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Some truly massive blockbusters were featured in San Diego Comic Con’s Hall H this afternoon. Starting off with a panel in the morning featuring Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, the rest of the afternoon was filled with titles like Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim, Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel and Shane Black’s Iron Man 3. But as exciting and awesome as all those presentations were, none of them could compete on the epic scale of Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit. In addition to bringing out Martin Freeman, Andy Serkis, Richard Armitage, Ian McKellan, Elijah Wood and Philippa Boyens, Jackson also brought more footage than any other film, delivering a grand total of over 12 and a half minutes. And you can get an inside look at all of it by reading my recap below!
NOTE: I believe that it’s important to mention that this footage was shown at the standard 24 frames per second, rather than the 48 frames per second that the film was shot in (it also wasn’t in 3D). This is perhaps a reaction to the Cinema Con screening from a couple months ago, which didn’t get the warm welcome that everybody expected.
The first scene of the footage features all of the dwarfs convening in Bilbo’s house discussing whether or not they should make the trip to the Lonely Mountain to try and get the treasure that Smaug stole from their ancestors. Though there is some question, Thorin Oakenshield (Armitage) manages to get everyone to agree to go with a stirring speech. The problem is that he front gate is sealed, but that’s an issue that Gandalf (Ian McKellan) has an answer to. Out of his robes he pulls a key that he says previously belonged to Thorin’s father. The wizard gives Thorin the key and he stares at it deeply. A map is then brought out and they begin to strategize. They then get onto the subject of needing a burglar and all of the dwarfs turn to look at Bilbo (Martin Freeman), who is at first shocked by the comment and then defiantly says no. Some of the dwarfs chime in saying that they don’t believe Bilbo is the right man for the job either, but the room goes silent as Gandalf stands and bellows, controlling the entire room with his voice. He tells the dwarfs that Bilbo is indeed the man for the job and adds that while Smaug will recognize the smell of a dwarf, he won’t know the smell of a hobbit.
The dwarfs then begin to throw their support behind the little hobbit and given him a contract to sign. As Bilbo leaves the room, Thorin speaks softly to Gandalf saying, “I can’t guarantee his safety nor will I be responsible for his fate.” Bilbo starts going over the paperwork and while the first item on the list is nice – 1/14th of the profits from the mission – things get much worse from there as he reads about the potential laceration and incineration that may result from the trip. He begins to feel faint and Bofur (James Nesbitt) hops up to make things worse. As Bilbo starts to swoon, Bofur talks about being set on fire and being turned to ash, which promptly causes the hobbit to fall to the floor.
The next series of clips were short and gave the crowd an idea of the film’s scope. Kicking off with Gandalf riding a horse across a desert, the montage included shots of Cate Blanchett as Galadriel, Christopher Lee as Saruman, and Stephen Fry as the mayor of Laketown. The footage also showed us Beorn’s house as well as a boat riding through icy waters.
And then we got to see another extended sequence. In a scene that wasn’t in the book, Gandalf is getting ready to enter some catacombs and is told by a bystander that it might be a trap. Gandalf tells his friend to leave as “it’s undoubtedly a trap.” We then see him running around the catacombs, his sword drawn, being chased by a mysterious enemy. As he turns a corner the mystery villain leaps and attacks.
And then came time for riddles in the dark. One of the most famous scenes from the book, Bilbo is stuck in a cave when he meets Smeagol (Andy Serkis). Bilbo has his sword, Sting, drawn and he waves it at the little monster, explaining that he wants to know how to get out of the cave. Smeagol then begins to talk to himself (as he has been known to do), leading Bilbo to become confused and say, “I don’t know what your game is.” This excites Smeagol, who gives Bilbo a riddle: “What has roots as nobody sees, Is taller than trees, Up, up it goes, And yet never grows?” The hero answers, “A mountain,” which is the correct answer. But that’s only the beginning. They set the rules so that if Bilbo wins he gets to leave, but if Smeagol wins then he gets to eat Bilbo whole, which the hobbit is none too pleased about.
The footage then cut to another scene not in the book, this one between Gandalf and Galadriel. She questions why the wizard chose the halfling for the mission and he explains that it’s the small things, the ordinary things, that have the power to keep the darkness at bay. She responds in Elvish, “If you should ever need my help, I will come.”
It then quickly cuts back to Smeagol’s cave where Bilbo discovers the One Ring, and then a confrontation between Bilbo and Gandalf. The wizard remarks that the hobbit has changed, to which the hobbit has an answer. “. “I was going to tell you,” he says as he begins to reach into his pocket. “I found something in the goblin tunnels.” He pauses and takes his fingers out of his pocket “…My courage.” Gandalf smiles and responds, “Good, that’s good, You’ll need it.”
It all came to a close with yet another montage, this one featuring all kinds of mythical creatures including trolls, giants, goblins, and a sled being pulled by massive rabbits. The footage concluded with a shot of Legolas (Orlando Bloom) pulling out an arrow and pointing it straight in Thorin’s face.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey hits theaters on December 14th and its sequel, The Hobbit: There And Back Again will arrive on December 13th. For more info on both movies head over to our Blend Film Database HERE and HERE.