Though dedicated Tolkien fans are already fiercely excited for the December release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, it will be interesting to see how Warner Bros. sell the film to the more general audiences who no longer remember the difference between Elrond and Gandalf. After all it's been nearly 10 years since the release of Return of the King, and while it seems reasonable to expect The Hobbit to be as big a hit as the original Lord of the Rings films, there might be a period of readjustment for people to truly get back into Middle Earth.

Which is why TV spots, which reach audiences literally where they live, will wind up being so important. The first TV spot for The Hobbit debuted online today, and you can watch it below to see just how the adventures of Bilbo and the dwarves will be sold to audiences across the country.

So they're relying on a pretty classic blend of action and comedy, plus some shots emphasizing the epic scale of the film, which surely can't hurt. Ideally it will be fun for audiences to join Bilbo and the dwarves in their journey, so it's nice to see the TV spots emphasizing the early relationship between Bilbo and the dwarf leader, Thorin Oakenshield. Of course they've got to make room for Gandalf too, since he's the only major character in The Hobbit who carries over into Lord of the Rings. Sell the people on what they know!

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will be arriving as the centerpiece of a jam-packed holiday movie season, coming out December 14-- a few weeks after big Thanksgiving releases like Life of Pi, and just before even bigger Christmas releases Jack Reacher, This is 40 and Zero Dark Thirty. Do you think it can hold its own? Let us know in the comments.

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