So today I’m talking posters! And by posters I mean not people who post comments or write posts on websites and blogs. I’m talking sheets of paper that fans of pop stars, bands, TV shows and yes, even movies, do collect and treasure.
Beginning with Comic-Con 2012, fans were treated to one of the first posters for An Unexpected Journey. It was a Comic-Con exclusive that showed Gandalf approaching Bag End on a misty morning in the quiet of the world when there was less noise and more green. And as an allusion, perhaps, to the darker tone of the films compared to the lighthearted children’s tale that is the book, the early morning sun seemed to peek through a wrack of ominous dark clouds.
As an introductory poster to new audiences and also old ones returning to the world of Middle-earth, there couldn’t have been a better piece of imagery set to paper.
And yet there was more. For Comic-Con also saw 17 of the most beautifully rendered 3D posters –- one for each of the thirteen Dwarves, and one each for Bilbo, Gandalf, Gollum, and Galadriel.
The images do not do justice to the craftsmanship of these 3D posters which can be glimpsed in their “true form” here, and in several YouTube videos.
There also followed in rather quick succession a couple of iconic posters featuring none other than the Hobbit himself, Bilbo Baggins.
And then, just as suddenly as these posters came, they were gone.
True, there followed a smattering of posters featuring characters cobbled together into pictures that had fans wondering whether they were just fan made or in fact the real deal (one featured the White Council (Ed: with Eowyn subbing in for Galadriel), another featured Bolg who appeared in a blink-and-you-miss-it capacity in the first film, yet another featured the 13 Dwarves in what some fans termed the “floating heads poster”, and one even showed Thorin twice in the same picture!).
Towards the end of 2012, around the time of the first film’s release, four IMAX character posters were released.
In the final tally of An Unexpected Journey’s posters, only the initial ones that included the 17 3D Comic Con character posters could stand as a proud testament to the elegance and detail that the entire production has exhibited towards the cinematic world of Middle-earth.
Which brings us to 2013… once again, it was around the time of Comic-Con that the production released a rather breathtaking poster. It featured Bilbo standing on a lonely height amid the dreary ruins of Erebor — a most apt image that seemed to capture the very essence of the second film’s ominous title, The Desolation Of Smaug.
The second film is rich with characters who hold promise of coming into their own by the final installment of the trilogy. These characters represent beloved favourites from the book alongside some new ones envisioned by PJ & Company.
And yet there have been no posters attempting to pique our interest in them, not even though the potential seems tremendous with the likes of Beorn, Thranduil, Legolas, Tauriel, Bard, Alfrid, and the Master of Lake-town, besides the forces of evil such as Azog, Bolg and, dare I say it, Smaug the Stupendous.
For that matter, whatever happened to Elrond, Saruman, and Radagast one wonders?
With just over two months left for the release of The Desolation Of Smaug, the chances of fans seeing some more elegant character posters seem rather slim. And yet hope remains while the Company is true…
Footnote: Demosthenes here. It does occur that the five pieces Desolation of Smaug key artwork released in tandem with the trailer last week (you can see these on the official The Hobbit site here and we’ve re-posted three as “clean” pictures here (stay tuned for the other pair)) would probably qualify as “posters”.
Still, I don’t think anyone would deny that this year has seen a gradual trickle of marketing material, rather than the flood that seemed to occur last year for AUJ, and that we would all love to see some additional poster art sooner rather than later. “The Scroll” (warning, large JPG file!) in particular was a work of genius (as well as a work of art), and thus far we’ve seen nothing approaching that level. But I guess there’s still time.