This movie really, really wants you to remind you at all times that J.R.R. Tolkien wrote The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit that sometimes it looks less like a biopic and more like an absurd re-imaging of the Peter Jackson films cut into a period drama.
The latest trailer for Tolkien—which charts the young man’s life through school and into university as he falls in love and discovers his passion for language and writing ahead of the breakout of World War I—is much like the first, in that we once again mash up sequences where the young Tolkien (played by Nicholas Hoult) attempts to navigate friendship and love, before having his world rocked by the horrors of war with...Middle-Earth characters just appearing on muddy battlefields to remind people that yes, this is the guy what did those books! That got turned into those movies you like approximately half of!
It feels a bit cynical to assume that people interested in this for the Lord of the Rings connection that is inherent to the material will only really care about Tolkien’s story if they also occasionally get some flashes of fantastical creatures like Smaug and the Ringwraiths. Maybe it’s just that the trailers are cut that way—especially how this one desperately yearns to drag out the moment of Tolkien describing the bond between his friends as a “fellowship” as the final drop of the whole thing—in order to entice more people who maybe wouldn’t typically be interested in an early 20th-century biopic about an English writer, and it comes off less clunkily in the full film.
We’ll have to wait and see. Tolkien, directed by Dome Karukoski and also starring Lily Collins, hits theaters May 10.
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