Would we be any less happy if Sir Ian McKellen played Dumbledore and Richard Harris, Gandalf? There have been few complaints concerning the casting for the two most anticipated fantasy films scheduled for release later this year. But we have little more to go on than a couple of sensational trailer downloads, and what do they promise?
On a screen the size of a credit card the sound works most of the magic. In this respect, neither film has much original to offer, but in both cases the fulfillment of expectations is of greater importance.
To a soundtrack of hooting owls and tootling trains beneath grandiose flourishes of classic fantasy, the trailer for "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" reassures by condensing the whole experience into a slick 114 seconds. The Hogwarts Express looks just like that depicted on the book jacket (how else?) chugging through countryside too tame, to a castle too neat, but all of which is enchanting enough.
"Harry, you're the boy that lived," says a suitably mountainous Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane) - a line matched in magnitude by "Even the smallest person can change the course of the future," delivered to Elijah Wood (Frodo Baggins) looking every bit as awestruck as Daniel Radcliffe (Potter). The voices of the heroes themselves are noticeably absent from both trailers.
"The Lord of the Rings" opts for the generic, gravelly, trailer-style voice-over, this time reading Tolkien's haunting verse about the immortal ring of the title. Thereafter, a less narrative-oriented montage focuses on epic sweep and extraordinary battles to a score of biblical (or at least "Conan the Barbarian") proportions.
Which is best? Download them and see for yourself, then let us know.
Download the "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" trailer from the official site.
Download "The Lord of the Rings" trailer from the official site.
Back to our "Harry Potter" Special
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