The latest theatrical trailer for the first part of Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy is finally here, and in under three minutes it reminds us why we fell in love with his vision of J.R.R. Tolkien’s world in the first place. Packed with compelling characters, an impeccably detailed world, and gorgeous cinematography, this new footage from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey should be everything that fans have waited for since the credits rolled on Return of the King back in 2003.

Here we are introduced to Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), who seems to effortlessly pick up the everyman quality that Elijah Wood’s Frodo brought to the first trilogy. The chemistry between him and Gandalf (Ian McKellen) will have to be the central dynamic in this story, and from what we see here it's certainly on-point. But it’s in the gorgeous scenery and CGI where this trailer really connects.

Jackson always had a firm hold on Tolkien’s world, and here it seems like technology has advanced to the point where the digital creations are more convincing than ever. All of the creatures and backgrounds in this trailer have a sense of weight and significance to them, even though they were mostly created in a computer. Most notably it looks like Andy Serkis’ Gollum has been revamped visually to be even more compelling than he was last time. This all helps tell Jackson's tale and brings us lavish worlds unlike anything we have ever seen. This is big screen grandeur at its finest. 

What can we say about The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey that hasn’t already been said? Jackson's return to Middle Earth may be overdue, but it looks like he hasn't missed a beat.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will hit theaters on December 14.

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