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Movie Review of "The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug"

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"About as much fun as a bag of weasels"...when I first saw this Irish adage, it made me think of the life of a writer: sometimes perilous, sometimes painful, certainly interesting. My paper journal has always been called "The Bag of Weasels." This is the Bag of Weasels' online home.

Movie Review of "The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug"

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Last night, Bobby and I went to see the new Hobbit movie for the second time (in England! which makes it extra cool!), so I am now prepared to review it properly. The first time we watched it was at the Mythmoot screening, so it was 1) at 9 AM after waking up at 6 AM, 2) in 3D, and 3) I was all O.O about the upcoming conference. I understandably missed a lot and didn't want to be unfair and/or look like an idiot by reviewing a movie that I nodded off during at a few points (because of the early hour and cozy darkness, not because of the quality of the movie).

Like the first installment, I enjoyed the movie. This is also the point at which I will make my requisite preface that I treat PJ's Tolkien-based movies much as I would a work of fanfiction, i.e., I need to try to enjoy someone else's vision of Middle-earth rather than to expect that PJ will have magically created mine. So I will not argue about breaking canon so much as I will analyze how his decisions worked on their own merit.

My two chief overall impressions are that PJ has created a lot of loose ends for himself to tie up and often at the expense of content from the books that would have done quite nicely. How many conflicts are there now? How many enemies? Well, we have Smaug, of course, and Sauron. And the Nazgûl are apparently afoot again, although we don't actually see them. Then there's the whole Azog and Bolg thing. And the Master of Laketown and Grima Wormtongue his minion. Am I missing any? Thorin and Thranduil are not enemies, of course, but they have certainly revealed themselves, to paraphrase Beorn, as "less wise and more dangerous," so they also act as wildcards at this point. And the Ring is beginning the influence Bilbo. That's a whole lot to resolve in the final movie.

Unfortunately, from my perspective, this busyness comes at the expense of scenes from the book that PJ didn't include or spent very little time on. Honestly, on my first viewing, Bilbo was going for the keys to the Dwarves' prison so quickly that I thought there must be some twist that would prolong their stay; that they could not be out of the Woodland Realm that quickly. Beorn likewise seemed rushed over. The scene in Mirkwood is one that made an impression on me when I first read The Hobbit in the fifth grade (age 10); when I thought of The Hobbit, memory of the dark forest and the spiders and the disappearing Elves came to mind. I was disappointed that more time was not spent on these scenes from the book, especially when they seemed sacrificed for plots that continue to feel superfluous to me.

(In the many discussions surrounding the new movie at Mythmoot, someone mentioned that the Feast of Starlight is pretty much treated only as Kili saying, "Sounds like there's a party going on upstairs!" which seems a regretful gloss of a major scene from the book.)

I do wonder at the structure of the final movie. Will we have the death of Smaug at the beginning and the Battle of the Five Armies at the end? What of the whole plot with Sauron? Azog and Bolg? The political plot in Laketown? I would have thought there would have been some move toward resolution of some of these plots in this movie--e.g., Smaug would have died at the end or Azog would have been killed, fueling Bolg's revenge at the Battle of the Five Armies--but it seems that PJ only created more loose ends to tie up. We have Bard to get out of jail, the open graves at the High Fells, Gandalf imprisoned in a gibbet, and the Tauriel/Kili romance in addition to the plots opened up in the first movie.

Speaking of. I would probably be remiss if I did not discuss the Tauriel subplot, since all the cool kids are talking about it, although I feel like I do so at my peril. I have mixed feelings. I like the introduction of Tauriel both to mitigate what is otherwise a sausagefest and also (discussed more below) to add some complexity to the Wood Elf perception of other peoples of Middle-earth. At the same time, I regret that Tauriel had to at once embody two irksome tropes for woman characters: the badass!superhero and the love interest. The latter is traditional, while the former has always felt to me an overcompensation for women typically serving as a love interest for male characters and often in need of rescuing. I do wish we could find some middle ground.

But I will accept a woman captain of the guard because it does fit the plot. What bugs me most about her subplot is how ... unprofessional ... she seems at times. She is the captain of the guard! She is a badass and obviously exceedingly competent at what she does! And yet she seems so quickly smitten with Kili to defy belief, i.e. her sheepish remark about his being tall for a Dwarf and how easily she is drawn into friendship with him. He is a prisoner in her charge. I don't imagine she would be so easily charmed. I honestly find her decision to go to Laketown to be much more believable, as her willingness to see beyond the borders of her realm is a well-developed trait of her character that also sets her as a welcome foil to Thranduil, than the ease with which she is drawn into romantic situations early in the movie. This includes her discussion of marriage to Legolas with Thranduil, which again seemed out-of-place and excessive, their devotion to each other as friends and comrades being more than adequately communicated.

That said, what I do like about her character is the complexity she adds to the Wood Elf point of view. She shows them as more complex than merely greedy isolationists; likewise, the association of the Dwarves who were left behind with the people of Laketown seems to function similarly. I like the potential for complexity that PJ has added here, where he has expanded out the various peoples beyond a few stereotyped qualities that are all that we see of them.

Okay, a few final points before I wrap up this rather longish review. When I first watched the movie, I felt like there was way too much action, but this didn't bother me as much on the second viewing. I did like the continuing Dwarf humor--so much of it involving poor Bombur!--that recalls the whimsical tone of the book. In particular, Bombur bowling Orcs in his barrel made me laugh heartily at both viewings. I noted in my review last year that I felt the villains were rather too cartoonish, which did not strike me in this movie at all: Smaug is formidable, and even though I agree with much of what I've read concerning smoke!Sauron, I have at least the impression of something significant happening in Dol Goldur. Also, the tensions between the various peoples lend a sense of conflict that is not easily resolved and seems to raise the stakes in a way that I didn't feel the first movie really did.

Several of the actors' performances were truly noteworthy. Martin Freeman continues to be incredible as Bilbo. At Mythmoot, it was discussed how much is communicated in his performance that doesn't involve speaking a single word. Ian McKellan continues to be Gandalf, and Sylvester McCoy does a delightful Radagast. One of the things that continues to impress me about this trilogy--I noted this in my review of the first movie and can only continue to say it for the second--is how the personalities of so many Dwarven characters are artfully managed so that so many of them come to the fore as truly developed characters rather than mere backdrop. (Gloin seemed to really come to the fore in this one, and his comment about "my wee lad Gimli" evoked squees at the Mythmoot screening.) And Lee Pace did an excellent job as Thranduil.

Which is where I want to leave off. What is up with his mysteriously appearing/disappearing scars? And the reference to the "serpents of the north"? Much has been said about how PJ cannot touch material from The Silmarillion, yet he seems to be hinting pretty hard here that Thranduil was involved--and possibly wounded--in the battles of the First Age. Am I missing something here?

In all, I enjoyed the movie, as I said at the outset. The very fact that I can write this much about it says that better than anything. Perhaps I should have more faith in PJ, since I think he improved upon the first movie, despite my misgivings after the first about how some of the plots would unfold. I am extremely curious to see how all of this is resolved in the final movie.



This post was originally posted on Dreamwidth and, using my Felagundish Elf magic, crossposted to LiveJournal. You can comment here or there!

http://dawn-felagund.dreamwidth.org/327462.html
  • On the improvement from the first movie--in PJ's LotR series the first movie was arguably strongest and the last weakest--much as I enjoyed the parts of his RotK it made me very nervous because I didn't see how he could ever get to the end of what he still had to cover. I don't know what I am trying to say. I guess that despite my great relief at enjoying the second Hobbit movie, I am still not sure I trust him to do a good job.

    I regret that Tauriel had to at once embody two irksome tropes for woman characters: the badass!superhero and the love interest. The latter is traditional, while the former has always felt to me an overcompensation for women typically serving as a love interest for male characters and often in need of rescuing. I do wish we could find some middle ground.

    I regretted that immensely before I saw the film. Got myself in a lot of trouble over expressing that also. But I regretted less watching the film. Not the way I want to see women handled in films, especially not in ones like historical fiction or fantasy set in some imaginary less modern time. I want women's struggles and triumphs to fit the circumstances and not look simply like a superhero-win over circumstance, I want to see the brains, sweat, and complications involved in overcoming the obstacles which exist, not ignoring those.

    A female superhero or a romance are OK once and a while, but not satisfying to me as a steady diet, since I am someone who spent so much her adult life focused on women's issues in society and studying the role of women in history. To oversimplify turns things on their head. I do feel like women should not be quicker than men to turn their back on duty faced with romance if I am to respect them.

    But despite all that, I did like the Tauriel story line, because it was fun and charming and neither Kili nor Legolas took her for granted. I suppose I need to be very grateful that Evangeline Lily was cast in the role, because a lot of women actors would not have won me as easily to a storyline I was dreading.

    I wonder if the last movie will have an everything-and-the-kitchen-sink feeling to it like RotK did? It might be PJ likes that rushed and stuffed with events feeling in a film? The older I get, the more I believe my taste for depth and complexity vs. action and noise is out of step with the world I live in. Poor me!

    Edited at 2013-12-27 11:40 pm (UTC)
    • FotR was also my favorite, but it is impossible for me to divorce my reaction to it from my first (positive) reaction to Middle-earth. TTT was my least favorite of the LotR trilogy, as second movies usually are. Thinking about it, I think I like the second Hobbit better than the first, which felt too often like a string of too-busy action scenes, which is rare for me. Plot-wise, I just can't make sense of how the third movie will look. If I were to draw a plot pyramid like the kinds I have my students make, it would look like two side-by-side mountains.

      On Tauriel ... I think I would be the exact opposite: that I would have liked more to see her in her kickass role and just leave the romance out of it. (Kind of like the deliberate nixing of a romantic subplot in Pacific Rim.) I think you hit the nail on the head re: abandoning duty on a love quest ... although it also felt like a moral quest to me, a deliberate abandonment of Thranduil's ideas concerning isolationism. Kili happened to put a face on the consequences of that isolationism for her. I did appreciate that PJ actually managed to include a dick joke in Tolkien. That is not something I ever would have imagined.

      I do have hope for the third movie because, hopefully, he can roll a lot of the conflicts into the Battle of the Five Armies. Although I still think it will be a very, very busy movie, and I think I would have more confidence were Smaug not still alive at the end of the second movie. (Skip the weird gold melty king thing and let us have Smaug out of the way for the third movie!)

      I don't know that the dislike of action and noise is an age thing, as I feel much the same way. I have trouble paying attention to action scenes. This movie I think broke them into palatable enough chunks for me, although I really had to pay attention the second time through to "get" the scene in the forges. (That could have been shorter for me.)
    • (no subject) - dawn_felagund - Expand
    • (no subject) - thelauderdale - Expand
  • I haven't seen the movie and won't be for a long while until its released on dvd/blue ray... but this got me wondering too:

    Much has been said about how PJ cannot touch material from The Silmarillion, yet he seems to be hinting pretty hard here that Thranduil was involved--and possibly wounded--in the battles of the First Age. Am I missing something here?

    How about Unfinished Tales? There is a lot of first age silm stuff in there as well, at least the Gondolin stuff and the tale of the Children of Húrin. So eum, yes, all PJ could need for this movie is just that... since the quest of erebor is in UT as well.

    Edited at 2013-12-27 11:42 pm (UTC)
    • Great review. I guess I'm of two minds over the whole proliferation of subplots and added material: on the one hand, I still think that turning the Hobbit into a trilogy is rather excessive, and it does show in the movies. On the other hand, if I can be more or less consistently entertained for three movies instead of one or two, then that makes me pretty happy (especially if Ian McKellan's Gandalf is on all of them!)
    • (no subject) - dawn_felagund - Expand
  • I was disappointed that more time was not spent on these scenes from the book, especially when they seemed sacrificed for plots that continue to feel superfluous to me.

    Yes. While it didn't have a meandering pace like AUJ, I also felt as if all the scenes you mentioned were rushed through. The Smaug-forge scene could have been drastically reduced to make room for them.

    As for Tauriel-- I read an article that said there was originally no romantic subplot, but that apparently the studio's board (or higher-ups or something) made them add it in during the reshoots last year.

    Your review is pretty much how I feel. It could be better in parts, but it's a good movie.
    • I just finished commenting to Oshun about how confused I was by the whole gold-king-statue thing that didn't seem to make much sense on first viewing (and still only makes sense because of a willingness to make a healthy amount of conjecture) and didn't advance the plot in any meaningful way. I would have taken that out and added elsewhere.

      I'm not surprised but am dismayed by the whole Tauriel/Kili addition, not because I don't think it should be in there (I still have very mixed feelings on the whole thing) but because here we are in 2013 and can't imagine a movie with a woman in it who isn't someone's girlfriend.
  • I just have a few more comments:

    When the swords are taken from the Dwarves in Mirkwood, Legolas says specifically that they were "made by our kin in Gondolin" which surprised me since that's a pretty definite Silm mention right there. (I'm not sure how PJ can get by with it but he did, it seems.)

    Thranduil's 'scars' and talk of "dragons of the north" certainly seems to imply that he was in First Age battles and possibly a refugee from Gondolin (along with Oropher and Legolas.) I'm not sure if the scars are covered by magic and the illusion is dropped to make a point or something else entirely. (In 'Hobbit 1' EE, there is a scene where Thranduil is shown an open box which certainly seems to hold the lost Nauglamír -- which is a direct connection to Doriath -- for he definitely recognizes it before the box is shut.) So there are certainly a good many hints to the Silm and other inaccessible works -- but if they can't be used, why? To enrich the backstory, I guess. (Again, I'm surprised that PJ got away with it.)

    On a side note -- it's interesting that two of the most famous elves (Legolas and Glorfindel) are both connected to Gondolin (where they presumably die) and yet they - or their namesakes - feature so prominently in the Third Age.

    Finally, the Arkenstone certainly seems to be the Silmaril that Maedhros cast into the "fiery chasm" rather than a gem that was mined, cut and fashioned by the Dwarves.
    • I assumed the allusion to Gondolin came from The Hobbit. I just did a search for the term "Gondolin" and, yep, I remembered rightly that it is mentioned there. There is this passage, spoken by Elrond:

      These are not troll-make. They are old swords, very old swords of the High Elves of the West, my kin. They were made in Gondolin for the Goblin-wars. They must have come from a dragon's hoard or goblin plunder, for dragons and goblins destroyed that city many ages ago. This, Thorin, the runes name Orcrist, the Goblin-cleaver in the ancient tongue of Gondolin; it was a famous blade. This, Gandalf, was Glamdring, Foe-hammer that the king of Gondolin once wore. Keep them well!


      (From "A Short Rest")

      This also mentions the dragons, which could justify the inclusion of the "serpents of the north" as well. But it seems so little to go on, to justify including it when the deeper material can't be referenced. Like you, I think it might be merely to enrich the backstory--to give that illusion of historical depth--but it seems to me quite a dramatic detail to leave open-ended like that.

      I haven't seen (although I own!) the first EE yet; I'm intrigued to check that out re: the Nauglamir.

      Why do you think their trying to portray the Arkenstone as Maedhros's Silmaril?
  • I was disappointed that more time was not spent on these scenes from the book, especially when they seemed sacrificed for plots that continue to feel superfluous to me.

    This was the root of most of my issues with the movie--that significant scenes were bartered for unimportant original additions. The problem wasn't necessarily that PJ made additions. In LotR, I supported many of the changes he made simply because they made sense cinematically or were simpler to tell without so much superfluous explanation. Here, it seems quite the opposite, that he sacrificed important plot elements when the original would have had a much better and cleaner payoff by the end of the third movie. Admittedly, though, I am also somewhat biased, as I had sort of built castles in the air from my own preferences. I suppose I can see why he moved the discovery of Dol Guldor up to be concurrent with the movie rather than a pre-existing issue, but I would really have loved to see the politics of the white council and how that existing knowledge affected the plot in Mirkwood and over in Laketown.

    As for Tauriel, I have made my opinions clear on my own blog, but I agree a thousand percent that her character would have been better off without any romance. Rather, if they had developed her relationship with the Elves she commanded and with her professional equals and just allowed her to be a competent Silvan Elf who, oh I don't know, does her job and doesn't just abandon her responsibilities after one conversation and some pretty cheekbones but let's not go there I would have connected with her a lot more.

    Finally, I agreed with you on two more points. I was also very confused by the gold statue. (Where did the mold come from? Had they already set it up when Smaug attacked the first time? How did they pipe the gold in? Did the mold just shatter when the rocks fell down, or did it just disappear? How did they get the gold to stand up there so long when it was still apparently liquid? Why did they think melted gold would harm something that breathes fire? Who came up with such a convoluted plan?) Second, I am quite curious how he will tie up all these open plots in one movie.

    Anyway, sorry for invading your blog with rambling, but I thought this was a very thoughtful review!
    • Please "invade" any time! :) You're always welcome! And I'm glad you found it thoughtful since I wrote it rather late last night after spending the day wandering about northern England with my family and didn't exactly feel at my intellectual peak! :^P

      I also expected--and therefore didn't mind at all--the additions, simply because a skinny book written for children expanded into a 9+-hour movie trilogy seems to require it. I assumed the additions would bring forth some of the material that is more in the background in TH and LotR (or dealt with in the appendices), such as Dol Goldur. I also appreciate additions that elevate TH to the complexity of LotR, such as the addition of Tauriel to represent the Wood Elf point of view as something that isn't simply monolithic.

      But I assumed those additions would be placed in between the actual events in the book, especially since TH isn't exactly a complicated book (like LotR) that might warrant omissions to translate to the screen. So, yes, a little disappointed in this--I can always use more Elves! :)--but very curious to see how PJ rounds up all these loose ends and makes something coherent of them.

      On Tauriel, indy1776 makes an interesting point up-thread that the romantic component was added late as a requirement by Someone Powerful at the studio and was not originally part of the screenplay. That leaves me feeling annoyed that, in the year 2013, we cannot have a woman character in a movie who isn't the love interest of the cutest male character.

      I am less bothered by her dereliction of duty in the sense that she is acting on her own moral beliefs regarding the Elves' obligations to their neighbors; Kili happens to put a face to the impact of Thranduil's isolationism for her. How one would have risen so high in a militaristic organization without an overwhelming sense of duty and obedience, though, is less believable to me. I would have liked to see more her evolution from one competent (and obedient) enough to be a captain of the guard to one willing to forsake that duty to follow her own sense of what is right. But, again, the busyness of the movie and the addition of the love plot rather make that impossible, and so the whole Tauriel plot feels a little disjointed and forced to me.

      I was also very confused by the gold statue.

      My theory is that the mold was in place and the statue about to be built when Smaug invaded Erebor. The exiled Dwarves would have known that and so completed the statue accordingly during the Interminable Forge Action Sequence (to borrow Huin's term from the comment below). Symbolically, I think this is a nice idea: return of the King Under the Mountain! Using a favorite material and downfall of the Dwarves! With the statue crumbling to show the frailty of a society so constructed upon material wealth! But plotwise? Not so much. Also, the practical problems with it--discernible even to someone who hasn't had physics since high school, like me--are distracting.

      Worse yet, it doesn't advance the plot at all. You can strike that scene from the movie and miss nothing. And as you say, why the Dwarves would think that a being that breathes fire would be susceptible to heat? Just doesn't make sense.
  • I was trying to single out something about this review to strongly concur with you on, but that'd be...most of it.

    I particularly could not get behind the Interminable Forge Action Sequence. If they want to show a confrontation between the Dwarves and Smaug, I think they could have found a way to do it that didn't involve that fiasco. And what irks me the more about it is that so much -time- went into that one sequence--time which could have been used instead to leave in more of the Beorn and Mirkwood scenes (to me it was clear from the frenetic quality of the first half that a lot of material had been cut from it).

    Lest I sound like I just hated this film, I did like aspects of it, but I've still got a bee in my bonnet about the stuff I didn't like. ;p
    • It is officially the Interminable Forge Action Sequence to me going forward. ;) Also, I love your icon!

      But yes. The gold statue in particular seems to have elicited so much confusion and suspension of disbelief for a scene that does absolutely nothing to move the plot forward. Nothing is contributed by that scene except that we learn that the Dwarves apparently don't know much about dragons. Some of the people I talked to at Mythmoot (who were also overwhelmingly confused about what exactly happened in that scene) suggested that it was a bone thrown to video-game makers; I think it was more likely just an excuse to play with cool special effects. In any case, yes, I totally agree that that time could have been used to add more to the beginning scenes ("frenetic" is a great word for how the Beorn and Mirkwood scenes feel) and to make the ending tidier. The beginning of the Smaug scenes started so strong and seem to have devolved into an endless mishmash of people falling into chasms and catching onto wires and being yanked by up by levers and almost getting incinerated and capering about to carry out a plan that apparently resulted in the gold statue thing ... It just felt very sloppy to me.

      I enjoyed the movie too but am probably never going to find anything Tolkien-based made by mainstream entertainment that is immune to critique. ;)
  • Great review....very amusing, i.e. 'Grima Wormtongue'! I just saw the movie today and found it quite a bit more complex than the first, in a good way. I felt that some of the characters, particularly the dwarves, were more developed than in the first film, and I agree with you that as Bilbo Martin Freeman is excellent. I also enjoyed Lee Pace as Thranduil and regret that there was not more of him. Tauriel was an interesting addition and she did complicate the plot somewhat but I enjoyed her little 'romance' with Kili. I do believe PJ to be rather self-indulgent when it comes to action scenes and felt the one with Smaug was a bit too long, but the special effects were masterful. The spiders were amazing...very realistic...I had to almost cover my eyes but only managed to put my hand over my mouth because I didn't want to miss anything! I cannot wait for the third installment to see how PJ is going to tie up all the loose ends. This movie gave me the feeling that 'The Hobbit' could be made into a series and not just 3 films.

    Oh, and I loved your references to 'The Silmarillion'. What I wouldn't give to see a film series happen but only in the 'right' way, of course. ;)
  • Enjoyed your review Dawn and agree with your assessment. I enjoyed this one a lot, better than the first (the videogame cartoonish aspect of Goblin town really got to me) although they still had to add all that craziness in that final scene with the dragon. I loved the way they did Smaug and yet I felt that the book scene with the dialogue between Smaug and Bilbo was better than all that roaring around. I thought if PJ & co. had applied a little more Hitchcock type suspense, with Smaug outfoxing them at least once, I would have appreciated it more. However, it is the number one movie in the world, so PJ knows what the modern audience likes. I have to admit, once you get over the idea that physics apparently works differently in Middle-earth, with that gravity-defying barrel romp, etc. well I found it was fun.

    PJ does have a lot to tie up in the last movie. I too wondered at the need for quite so many villains. But I guess they need one for every segment of the action.

    I have to say that I loved Bard who I thought was a big improvement on the minimal part he has in the book -- as well enjoyed the seedy Laketown. Did you see Stephen Colbert's cameo?

    I really liked the characterization of Thranduil as fey and wounded, both psychologically and perhaps physically. I'm betting that Walsh/Boyens have decided that Thranduil was involved in a battle with the dragons sometime after they appeared in the far north in Third Age 2570, and 19 years later Dain I was slain by one. If Thranduil came to Dain's aid and many of the elves slaughtered (in the movie fanfic 'verse) then that may explain much. I'm wondering too about his terrible scars and whether they were inflicted in the past and he casts a glamour over them or what. I expect we might see that story in movie III. One of the benefits of having PJ & co. change up the story so much is that we anticipate what might happen. If it were drawn directly from the books, perhaps not so much. I'm also wondering about the draw of the white gems for Thranduil. They mention a spiritual connection with the stars. Do they have healing properties which he needs for his realm? Fun to speculate.

    As far as Tauriel, I went into the movie open-minded about it and found that I liked her character a lot. I think she adds a sense of "humanity" that seems lacking in most of the others. I didn't mind the "love triangle" at all, which actually was not very overt and almost more of a connection that Tauriel made with their enemies through talking with Kili about the things he loved. I enjoyed the scene where she heals him.
    So, all in all, I enjoyed it. It's still not as magical for me, or as good a movie as any of the LOTR ones were. I don't know if that's due to the source material having less depth, being a children's tale, or the fact that these are suffering from being excessively videogamed up or what.
    • It's still not as magical for me, or as good a movie as any of the LOTR ones were. I don't know if that's due to the source material having less depth, being a children's tale, or the fact that these are suffering from being excessively videogamed up or what.

      I think you nailed the most significant difference between the two series--yes, the source material is far from as magical and poignant as the material in LotR. And The Hobbit movies are being "videogamed up." It is impossible that The Hobbit in any form could carry the kind of weight that LotR carries easily--those films could have carried more--they could have been weighter and less popularized and still succeeded artistically and possibly borne the test of time even better.

      As they stand, the LotR series are excellent movies. The Silmarillion would make a magical/mystical kind of film, tragic and heartbreaking, but epic and layered, ambiguous even (god forbid!) but it definitely should never be done as an action/suspense/thriller/videogame movie. I just say 'thank god!' that The Silmarillion will not be made into a movie in my lifetime. I could not stand the stress of seeing it popularized and/or dumbed down.

      I liked the same things you liked about The Desolation of Smaug.

      Edited at 2013-12-29 03:22 am (UTC)
  • I agree with pretty much your whole review. The movie did seem to have a lot going on, and much of this seemed to be stuff PJ himself slapped into the plot. I didn't expect an adaptation that was particularly faithful to the book, but it failed to even entertain me, save at occasional points.

    I think the movie leaned heavily on the LotR trilogy for support, e.g., the reference to athelas (which was odd, because I think that particular herb is not well-known - or available? Sorry, I don't have my book with me - in northern parts), and to the Morgul blade (which, apparently, is now carried by Orcs). I understand that making references to a prequel – though technically LotR is a sequel! – can make things more familiar for the audience, but I just felt it made things very messy.

    Still, I have to commend Martin Freeman's acting, and the fact that Legolas was actually given sarcastic lines, like he was in the LotR book. I sorely missed his dry wit in the movie trilogy. Thranduil was cool enough. I don't think he really came across as a greedy monster. His trusty elk, which was shown in the first film - I really don't know how to respond to the fact that it's an elk.

    Hope you had a good new year! :)

    Edited at 2014-01-02 05:43 pm (UTC)
  • If you want a great immersion into JACKSON’s interpretation of Middle Earth, watch this movie.
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