Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" enjoyed one of the more anomalous releases in 2012. Despite the fact that many critics gave Jackson's adaptation of the J.R.R. Tolkien classic poor marks, the first of three "Hobbit" films was a global blockbuster, grossing more than $1 billion worldwide, nearly as much as "The Dark Knight Rises."
The second installment in the trilogy -- "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" -- arrives in theaters on Dec. 13, and judging from the new trailer the film has more in common with Jackson's "Lord of the Rings" films than the first "Hobbit" production.
While the first film felt overly dark and somewhat claustrophobic -- with an extended action scene unfolding deep in a sprawling cave -- the new film harkens back to the sweeping vistas and outdoor action that Jackson employed in the "Lord of the Rings" productions.
There are other similarties to Jackson's earlier Tolkien adaptation.
Judging from the trailer, the archer Legolas will enjoy significant screen time, the part that made Orlando Bloom a star from "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring."
And even though the creatures in the first "Hobbit" movie were impressive, in the new film we will see more of Jackson's epic design for Smaug, the giant dragon voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun