … I think I'll cry now." And he digs the depiction of the dwarves' song about the lost gold.
But Steven also has some concerns. He begs Jackson to show some restraint: "Please, please, no skullvalanche-level tonal atrocities, no drinking-game bathos or video-game culture allusions, no staff-shattering sacrileges." And he thinks Thorin appears too young, because "in my mind is an older figure, stout as an oak tree, beard as imposing as a shield." And he beseeches Jackson to avoid "The Aragorn Effect": "I really hope Jackson's Thorin doesn't become in The Hobbit what Aragorn became in the later Rings movies, the all-inspiring hero whose greatness diminishes those around him. (I call this centralizing of awesomeness the Aragorn Effect.) If nothing else, the climax of Tolkien's story should prevent that—but you never know."
Here's the trailer: