Escape to the Movies: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

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The movie was great fun but I rolled my eyes every time the chick from Lost came up. And Legolas couldn't act out a love triangle if his life depended on it. He's just there for the cool.

Boba Frag:
Anyway, are we not gonna talk about Thranduil's rotting cheek in the scene where he's trying to cut a deal with Thorin?

I mean, his cheek starts rotting away and his eye turns white!!

What do people think it signifies? I have my own theories, but I'd love to hear what others think when they see the movie.

I think it means Elves can magically hide their wounds and scars and physical damage, and reveal them at will? It seemed Thranduil was revealing he had been scarred by Smaug himself.

Zhukov:

Well... then Tolkien spelt it funny!

Maybe it's just my Australian accent coming into play, but I've never heard it pronounced any way other than "Smorg" or "Smoug". I suppose a case could be made for "Smauwg", but "Smowg" just sounds bizarre.

What if I told you that there's a pretty concise appendix at the back of the Return of the King that explains the exact pronounciation for Smaug (as well as other words that use 'au', 'ou' etc. in Middle Earth). Don't quote me on it, but I believe it's intentionally that way, because Tolkein was quite keen on his linguistics and I can't see him getting that wrong...

Epic_Bubble:
I strongly suggest to anyone "DONT READ THE HOBBIT" its ok if back in your childhood that have read it and known the basic plot but if you did what I did and actually read the hobbit in a effort to psyche ones self up for the movie.... your making a big mistake.

To which I will add DON'T WATCH Rankin/Bass's 1977 TV movie. The cartoon hits the high points of the book nearly in lockstep and makes you wonder just HOW the Hobbit could be made into a trilogy

Epic_Bubble:
I strongly suggest to anyone "DONT READ THE HOBBIT" its ok if back in your childhood that have read it and known the basic plot but if you did what I did and actually read the hobbit in a effort to psyche ones self up for the movie.... your making a big mistake.

I enjoyed the movie but every time a characters motivation was changed because Peter wanted to tie the movie into LOTR just annoyed me. Certain things are completely different from the book purely in an attempt to say hey this is still a prequel to my most awesome movieness.

All the extra scenes that don't appear in the book that peter made up feel like cement in a effort to make movie number 2 the 3 hour epic its suppose to be.

To which I will add DON'T WATCH Rankin/Bass's 1977 TV movie. To some degree watching Rankin/Bass's 1977 effort has much the same problems reading the book does. The cartoon hits the high points of the book nearly in lockstep and makes you wonder just HOW the Hobbit could be made into a trilogy.

Though having us see just what Gandalf was up to that he couldn't help more then he did in the book makes him more of a character then the 'Opps I wrote myself into a corner, time to bring in the wizard who has been AWOL up to now' feel he has in the book.

In fact, Gandalf does so little in the books that Dragon magazine had an article proclaiming "Gandalf was only a Fifth Level Magic-User!" (The Dragon Magazine #5, March 1977)

Before I went to see the movie, I'd been told that a lot of people are apparently angry about that female elf from the poster. I thought "yeah, it's just typical purists being purists".

But then it turned out that Tauriel really is just a token female character. Bear in mind I'm talking from the story perspective, not from the "all those CGI antics of the character played in the few non-CGI scenes by Evangeline Lilly look awesome" perspective. She brings nothing to the story, except provide a flimsy excuse to have Legolas chase after the dwarves and have more Bloom.

Her romantic subplot starts with "love at first sight" (seriously, what reason did she have to go down into the dungeons?) and ends with "I will stay with you despite all the easily-defeated obstacles and societal taboos which apparently exist but are in no way addressed in the story". The movie even telegraphs a romantic triangle and does nothing with it.

Well, it sounds like I'm raging. But it's less "they've added a girlfriend bait, HULK SMASH!", and more "I can now understand people being upset about it". Maybe if the filmmakers went with a more creative idea than "let's have a token female character driven by a romantic subplot!"...

And seriously, when are we going to see female dwarves? Because all we got in this movie was the usual "heh heh, female dwarves look like men" joke.

Anyway, I enjoyed the film, but I'd give it something like 6/10. I actually preferred the first one, with more focus on giving the dwarves some characterization, more NZ scenery porn and less of that fucking CGI bear which looked like an overgrown bulldog.

I watched this movie yesterday, and over all, I had a pretty good time. I really liked Smaug especially. He's got a voice like Scar, the body of a rathalos and the bathing habit of Scrooge McDuck. Perfect 10/10 would date

The desolation of Smaug fixed a lot of what was wrong with the first movie. The first movie took too much focus away from the journey of Bilbo and the dwarves in a forced effort to tie the Hobbit film into the LotR movies. It would be going too far to say I hated it, but I only enjoyed it as a geek enjoying geekdom, not as a movie.
This second effort see the A story remain the strong the focus of the film and the LotR tie-in scenes actually add to the movie and the A story this time around. Overall the pacing was much better, the focus was much better, and the ending was a great cliff hanger that didn't leave you feeling like you had watched half a movie.
Desolation of Smaug changed this trilogy from one I thought I might not even finish into one that I can't to see the end.

I saw it last night and was not that impressed.
It's not the plot or that the dwarfs are just a joke, or that physics don't seen to exsist in this world.
My main problem with the thing is that it's so high res.

Now, I don't have a problem with a clear image, and 4K or whatever is good and all. But the problem comes the moment you have special effects.

When I can clearly see the lenses in the elf king eyes, and able to point out nearly every single CGI, or see the glue that keeps the fake beard on, it just breaks the whole thing for me. I just can't believe any of it when it feels like I am looking at a set and not peaking into another world.
Yes there has been bad effects before, but not as distracting as this.

Kinda miss the old physical effects now.. like the nemesis suit.

CriticKitten:
See, I never thought the first movie fit into any of the big "flaws" that people like Moviebob pointed out. I can see why people might hate it, but I attribute that less to the film being "omgbad" and more to people being petulant and whiny and always pining for action scenes, rather than being able to sit down and enjoy any semblance of world-building.

Many of us who greatly dislike The Hobbit still find the original trilogy to be wonderful. How does your theory of us being "petulant and whiny" account for that discrepancy? Besides, the action scenes that were in the film were bloody awful. The "great" battles felt completely out of place, every battle that involved the dwarves were over-encumbered with comical aspects, the stone giant sequence was obviously ridiculous and unnecessary, and they turned the Goblin King sequence into a video game boss battle. Just... ugh, cringe-worthy.

If anything there was far too much action.

Of course, what really clenched it for me as a bad film, was the obvious, repetitive music cues (and of course the music itself was nauseatingly saccharine), the banal melodramatic dialogue, the fat-shaming, generally poor character design (oh look, a funny beard!), amd worst of all it offered NOTHING the previous three films didn't do faaar better.

I do like that they added a female character, tho, for Tolkien really was a misogynistic creep.

Enjoyed it quite a bit. Didn't think it was a vast improvement on the first instalment (although that might be because I also liked that one a lot); rather it was quite different. The build-up to the LOTR is so explicitly thrown around in our faces that it can get a bit annoying, and for that reason it's much darker than the first. Highlight was the Smaug section, which was brilliantly done (beautiful, menacing, atmospheric). Found the additions to the story to be effectively integrated, in a way that didn't annoy me (expanding Legolas and Tauriel to fully-fledged characters with their own sub-plot was much better than a cameo).

MatsVS:
Many of us who greatly dislike The Hobbit still find the original trilogy to be wonderful. How does your theory of us being "petulant and whiny" account for that discrepancy?

You prove my point with your very next few statements:

Besides, the action scenes that were in the film were bloody awful. The "great" battles felt completely out of place, every battle that involved the dwarves were over-encumbered with comical aspects, the stone giant sequence was obviously ridiculous and unnecessary, and they turned the Goblin King sequence into a video game boss battle. Just... ugh, cringe-worthy.

Yes, imagine that, the light-hearted "Hobbit" book turns out to be a much more light-hearted movie than the LOTR trilogy, with its action scenes designed to function in a more comical sense to appeal to its "audience"....

Never would've guessed that!

No but seriously, The Hobbit was a children's book with a number of ridiculous and silly bits in it. It was much more of a fun, light-hearted adventure story. Anyone who walked into that theater expecting a carbon copy of the LOTR trilogy was a fool. LOTR was a huge tone shift from its predecessor, making things much darker and appealing to a more adult audience in that respect, so it's only natural that the films would do so as well. And while it's true that Tolkien was seemingly never satisfied with The Hobbit, I think he'd generally prefer if a film adaptation of that work would remain somewhat faithful to the tone he intended to set with it.

Not that it matters, since Desolation of Smaug features a few returns to the same LOTR-style action scenes with flash and flair, which in some ways could be argued is to the film's detriment rather than its benefit (as it makes the first film's more appropriately set tone look out of place, rather than this film's tone being the one that's out of place).

Of course, what really clenched it for me as a bad film, was the obvious, repetitive music cues (and of course the music itself was nauseatingly saccharine), the banal melodramatic dialogue, the fat-shaming, generally poor character design (oh look, a funny beard!), amd worst of all it offered NOTHING the previous three films didn't do faaar better.

Music cues: Also present in LOTR, in spades no less. Especially in scenes where Sauron's influence was present or the bad guys showed up to any degree. This could be argued about any movie, though, as most rely on audio cues to convey tone.

Melodramatic dialogue: Also present in LOTR, and again, it's in spades. "YOU SHALL NOT PASS!" ringing any bloody bells? Hell, half the lines in the film are delivered with some degree of melodrama to them. It's a bloody fantasy movie.

Fat-shaming: A few jokes about the shape of the dwarves is enough to put you off from a movie?

Poor character design: The Hobbit's dwarven lot were actually supposed to sort of blend together and seem similar, that was part of the joke. You're complaining about an aspect that was taken wholesale from the stories.

Offered nothing the previous movies didn't do far better: This is an opinion, and frankly, not one that seems backed in any sort of evidence. The few specifics you've picked out here are all things that were either present in the source material, present in LOTR but are just casually overlooked, or just not serious enough to label a "major" flaw in the film.

Face it, it's not a bad movie, you just don't like it and you're looking for things to pick at to validate your opinion that the movie is "objectively bad" instead of just accepting that it's just your opinion. The film honestly commits relatively few objective flaws worth poking at, and virtually none are present in the second film. It's time for some of us to just admit that we have different tastes and stop slandering a good film.

Loved this one, they rushed Beorn which was kind of lame, but the barrel fight scene was just awesome and the Bilbo/Smaug conversation was fantastic. I think they should have ended it differently (ie extended the movie 20 minutes for the final scene). But I understand that ending it like that would make people wonder why there would be a third movie (ie they don't know about the thing after smaug).

CriticKitten:
Yes, imagine that, the light-hearted "Hobbit" book turns out to be a much more light-hearted movie than the LOTR trilogy, with its action scenes designed to function in a more comical sense to appeal to its "audience"....

You're absolutely right that The Hobbit was much more light-hearted book than the ones that came after. He wrote it as a children's story, after all. But that just makes all the obvious attempts at making the film "more" like the original trilogy, while still retaining some of the whimsy of the source material, all the more jarring.

Music cues: Also present in LOTR, in spades no less. Especially in scenes where Sauron's influence was present or the bad guys showed up to any degree. This could be argued about any movie, though, as most rely on audio cues to convey tone.

Melodramatic dialogue: Also present in LOTR, and again, it's in spades. "YOU SHALL NOT PASS!" ringing any bloody bells? Hell, half the lines in the film are delivered with some degree of melodrama to them. It's a bloody fantasy movie.

Fat-shaming: A few jokes about the shape of the dwarves is enough to put you off from a movie?

Poor character design: The Hobbit's dwarven lot were actually supposed to sort of blend together and seem similar, that was part of the joke. You're complaining about an aspect that was taken wholesale from the stories.

The musical cues were far more subtle in the original trilogy, I thought. The key word was repetitive. Granted, I was younger when I first saw it, obviously, but I did rewatch it recently, and I still so. It was also much more prominent in the sound mix. The same holds true for the dialogue. Sure, there is melodrama in the original trilogy, but at least there is some semblance of gravitas there, and the stakes were higher which lends it legitimacy. Once again, the problem with The Hobbit is that it tries to be too many things at once. Somehow my tolerance for characters perfectly groomed to look handsomely scraggly while gazing meaningfully into the distance while spouting exposition in a dour voice is higher when it's Viggo Mortensen, and not a dwarf they've tried to make look like Viggo Mortensen.

You're right about the dwarves being designed to be same-y, tho. Doesn't leave much room for character arcs, does it?

In the end the film is just too crippled by familiarity and a lack of wonder (we've seen all these places before!) for it to ever rival its predecessor.

Offered nothing the previous movies didn't do far better: This is an opinion, and frankly, not one that seems backed in any sort of evidence. The few specifics you've picked out here are all things that were either present in the source material, present in LOTR but are just casually overlooked, or just not serious enough to label a "major" flaw in the film.

Face it, it's not a bad movie, you just don't like it and you're looking for things to pick at to validate your opinion that the movie is "objectively bad" instead of just accepting that it's just your opinion. The film honestly commits relatively few objective flaws worth poking at, and virtually none are present in the second film. It's time for some of us to just admit that we have different tastes and stop slandering a good film.

"Evidenced"? "Just your opinion"? "Objectively bad"? "Slandering"? Well, that's a whole lot of loaded terms designed to bring any potential conversation to a grinding halt, isn't it? Very well. Have a lovely holiday.

MatsVS:
I do like that they added a female character, tho, for Tolkien really was a misogynistic creep.

Where did you get that idea? Yes, there weren't many female figures in his work, but you mustn't forget the time it was conceived. But I'd argue that those that were there - Eowyn, Arwen, Galadriel, Luthien - were written with love. Granted they fulfill predominantly classic gender roles, but some are untypical, proactive female figures in their own right, such as, most prominently, Eowyn.

That said, I welcomed the intention of including a female character, but not the execution. In the end, Tauriel is not as much a character in her own right as she is a love interest of two male characters, to motivate their actions (like giving Legolas a reason to be in Laketown in the first place) and explain their motivations (like Legolas' dislike of dwarves in the LotR, not that it would need an explanation at all or that he wouldn't already dislike dwarves in the Hobbit before this dwarf woos his darling in the first place). If that is the writers idea of "we need a strong female character/role model for girls/strong female character for women to identify with", they failed.

Edit: All in all I disliked the Desolation of Smaug. It couldn't decide whether it wants to be serious and epic in tone as that other trilogy it foreshadowed so heavily, or be a silly lighthearted adventure, and felt inconsistent as result. The action scenes were too long, and too interchangeable on top of that, some scenes were superfluous. It was too long in the wrong places and too short in the right places, it had awful pacing, it had no real beginning, no real climax and no real end. The dialogue taken from Tolkien was largely good (such as Bilbo and Smaugs conversation), the dialogue made up was largely bland... Gandalf, for example, seems to have become much wiser between the events of the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings.

I'm a big time Lord of the Rings fan, and I wanted to like the Hobbit movies, I really did, but at the end of the I have to admit the naysayers were right after all: A short novel is simply not enough of a basis for three 3-hour-movies. And a filmmaker without any restraints, not financially and not in need of cutting the source material, is often in trouble.
I still enjoyed the movie to some extent, it's not really that bad, not Twilight-bad, but overall still pretty disappointing.

I hated it. It was well done, good effects, whatnot, but Peter Jackson seriously lost core elements of the story.

The Hobbit is not The Lord of the Rings, but unfortunately that's not stopping him from trying to make it into a Lord of the Rings type adventure movie. In this section of the book, 90% of the company's time is spent being cold, wet, and miserable, with virtually no combat going on. The movie instead is all action set pieces with ninja elves.

He also slaughtered the heck out of the Beorn section, and that's just wrong.

This isn't The Hobbit, it's a Lord of the Rings prequel; and that's not what The Hobbit was written to be.

CloudAtlas:
Where did you get that idea? Yes, there weren't many female figures in his work, but you mustn't forget the time it was conceived. But I'd argue that those that were there - Eowyn, Arwen, Galadriel, Luthien - were written with love. Granted they fulfill predominantly classic gender roles, but some are untypical, proactive female figures in their own right, such as, most prominently, Eowyn.

That said, I welcomed the intention of including a female character, but not the execution. In the end, Tauriel is not as much a character in her own right as she is a love interest of two male characters, to motivate their actions (like giving Legolas a reason to be in Laketown in the first place) and explain their motivations (like Legolas' dislike of dwarves in the LotR, not that it would need an explanation at all or that he wouldn't already dislike dwarves in the Hobbit before this dwarf woos his darling in the first place). If that is the writers idea of "we need a strong female character/role model for girls/strong female character for women to identify with", they failed.

I'm sorry for not responding with the care your comment deserves, but I have an exam tomorrow and I really should stop procrastinating, so I'll link to an article that quite utterly puts all myths of Tolkien being progressive to rest.

http://requireshate.wordpress.com/2012/01/29/the-tolkien-fanboy-fallacies-yes-tolkien-was-a-racist-sexist-bore-deal-with-it/

That's a real shame about Tauriel, tho. I haven't seen this new one yet, and now my expectations are even lower. I'll just wait for the bluray, I spose.

I guess I'll watch this at some point. I think I'll have to wait and borrow it from a friend once it's released on blu-ray, though. I pretty much hated the first movie so I'm not really interested in wasting money on movie tickets. Sigh.

wow i did not put 2 and 2 together till after i've watch this review. Sherlock and Holmes together...

Dammit.

Rattja:

When I can clearly see the lenses in the elf king eyes, and able to point out nearly every single CGI, or see the glue that keeps the fake beard on, it just breaks the whole thing for me. I just can't believe any of it when it feels like I am looking at a set and not peaking into another world.
Yes there has been bad effects before, but not as distracting as this.
.

Whoa someone else noticed that stuff too? Great! Now I can agree with you without sounding completely nit-picky.

That really bothered me as well, but what's worse is that I got a headache from watching the movie in such high res. So appeartly I'm one of those people sadly and that's honestly enough to make me not want to see the movie again, at least not on the big screen. But in general, I didn't really like this movie because it just felt too overlong. Even if they just had to give the additions to the book, I think they could have easily cut off 45 mintues of the film and be better off for it. I did pretty much enjoy every screen with Smaug and I would re-watch those parts of the movie, but nothing else.

Am I remembering incorrectly that everyone and the goblin's pet dog had some point in the book where they sang?
I really liked those scenes. Thoroughly disappointed that the movies didn't capitalise on them.

TakerFoxx:

Boba Frag:
Anyway, are we not gonna talk about Thranduil's rotting cheek in the scene where he's trying to cut a deal with Thorin?

I mean, his cheek starts rotting away and his eye turns white!!

What do people think it signifies? I have my own theories, but I'd love to hear what others think when they see the movie.

Popular theory holds that he was horribly burned while fighting fire drakes in the North (more-or-less openly stated in the film) and is wearing a glamour to disguise the damage, but during his talk with Thorin he got so angry that his control slipped for a second. I personally hold to that theory, though it is also possible that he was healed from his injuries, but used magic to show Thorin what they had looked like to drive the point home.

Oooh, I like that one!

Sort of similar to what my gf put forward when we were talking about the movie after seeing it :)

I like it, it certainly fits!

Another theory I like is that Mirkwood and Thranduil are linked to each other- as Mirkwood's being poisoned by the Necromancer, so is Thranduil being affected.

All in all, an incredible bold move to show an Elf King so horribly mutilated.

MatsVS:
I'm sorry for not responding with the care your comment deserves, but I have an exam tomorrow and I really should stop procrastinating, so I'll link to an article that quite utterly puts all myths of Tolkien being progressive to rest.

http://requireshate.wordpress.com/2012/01/29/the-tolkien-fanboy-fallacies-yes-tolkien-was-a-racist-sexist-bore-deal-with-it/

I wouldn't call Tolkien a progressive either, but that automatically makes him the opposite, i.e. sexist or racist in this context, judged by the standards of the period he lived in. And, sorry, the arguments in the blog entry you linked there are not of the quality to convince me otherwise.
However, that does not mean that Tolkien's work does not include content that is problematic, and you couldn't write stuff like that anymore today. Or rather, you shouldn't; I'm not really that much into the fantasy genre so I wouldn't know what there is to find in other, modern works.

I don't really want to delve that deep into the discussion however, since my days of being an "active" LotR fan are long gone, I'm not invested enough anymore one way or the other. And my knowledge of the source material isn't what it used to be either.

Anyway, as I said, good that they did include Tauriel, but regrettable that they demoted her character again (in the later production process) with the love triangle, and sort of doubled down on their noble intention by needlessly making her exactly what the only female character should not be. To be fair, she's not only that, she's to voice against isolationism, but I doubt that will be what she will be remembered for.

Endocrom:

Psykoma:

Zhukov:
Bob pronounces "Smaug" funny.

"Smowg."

...

Because it's, linguistically, how it's supposed to be pronounced?

So the Denny's commercials got it right and an actual movie about it got it wrong. Funny.

Well, yes.

Appendix E:
All these diphthongs were falling diphthongs, that to stressed on the first element, and composed of the simple vowels run together. Thus ai, ei, oi, ui are intended to be pronounced respectively as the vowels in English rye (not ray), grey, boy, ruin: and au (aw) as in loud, how and not as in laud, haw.

While I enjoyed the movie I preferred the first one. this one felt like it was stretching the time out a bit too much. I'm also a bit annoyed with the dragon design, first Skyrim now Hobbit they've made Smaug a flipping wyvern NOT a dragon...dragons have 6 limbs, the wings are a separate limb, compared to a wyverns 4 limbs integrating the wings and forearms...ok deep breathes...calm. Otherwise Smaug was epic.

Meh, still waiting to see it. Problem is only cinema near me is showing 2d version only once, and at really odd hour, tomorrow at 14:00..
3d, there would be plenty, but i really want to see 2d one, at least for the first-time watch.

MatsVS:
You're absolutely right that The Hobbit was much more light-hearted book than the ones that came after. He wrote it as a children's story, after all. But that just makes all the obvious attempts at making the film "more" like the original trilogy, while still retaining some of the whimsy of the source material, all the more jarring.

Which is precisely why I consider the points in this movie at which it's clearly attempting to channel that LOTR style to be perhaps the only points in the second film at which I was a tad disappointed.

The musical cues were far more subtle in the original trilogy, I thought. The key word was repetitive. Granted, I was younger when I first saw it, obviously, but I did rewatch it recently, and I still so. It was also much more prominent in the sound mix.

I find it increasingly hard to believe that you consider the blaring "DUUUUUUUUN DUUUUUUUN DUUUUN DUN-DUN-DUUUUUUN" theme of Sauron to be "more subtle" than some of the similar audio cues of The Hobbit. When it roars up, it's always loud and jarring and attention-grabbing as hell, and there's no question what's going on.

Ditto for other themes, such as the "orc theme" (which I call that because it *always* cues up when orcs are in the scene or tie into the scene). Heck, I vividly recall a point at which the "good guy theme" and the "orc theme" tap each other in and out during the big orc chase in the start of the second film, as if you needed help figuring out which party was the "good guys" and which were the "bad guys".

The audio cues in LOTR are most definitely not "subtle", at least, not moreso than The Hobbit. They're all very bold and in-your-face.

The same holds true for the dialogue. Sure, there is melodrama in the original trilogy, but at least there is some semblance of gravitas there, and the stakes were higher which lends it legitimacy.

But that's just it, they were *always* melodramatic in the original trilogy. Every plot-related line was built to chew scenery, and while it works brilliantly and fits within the situation, it's impossible for anyone to claim that it simply wasn't there. LOTR did this far, far more than The Hobbit did.

Once again, the problem with The Hobbit is that it tries to be too many things at once. Somehow my tolerance for characters perfectly groomed to look handsomely scraggly while gazing meaningfully into the distance while spouting exposition in a dour voice is higher when it's Viggo Mortensen, and not a dwarf they've tried to make look like Viggo Mortensen.

Which is sort of my point. You're being less tolerant of so-called "flaws" present in the LOTR trilogy when they also appear in The Hobbit.

You're right about the dwarves being designed to be same-y, tho. Doesn't leave much room for character arcs, does it?

Well again, considering that was Tolkien's intention, doesn't really make sense to attack the film for a flaw that was present in the book as well.

In the end the film is just too crippled by familiarity and a lack of wonder (we've seen all these places before!) for it to ever rival its predecessor.

A lot of the returns to familiar places are intentional nods to fans of the original trilogy and are meant to establish these locations and events as precursors for the upcoming events of Sauron and the Ring, so I'm not sure why it's a bad thing for them to be there, personally. It turns The Hobbit into a more thorough telling of the history of Middle Earth, which is not by any means a bad thing to do.

"Evidenced"? "Just your opinion"? "Objectively bad"? "Slandering"? Well, that's a whole lot of loaded terms designed to bring any potential conversation to a grinding halt, isn't it? Very well. Have a lovely holiday.

You say "loaded terms", I would simply say it's calling a spade for what it is: a spade.

None of the "flaws" you expressed are actual problems with the film, or are things that you admit were in the original trilogy but you tolerated just fine there because "that's different". Which leads me and other observers to the natural conclusion that you simply didn't like the film, and that, rather than just accepting that you don't like it for entirely subjective personal reasons, you are trying to rationalize it by pointing out some ill-conceived "flaws". And it's just not necessary. You just didn't like it, that's fine, so leave it at that. You hardly need to invent reasons for why you don't like it behind rose-tinted glasses. It just seems wholeheartedly unnecessary and it's tiring, to boot, because I'm amazed at how many people try to claim that The Hobbit movies (to date) are "bad films" because of these totally silly little nitpicks they created for themselves. They're NOT bad films, they're very much not. They're simply films you didn't like. And perhaps I just wish that more people understood the difference.

Story:

Rattja:

When I can clearly see the lenses in the elf king eyes, and able to point out nearly every single CGI, or see the glue that keeps the fake beard on, it just breaks the whole thing for me. I just can't believe any of it when it feels like I am looking at a set and not peaking into another world.
Yes there has been bad effects before, but not as distracting as this.
.

Whoa someone else noticed that stuff too? Great! Now I can agree with you without sounding completely nit-picky.

That really bothered me as well, but what's worse is that I got a headache from watching the movie in such high res. So appeartly I'm one of those people sadly and that's honestly enough to make me not want to see the movie again, at least not on the big screen.

Actually what you're expressing is a pretty common flaw with the new high res itself, rather than the film in question.

The leap from 24 FPS to 48 FPS means that you're seeing double the number of frames per second, which in turn means that you're seeing things much more vividly and with a greater deal of clarity. As such, props and tricks that worked well in a 24 FPS movie now look somewhat more cheesy and a bit less realistic when you see them in 48 FPS.

Expect this to continue for all future 48 FPS movies until movie-makers have learned to adjust to this quirk, or until the 48 FPS concept is dropped (if it should come to that).

Frostbyte666:
While I enjoyed the movie I preferred the first one. this one felt like it was stretching the time out a bit too much. I'm also a bit annoyed with the dragon design, first Skyrim now Hobbit they've made Smaug a flipping wyvern NOT a dragon...dragons have 6 limbs, the wings are a separate limb, compared to a wyverns 4 limbs integrating the wings and forearms...ok deep breathes...calm. Otherwise Smaug was epic.

People always complain about that, it's nonsense though. In folklore dragons come in many forms; two-legs, four-legs, no legs. It's British heraldry specifically that says wyverns have two legs and dragons have four. The traditional "English Dragon" has two legs (as a holdover from the Kingdom of Wessex whose symbol was a dragon with two legs) while a "Welsh Dragon" has four.

If you look into the various folklore traditions it becomes basically impossible to neatly separate out the modern fantasy codified standards of dragons, wyverns, basilisks, cockatrice, and hydra. For example, Eastern European dragons tend to have multiple heads like a hydra and Iberian dragons tend to have poisonous breath like a basilisk but are in all other respects exactly like what we would call a dragon.

The point is wyverns are dragons unless your fantasy setting specify differently.

hmm, seems like i'm in the minority that prefered the first hobbit movie over the second.
the whole 'gandalf goes harry potter wizard battle on your ass scene' was also completely unnecessary and felt out of place to me.

btw, if anyone reads this that hasn't seen the movie yet, i think the 3d HFR version isn't really worth it. it's just as good as the 2d version.

umbraticus:
hmm, seems like i'm in the minority that prefered the first hobbit movie over the second.
the whole 'gandalf goes harry potter wizard battle on your ass scene' was also completely unnecessary and felt out of place to me.

btw, if anyone reads this that hasn't seen the movie yet, i think the 3d HFR version isn't really worth it. it's just as good as the 2d version.

So, you mean like the Gandalf and Saruman going harry potter wizard battle on your ass scene in Fellowship of the Ring? Or Gandalf going harry potter etc etc on the Balrog?

I'd argue that wizard battles aren't out of place at all in this franchise.

Story:

Rattja:

When I can clearly see the lenses in the elf king eyes, and able to point out nearly every single CGI, or see the glue that keeps the fake beard on, it just breaks the whole thing for me. I just can't believe any of it when it feels like I am looking at a set and not peaking into another world.
Yes there has been bad effects before, but not as distracting as this.
.

Whoa someone else noticed that stuff too? Great! Now I can agree with you without sounding completely nit-picky.

That really bothered me as well, but what's worse is that I got a headache from watching the movie in such high res. So appeartly I'm one of those people sadly and that's honestly enough to make me not want to see the movie again, at least not on the big screen. But in general, I didn't really like this movie because it just felt too overlong. Even if they just had to give the additions to the book, I think they could have easily cut off 45 mintues of the film and be better off for it. I did pretty much enjoy every screen with Smaug and I would re-watch those parts of the movie, but nothing else.

I have to agree. I didn't notice the examples Rattja pointed out but the thing that bugged me the entire movie was Legolas' eyes. It was pretty obvious his eyes were CGI, and an unnatural shade of blue that looked like he was about to fire lasers every time he stared intensely at something--which is all the time.

Personally I really liked Smaug but I felt like he overstayed his welcome just a tad. PJ's love for over-the-top action scenes definitely shows in this one. I definitely would have enjoyed less forge antics, less Legolas killing CGI monsters, and more downtime for world-building. I mean, we saw Beorn and Mirkwood for just a moment before "oops gotta move on to the next action scene."

I think I would have enjoyed this movie a lot if not for the completely unnecessary Tauriel or whatever she's called arc. And Legolas. And the action scenes were too much like a cartoon. I'm not complaining about adding some humor, but this was terrible. It was all so over the top that it wasn't even funny anymore, it just became tiresome.
Smaug was great though. I wish they had shortened the whole chase scene under the mountain considerably, however.

Edit: Oh, and one more thing that really bugged me: Too much CGI. Why the hell can't the actual actors be in some sweeping landscape shot, rather than obvious CGI versions of them? It's really distracting. There was just far too much of it. Same thing for, for example, the scene where Legolas rides off to chase discount-Azog. Why couldn't it have been someone (even a double) actually galloping off on a horse rather than an obviously CG-horse?

daveNYC:

This isn't The Hobbit, it's a Lord of the Rings prequel; and that's not what The Hobbit was written to be.

Which makes sense, seeing as it is based in the movie universe Peter Jackson created for the LOTR. If he made the Hobbit as a film first, it would definitely have been different. It makes sense that the Hobbit acts much more as a prequel, than a standalone set of films for Jackson.

In the Unexpected Journey commentary, he said himself that he wanted people to be able to watch all 6 films together, so naturally he would tie them together stylistically, thematically, etc.

Yes, the films have their flaws, everything has their flaws, but if you go on with a much more relaxed attitude, rather than full of assumptions, presumptions,etc, than you'll enjoy it much more.

At the end of the day, they're just adaptations from the imagination of a Tolkein fan.

Taunta:
So, you mean like the Gandalf and Saruman going harry potter wizard battle on your ass scene in Fellowship of the Ring? Or Gandalf going harry potter etc etc on the Balrog?

I'd argue that wizard battles aren't out of place at all in this franchise.

in both those cases it's less pronounced. (i haven't read the books, only seen the movies btw) i always thought of the magic in LOTR lore as less visual and 'fireball in your face' stuff. saruman en gandalf battle is almost comical, haha! two old men swinging each other around. balrog was also more of an enchantment on the bridge or something. usually they just use the forces that are already in nature and amplify those or in some way manipulate those. letting a rock drop out of a mountain being the most eye-catching thing we could see or scaring away nazgul with his presence.
here it was all 'expecto patronum that sauron'. sauron then scorching gandalfs staff away and stuff.
i'm not saying it was bad or anything. when i was seeing the movie it just struck me a bit as out of place or too 'flashy'.

i also completely agree with you on the heavy focus of action scenes with the forge and legolasbattles :)

Primus1985:

guise709:
I really dug Luke Evans as the Bard great casting choice and Laketown looked great overall. My favorite location visually so far. Smaug was a knockout. The scene with him talking with Bilbo was the best part of the movie in my opinion.

Is this scene like the book? Its been since 10+ years since I read The Hobbit, but from what I remember wasnt Bilbo wearing the ring and invisible when he was talking to Smaug, and also alone for some reason? That and Smaug really didnt much care that Bilbo was there, he wasnt a threat.

Bilbo was wearing the ring, but it came off for reasons that can be a light spoiler so I'll leave it out. He was alone like in the book and Smaug didn't care for him one bit as well. Also Smaug delivered a few lines directly from the book. One that sticks out is: "My teeth are swords, my claws spears, and my wings a hurricane!"

I just went giddy when I heard that.

I think the real test for these movies will come years after they have been finished. If people recommend that you start the Tolkien series with The Hobbit, then it will have succeeded. If they say, skip the Hobbit and go straight to LotR, then it's probably a failure.

Also, I wonder if it's even possible to hint at things in the Hobbit movies that are paid off in LotR. I think other properties have tried but I can't think of an instance where it was very successful.

Just watched the movie, it had it's fun/awesome moments and dull moments. Overall I felt that it's...alright. Not amazing, but not bad by any means. A lot more action-heavy than the first, that's for sure.

My biggest gripe with the movie (and it was to be expected) is just how long it bloody DRAGS ON for, so many scenes during the climax feel artificially lengthened...signature Peter Jackson style. I felt like my time was being wasted.

Note: I have not read the book and am judging this movie on it's own (and it should). Saying "well that's what happens in the novel" (or doesn't happen) doesn't cut it :P

The subplots - I see the movie was trying to keep us engaged by having multiple subplots following the stories of different people/groups, but I feel they were spread a bit too thin and just too many by the end. The Laketown subplot felt especially needless when they introduced a whole slew of new characters and expect us to sympathize with them i.e. Bard and his family. All the townsfolk seem to be a bunch of robots going "yay" or "boo" at the drop of a hat, we really have zero connection to anyone from that town. Bard DOES have a black arrow in his possession though, so he could see a bigger role and more development in the 3rd movie. I'll give him a chance.

Kili, Tauriel, romance - oh christ, where do I start...both these characters and their roles were really cringe-worthy. Firstly there was the awkwardness of Tauriel (whoever plays her) can barely act. I sensed something odd when the captured orc went out of his way to carefully explain how one of the dwarves had been hit by a poisoned arrow, as if to say "that's your queue Tauriel, go!", and then get to the important part about...y'know..the big damn war coming their way.
The whole Tauriel-healing-Kili subplot felt out of place and unnecessary, coming in the way when far more important climaxes were taking place (Gandalf discovering Sauron, Bilbo/Dwarves running from Smaug, etc). I give zero shits about either character. The healing scene was just dumb.

Smaug - my initial surprise of "oh cool, the dragon can talk" quickly turned into "holy shit, this dragon won't shut the fuck up". Seriously, this is one hell of a chatty dragon who seems more keen to TALK his victims to death than burn/crush them. Bilbo's confrontation with Smaug lost most of it's tension after dragging on for way too long.
Some people are saying that the Smaug chase scenes were the highlight of the movie, but I felt it was too lengthened and noisy. Chase scenes lose their impact when they are seemingly endless, in order to keep the thrill you have to keep things punchy and meaningful.

Plus we all know nothing beats what Bombur accomplished with a single barrel :P that scene had me in stitches.

Overall at least 30 minutes could've been cut off this movie, easily.

Disthron:
I think the real test for these movies will come years after they have been finished. If people recommend that you start the Tolkien series with The Hobbit, then it will have succeeded. If they say, skip the Hobbit and go straight to LotR, then it's probably a failure.

Also, I wonder if it's even possible to hint at things in the Hobbit movies that are paid off in LotR. I think other properties have tried but I can't think of an instance where it was very successful.

I don't think I would ever recommend anyone to watch The Hobbit before LotR...not because it's bad or anything, but purely because it makes more sense to watch LotR first and THEN the prequel to fill-out the story. The bulk of the story & entertainment lies in LotR, it's far bigger in scope with a far bigger "world" if you get what I mean. It's also a series of movies that can completely stand on their own. The Hobbit is more of a side-story, full of LotR references and characters we wouldn't really feel fully-invested in if it WASN'T for LotR lol.

This is probably a terrible example, but you wouldn't recommend anyone to watch the Star Wars prequels before the originals would you :P

Yuuki:

Disthron:
I think the real test for these movies will come years after they have been finished. If people recommend that you start the Tolkien series with The Hobbit, then it will have succeeded. If they say, skip the Hobbit and go straight to LotR, then it's probably a failure.

Also, I wonder if it's even possible to hint at things in the Hobbit movies that are paid off in LotR. I think other properties have tried but I can't think of an instance where it was very successful.

I don't think I would ever recommend anyone to watch The Hobbit before LotR...not because it's bad or anything, but purely because it makes more sense to watch LotR first and THEN the prequel to fill-out the story. The bulk of the story & entertainment lies in LotR, it's far bigger in scope with a far bigger "world" if you get what I mean. It's also a series of movies that can completely stand on their own. The Hobbit is more of a side-story, full of LotR references and characters we wouldn't really feel fully-invested in if it WASN'T for LotR lol.

This is probably a terrible example, but you wouldn't recommend anyone to watch the Star Wars prequels before the originals would you :P

You are correct, I wouldn't recommend people watch the Star Wars prequels before watching the original Star Wars trilogy. But that is because they fail as prequels. However, I WOULD, and have, recommended that people watch "Spartacus: Gods of the Arena" before they watch "Blood and Sand" because that show DOSE succeed as a prequel to the Spartacus show.

LotR is the sequel to the Hobbit. If you prefer LotR to the Hobbit that's perfectly fine. Like you said, it's a much grander story. It seems that the hobbit movies are trying to set up things that will pay off in LotR, that is things that were mentioned or hinted at in LotR may now be more recognizable if you watch Hobbit first. As opposed to before when only people who read the books knew what was being talked about. Thus making the hold franchise more internally coherent. I've seen some other franchises make half harted attempts at this but Spartacus is the only one I can think of that really pulled it off.

Anyway, that's my take on it.

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