Behold! We’ve been offered another peak at Peter Jackson’s second chapter of Bilbo’s adventure THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG, and it looks pretty promising.
We get glowering Legolas, again played by Orlando Bloom (looking noticeably chunkier a decade on), a glowering Bard the Bowman (Luke Evans), a stoic elven King Thranduil (Lee Pace), peaks at the spiders of mirkwood and Beorn in his bear form (Mikael Persbrandt) and the build-up to a massive battle or two.
The big reveal is of course Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch) who was given a face in the last teaser, and now has a truly memorable voice – equal parts rich, menacing and playful.
Still no sign of Billy Connolly’s Dwarf leader Dain Ironfoot, despite him being listed among the cast, though he’ll presumably play a larger role in the third film where The Battle of Five Armies will in all likelihood dominate. We’re also yet to see Stephen Fry’s Master of Laketown.
It’s nice to see Jackson and co. seem to be keeping the lighter tone of the previous film (I particularly love how they’re avoiding the outright reveal of the One Ring), though obviously the action and certain characters’ roles have been beefed up a bit for the sake of spectacle. It looks like elf Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly), specially created for the film will have a major part to play in the action, and maybe she’ll even steal Legolas’ traditional “moment of sheer elven awesomeness”. I really hope the rumours of her becoming an unlikely romantic interest for Thorin (Richard Armitage) are true – that could be really interesting, and presumably a first for Middle Earth.
It also looks like they’re preserving the extreme animosity between Bilbo and Thorin as they reach the Lonely Mountain that existed in Tolkein’s book (Thorin’s cold “I will not risk this quest for the life of one burglar”). How this comes about after the two ended on amicable terms in the previous film remains to be seen.
Anyway, colour me impressed by this latest trailer – I enjoyed AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY (though it did go on a bit) and I’m looking forward to the next chapter immensely. Desolation of Smaug is released December 13. SSP