Professor Weighs In on Second Hobbit Trailer

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It is safe to say that few movies have been more highly anticipated than “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” which is scheduled to open in theaters Dec. 14. This week, to mark the 75th anniversary of the original publication of J.R.R. Tolkien's classic tale, the second trailer to Peter Jackson’s film adaptation was released.

Dr. Devin Brown
Dr. Devin Brown

Asbury English Professor Devin Brown, who has written a book about how Tolkien’s faith influenced the writing of “The Hobbit,” has offered some comments on what can be seen in this recent trailer.

“The tone of ‘The Hobbit’ is less serious than the tone of ‘The Lord of the Rings,’ and this second trailer reflects this difference,” Brown said. “This is not to say that there are no dark moments in ‘The Hobbit.’ Bilbo’s encounter with Gollum and his journey alone down the tunnel to Smaug’s lair are about as dark as you can get. But scenes like these are balanced by lighter moments. One of my favorites is when we see Bilbo scurrying down a path in Hobbiton. ‘I’m going on an adventure!’ he shouts to curious on-lookers.”

“It doesn’t look like there is going to be any shortage of epic action,” he continued. “Besides the literal cliff-hanging scene, we also see the company’s encounter with the wargs and Bilbo using Sting against a ferocious goblin.”

One quibble Brown had was with the response Gandalf makes to Galadriel’s question of why he chose Bilbo for the quest. The wizard answers, “Perhaps it is because I am afraid and he gives me courage.”

“Yes, Bilbo actually does bring courage to those around him, especially later in the story,” Brown pointed out. “But Tolkien also makes it clear that Gandalf, and the One who has sent Gandalf as his emissary, chose Bilbo for greater reasons than this. As Gandalf later tells Frodo, Bilbo was meant to find the ring and not by its maker.

“The trailer reports that from the smallest beginnings come the greatest legends. This is at the heart of Tolkien’s message to us. The truly great things are accomplished not by power, nor by might — in our world as well as in Middle-earth.”

Since its publication in 1937, “The Hobbit” has sold more than 100 million copies and has been translated into more than 50 languages. With the first of the three installments of the film version just months away, these numbers are only going to increase.

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