As I watch the first real trailer for The Golden Compass, I know two things for certain. One, that Sam Eliott is going to win me over as the balloon enthusiast Lee Scorseby. And two, that Daniel Craig has a fifty percent chance of gaining my trust, despite the massive simplification and deviation from the source that is evident from just a couple minutes of footage.

Everything else is up in the air.

And New Line knows it, which is why the first object you see in this trailer isn’t Mrs. Coulter’s airship, Iorek’s armor or the Alethiometer; it’s the One bloody Ring. The studio already invoked The Lord of the Rings indirectly with that clip of unfinished FX a couple weeks back, and now they’ve gone all out to tie their proven fantasy series to this unproven project.

I hope it pays off, because the rest of the footage looks bland and terribly uninspired. We knew the rough edges (read: religious content) would be filed down, but the degree to which formerly ambiguous characters are outed as good or evil right off here is disappointing.

And, really, Iorek (he’s the bear) doesn’t even look all that threatening. I hope I’m wrong, because I’d really like to see the weirdo shit in the second and third books be done right.

Click over to Yahoo for the trailer.