Why Is the New ‘The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies’ Trailer So Damn Mopey?

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five ArmiesWarner Bros. Pictures

The Lord of the Rings movies could be heavy. They could be plenty sincere, rather haunting, and tearfully grave. But they also knew when to play the mood high: to be fun, exciting, and upbeat. After a dismally bland first Hobbit film, The Desolation of Smaug showcased Peter Jackson’s knack for good times. The movie gave us a barrel-rolling scene to rival the kinetic fun of Mario Kart, not to mention a sequence featuring some mighty satisfying dragon trickery. That’s why we’re so surprised to see the final chapter in the Hobbit trilogy, Battle of the Five Armies, shooting for such a somber attitude.

Even in the much improved second Hobbit flick, we weren’t quite latching onto the characters, nor embedding so deeply in the film’s mythology. What roped us in was the fun. But that fun is nowhere to be found in the first Five Armies trailer. Instead, the clip expects us to hang our heads low for the doom about to befall our heroes, to connect with their heavy hearts as the clouds of tragedy swarm their Tolkienian skies.

Sorry, but no dice. The only figure in this franchise with any semblance of a character arc is Bilbo; the rest are pseudo-anonymous set dressing with funny hair. And we like the hair! We like the funny! We like the barrel-rolling, the dragon-duping, and the riddles of Gollum! So why aren’t we seeing more of that in this trailer, Jackson?