Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Hobbit: Wait, there's another one?

The Hobbit: Wait, there's another one?



The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies 

I chose to analyze the trailer for The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies, a movie scheduled to release December 17, 2014. This movie is the third and final installment of The Hobbit. The trailer almost immediately identifies the movie as an action film by displaying scenes of battle and a fire-breathing dragon. The main characters are easily recognizable within the first few scenes with shots of Bilbo and Gandalf, repeated characters throughout the entire Lord of The Rings series. 

This trailer includes many elements of ethos that create a convincing argument to watch the movie when it is released. The main tactic that the trailer employs is implementing components from previous Lord of the Rings movies to create a sense of credibility and familiarity. Most recognizably, the characters of Bilbo, Gandalf, and Legolas are included in the trailer. The importance of popular characters is emphasized in a passage in Understanding Movies. “In a sense, stars are more ‘real’ than other characters” (Giannetti, 282). In addition, a song which played a large role in an earlier Lord of the Rings movie, Return of the King, is used as the background music for a majority of the trailer.

Appeals to emotion in this trailer set the tone for the movie as solemn and tragic. Scenes of war, burning villages, and death all work to create these emotions. In addition, the sad tone of the background song adds to the solemn tone. Martin Freeman, the actor who plays Bilbo, begins the trailer with the line, “One day I’ll remember everything that happened; the good, the bad, those that survived, and those that did not.” This opener peaks the viewers interest by appealing to their curiosity. Who in the movie survives? The trailer then goes on to show a scene which appears to show the death of Gandalf. Those who have seen the other Lord of the Rings movies know that he survives, but the scene still causes viewers to wonder what happens to him. Since The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies is the last installment in The Hobbit trilogy, consumers are looking for a sense of closure from this movie. The trailer gives a promise for a satisfying ending by flashing the words “The defining chapter of the middle-earth saga” across the screen. All of these elements combined, the trailer has a strong emotional appeal. 

Despite displaying strong elements of ethos and pathos, the trailer lacks in logos. The idea of a movie having three parts is confusing enough to begin with, and the trailer doesn't summarize any previous movies. This could leave someone new to Lord of the Rings confused and lost. 

The trailer also employs visual arguments. The color scheme of the trailer is composed mostly of muted tones which accompanies the dark and gloomy mood that already exists. According to Everything's an Argument, color can have powerful emotional impact (Lunsford, 453). In addition, the scene where the dragon flies over a village and immerses it in fire displays appealing visual effects that intrigues viewers. On a more detailed level, the fonts that the trailer uses are also used in all of the other Lord of the Rings trailers, increasing the sense of continuity. 

I would say that the trailer is effective in convincing consumers already interested in Lord of the Rings to watch The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies; but it may not be as effective on those who are new to the series. Despite it’s gloomy tone, the trailer promises a sense of fulfillment through the final completion of the series. This, along with the elements of repetition congruent with earlier Lord of the Rings movies, is enough to peek the interest of those who are already interested in Lord of the Rings. However, for those new to these movies, the trailer might just confuse them since they are not familiar with the repeated elements. For a movie trailer, this is a pretty large downfall. The trailer is excluding an entire audience of consumers new to Lord of the Rings. Due to this shortcoming, I rate this trailer three out of five pickles.

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