The second instalment of Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy, The Desolation of Smaug, won’t be released in theatres for another six months, but today we have its first trailer. Continuing the storyline of An Unexpected Journey, Smaug follows the exploits of Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), Gandalf (Ian McKellen), and the Dwarves (led by Thorin Oakenshield – played by Richard Armitage), as they make their way into the Kingdom of Erebor to reclaim the Dwarven treasure stolen by the dragon Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch). Along the way, we run into an old Elf friend named Legolas (Orlando Bloom), and become acquainted with the likes of Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly), Thranduil (Lee Pace), and Bard the Bowman (Luke Evans).
As disappointed as I was in the first trailer for An Unexpected Journey, I ended up being pleasantly surprised by the (admittedly flawed) final product. Now, after being relatively more impressed by the initial look at The Desolation of Smaug, I’ll have to wait and see what happens this time around. Sure, some of the CGI looks a bit shoddy, but there is more than enough time to make amends in the VFX department. And while the highly anticipated appearance of Smaug might dissatisfy some viewers with its ‘cartoonish’ aesthetics, I, for one, loved it. Indeed, despite the fact that some of Jackson’s questionable choices would lead us to think otherwise, it is important to keep in mind that the childlike storytelling perspective in The Hobbit is vastly different than that of the more maturely themed Lord of the Rings trilogy. Hence, I am more than okay with how Smaug looked here. Just don't get me started on the shudder-inducing effects of 48 frames per second.
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug opens in theatres on December 13th, 2013.