The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey clip sheaths the sword

New Line and Warner Bros. have posted a television spot and an international trailer for the first film in Peter Jackson’s upcoming Hobbit trilogy.

The Hobbit tells the story that comes before The Lord of the Rings. In some ways, The Lord of the Rings is a sequel to The Hobbit, but from another perspective, The Hobbit is a prequel to The Lord of the Rings, as the original author J.R.R. Tolkien added lots of material to the original Hobbit story in a set of documents now known as ‘the appendices.’ It’s this modified, and greatly expanded version of the story that Jackson is adapting, using the same shooting locations, styles, and some of the same actors from his adaptation of the LOTR trilogy.

Originally intended to be two films, it has been split into a trilogy all its own. The first movie is The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, which will cover the events of the book from Bilbo’s introduction to Gandalf in Bag End to Bilbo’s encounter with Gollum and The One Ring.

The new spot, mostly advertising the pre-sale tickets for the film – which are already making records – seems to focus on Bilbo’s small sword, which holds some surprises for the character when he actually goes to use it, though the dwarves are unable to take it seriously because of its size.

We also have this international trailer, shown here as the Japanese version with Polish subtitles:

Mostly this is recut from the existing English language trailers, but there is always some interesting differences in the trailers edited for other countries due to cultural differences. Japanese trailers for example, even the ones for their own films, typically have little in-film dialogue, and instead use a narrator to describe the story if any voices are heard at all, while the show-off clips for an action film are much heavier on the fight scenes than other types of special effects. Thus, here we get a brief glimpse at some of the more physically heroic scenes that we haven’t seen in the English language trailers, which focus on the sweeping vista and cool monsters.

Here’s the North American theatrical trailer, for comparison:

The official synopsis for the film is thus:

The Hobbit follows the journey of title character Bilbo Baggins, who is swept into an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor, which was long ago conquered by the dragon Smaug. Approached out of the blue by the wizard Gandalf the Grey, Bilbo finds himself joining a company of thirteen dwarves led by the legendary warrior, Thorin Oakensheild. Their journey will take them into the Wild; through treacherous lands swarming with Goblins and Orcs, deadly Wargs and Giant Spiders, Shapeshifters and Sorcerers.

Although their goal lies to the East and the wastelands of the Lonely Mountain first they must escape the goblin tunnels, where Bilbo meets the creature that will change his life forever… Gollum.

Here, alone with Gollum, on the shores of an underground lake, the unassuming Bilbo Baggins not only discovers depths of guile and courage that surprise even him, he also gains possession of Gollum’s “precious” ring that holds unexpected and useful qualities… A simple, gold ring that is tied to the fate of all Middle-earth in ways Bilbo cannot begin to know.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey hits theaters Dec 14 , 2012. The follow up film, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, follows on Dec 13, 2013. The third and final Hobbit film, The Hobbit: There and Back Again hits on July 18, 2014.