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With 100% fewer songs about eating dinner and plenty of brooding and battle sequences, the sneak peek for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug actually looks pretty good. At three minutes and change, this trailer offers our most comprehensive look at the hotly anticipated Hobbit sequel. Set to come out on December 13th, the epic journey will take us into the heart of the Lonely Mountain, have our heroes captured by wood elves in the Mirkwood, and continue to spark brain-numbing debates on the merits of 48 FPS versus 24 FPS.

Benedict Cumberbatch cuts an imposing figure as Smaug — well, his voice does at least — and this trailer has me a fair sight more excited for the sequel, especially after my thoroughly disappointing experience with the first Hobbit film. I may have been alone in that sentiment, thoughm, because today also saw a The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug live fan event that featured exclusive new footage and a live Q&A hosted by Anderson Cooper with director Peter Jackson and cast members Evangeline Lilly, Orlando Bloom, Lee Pace, Richard Armitage, and Andy Serkis. The event has come and gone, but you can relive the magic in this video archive below. Go to 21:00 for a new video blog with outtakes and 52:45 for an extended scene.

Not too shabby, huh? Plus it looks like we’ll be seeing a little bit of Legolas too, so maybe he’ll be able to answer the burning question of “What the hell happened to Will Turner anyway?” What’s that? Wrong franchise? Okay, my bad, you guys. Scratch that last bit – just let us know what you think of the trailer in the comments below or tell me your Will Turner-is-a-secret-Nazgul theories on Twitter.

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  1. RG says:

    I think that’s been answered already, thanks to Rankin Bass and Ralph Bakshi… and the answer was a resounding no. I could see a nice long BBC series of the Silmarillion, though.

    Ultimately, I think the important thing is instilling a spirit of adventure and illuminating the imaginations of a young generation. If one is watching it right, technique and craft should take a comfortable backseat to the values of purity and mythological breadth. Whether that comes from a book or a movie, I don’t think it really matters.

  2. CJ says:

    With extended cut of HOBBIT part 1 in hand, I look forward to part 2 in theaters (and new middle earth video games) … yes I accept the interpretations onto film do not match everything in the books, but I hope it encourages reading said books (vs ignoring them) ….

    Question – should we have accepted an Animated series of films instead?

  3. RG says:

    By god, the dinner song was in the book, don’t dare discourage it! If Peter Jackson changes one more thing from the book, there’ll be a riot, and that riot will be incited by a faction of people rather unaccustomed to riot etiquette! It won’t be a pretty sight! Countless wire-rim glasses will fall off in the fray! Plate-glass windows of theaters will be rapped upon, firmly! Used ticket stubs will be ripped up into symmetrical pieces! Ugh…

    I, for one, am glad about the Legolas romance. It might retcon things to make him seem less friggin’ flat in LotR.