As the bizarre Catching Fire tie-ins have revealed, not all real-world movie promotions are entirely successful at capturing the spirit of the films they are promoting. Warner Bros. Pictures, however, has teamed up with Google for a Hobbit cross-promotion that seems just about perfect. To celebrate the December 13 premiere of The Desolation Of Smaug, Google’s new Chrome Experience allows fans the chance to explore Middle Earth from the comfort of their own living rooms.
Not only does the map provide a visual reference for Tolkien’s Middle Earth, users can also click on specific locations (including Trollshaw Forrest, Rivendell, and Dol Guldur) to reveal bonus content and play games, all while being serenaded by a lovely soundtrack and the dulcet tones of an Ian McKellen sound-alike. There’s an almost overwhelming amount of information to click through, but a handy pull-down menu on the left side of the screen displays links to various Middle Earth locations (some of which have yet to be unlocked). The video below gives a preview of how fans can use the map, although to be fair the trailer is bit more exciting than the actual interface.
Really the only downside to the Chrome Experience is that it wasn’t around when the first Lord Of The Rings films were released. Frodo’s journey to Mordor would have been a lot easier if he could have just asked Siri for directions.