Evangeline Lilly (Tauriel) tries to remember the size of the fish she caught…or something.
I was lucky enough to get a last-minute spot at the Hobbit Fan Event at the Grove theatre in LA, where I saw about 20 minutes of scenes (in 2D) from The Desolation of Smaug, along with a new production blog and a music video for Desolation’s end credit’s song - ”I See Fire” by Ed Sheeran. You can check them both out below:
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Production Diary 12:
Ed Sheeran — I See Fire — The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug:
As you may have read, this event, hosted by CNN’s Anderson Cooper, consisted of 4 satellite-linked theaters (LA, New York, Wellington and London) that had live Q&A’s with cast and Peter Jackson, with many more theaters worldwide linked into the feed to watch the happenings. Evangeline Lilly (Tauriel) was at my location.
Technically and logistically things went very smoothly. I have to say that experiencing an impromptu competition over who can cheer the loudest between fans thousands of miles apart while simultaneously reading a scroll of live tweets from the thousands tuning in gave me a bit of future-shock, as it was a potent reminder of the amazingly connected world we live in these days.
As soon as I entered the theater and saw so many wearing obviously painstakingly assembled costumes I knew I was in the presence of some of the most devoted fans of Peter Jackson’s Middle Earth. Several women cosplaying Tauriel looked so good clad in their intricately detailed elven garb sewn from expensive-looking materials that at first I thought I was running into paid models wearing wardrobe from the movie itself (they all turned out to be fans).
The event also drew a sizable contingent of people with New Zealand accents whom I’m guessing travelled here to see Lilly / Tauriel in person. Lilly, by the way, was very funny and easygoing throughout the event, cracking jokes and interacting with the audience. She also exuded passion for Tauriel and Tolkien’s world in general. Since reading the Silmarillion she’d loved how badass the elves are, so this role was a dream come true.
As for the extended scenes that were screened: they were all great. The action – particularly the badass moves pulled off by Tauriel and Legolas – was impressive, and the humorous moments were at least as funny as the best funny parts of An Unexpected Journey. Lilly went through a ton of movement training in order to attain the fluid fighting style of the elves, and it shows. I bet she’s going to be a huge crowd-pleaser this December.
Despite Peter Jackson and the WB representatives making a very big deal about the fact that very spoilery plot elements would be shown for the first time, it turned out that the screened scenes were all teased in the latest trailer (maybe they chose not to show the super-secret scenes at the last possible second?).
Here’s what was shown:
1. Bilbo climbing to the top of the forest canopy and then fighting with the spiders (who have great voices by the way).
2. The interrogation of the orc by Thranduil, Legolas and Tauriel.
3. Bilbo and the dwarves escape from the elves’ lair via barrels.
4. Bard, the dwarves and Bilbo have some moments of distrust while approaching Laketown by boat, before settling on a plan to smuggle themselves past the gates.
5. Outside the tunnel to Smaug’s lair, Balin remarks to Bilbo on the courage of Hobbits.
6. Bilbo descending the stairs inside the dragon’s lair, then walking (noisily) upon the seemingly endless pile of gold coins and jewels. (by the way, the treasure looks amazing, and the physics of how all of the small pieces of treasure interact is spot-on, mainly because most of it is practical rather than CG).
7. Finally, they showed the first few minutes of the Smaug reveal sequence. This is done PERFECTLY – it’s obviously one of the most important sequences in the trilogy, and Jackson nailed it. I had goosebumps.
The acting and action were uniformly great, and the tone/mood was consistent. If Jackson manages to keep this tone and level of quality throughout the film we might end up getting one of the greatest adventure movies of all time. In short, the most recent trailer rekindled my excitement for The Desolation Of Smaug, but this event sent me over the top.