The first thing we saw was Ed Sheeran's behind-the-scenes music video for "I See Fire." This will be The Desolation of Smaug's end credit song, and my Christmas-time go-to train-riding jam. The song was absolutely beautiful (listen to it here and then purchase it on iTunes here)
After the lovely music video, we were then treated to five clips from the next movie. We saw a TON of footage and there was very little unfinished (even though Peter Jackson protested that some of the film wasn't). The cherry on top, was that all the music was Howard Shore's music and no substitute tracks, meaning we were listening to the real deal. And it was really lovely.
Giant, Chatty Spiders
The very first scene started with a sickly-looking Bilbo frantically scaling the giant trees of Mirkwood. He breaks through the autumn-tinged canopy. His demeanor changes completely. He stops gasping for air and exhales a giant sigh of relief, as a collection of blue butterflies flutter about his head. He can see the Lonely Mountain in the distance, excited he yells back down the tree, presumably to his dwarf companions, "I know which way to go!" Ah, they were lost, but they cannot hear him — then Bilbo suddenly notices a nefarious cracking of tree tops in the not-too-far distance. It's the same cracking Radagast the Brown encountered in the first movie.
Bilbo quickly scrambles down the tree and discovers his dwarf buddies trapped in the webbing of a collection of giant spiders. Bilbo gets tangled in the webbing himself but slices his way out, unafraid of the spider descending upon him. He speedily hides in a tree and slips on the ring for invisibility. The second the ring is on, he's able to hear the spiders talk. It's kind of brilliant; spiders talking isn't a new thing in this world, but adding the ring to the mix only heightens the power of this special trinket. The spider's cackle and drool over their "juicy" bounty, screaming "feast, FEEEAST!"
Full of newly discovered courage, thanks to his ring of invisibility Bilbo sends the crew of spiders away with a decoy noise and then stabs one spider IN THE FACE. It screams "It stings, it stings!" To which Bilbo remarks to his sword, "Sting, that's a good name for you."
To quote someone who was tweeting at this event, "My favorite actors in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug are Lee Pace, and Lee Pace's eyebrows." No kidding.
In this new elf-filled scene we get to meet Tauriel, who is a very feisty elf, I liked her. Tauriel joins Thranduil and Legolas in an orc interrogation. Legolas is holding a blade under the beast's neck while Thranduil demands to know why they were stalking the dwarf party. Tauriel is PISSED and lashes out at the orc, which causes her to get sent away by Thranduil (a pissy elf... interesting).
The orc taunts the elves by saying a great war is about to come. He also says "My Master serves the One." This bothers Thranduil and he beheads the creature. Leggy (as Orlando calls him) is dismayed: "you promised him you would set him free." "I did," retorts Thranduil, "I freed his head from his wretched body." Clearly, Thranduil knows more than he's letting on.
Ah the hilarity of the dwarves! The next scene shows the liberation of the dwarf pack out of Elf Jail, which is (no surprise) a gorgeous collection of caves and beautifully carved bars.
Bilbo has the keys and frees his travel companions. They stumble loudly into the cellar where Bilbo orders them to "get in the barrels" — they are noncompliant until Thorin Oakenshield tells them to trust Bilbo. It's a small little victory for the Hobbit. They haul themselves into the barrels and Bilbo pulls a lever and sends them into the river, thus forgetting to get into a barrel himself. But it's okay because they're waiting on the other side. Don't worry, the dwarf charm is still very much intact.
Our first Bard the Bowman meeting! Huddled in the front of a fishing boat, Bard steers the dwarves through the ruins of Dale (which are very foggy but lovely). In the front, the dwarves huddle and argue over payment. They're a few pieces short, and they don't trust this human. How will they know he won't take their money and betray them?
But when the mist parts and the Mountain appears (the closest it's ever been thus far) it puts the squabbling to a stop, and the dwarves fork over their hidden stash of cash.
The company piles back into the barrels, and Bard docks his ship. Nervously they watch as Bard points to the barrels and gestures in their direction. They all assume he's ratting them out. But in reality, he's filling the barrels with fish, thus hiding the dwarves from the gates of Laketown. We don't get to see inside, just the high gate. But it's exciting!
Bilbo Awakens Smaug
And finally the BIG moment. Bilbo and Balin stand at the entry way for Erebor. Balin has asked Bilbo to burgle out the Arkenstone. It's actually a really tender moment and Balin gives Bilbo reassurance when he says he's constantly surprised by the courage of Hobbits. But then asks him to please NOT wake up the slumbering dragon, should it be in there.
Bilbo gulps and heads off into the great hall, which is now completely covered in the jewels, gold, coins and treasures of the mountain. Piles of gold fill the entire space, wall-to-wall. Bilbo picks through the gold looking for a large white stone, but he finds several.
Eventually he kicks over the wrong bit of treasure, exposing a part of the head of Smaug. Slowly, the beast awakens. Bilbo tries to quietly run away, only to discover that the dragon is under ALL of the treasure, and there is no escape. The eye opens, the nostril flares, and slowly, ever so slowly the coins start to tumble and reveal bits of the beast. When it's apparent that the dragon is really getting up, Bilbo crumbles to the floor in a brilliant, very Martin Freeman-style like "oh hell oh hell." It was a great slow burn, but sadly we didn't get to see Smaug speak, which was a bummer. But probably for the best.