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

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One thing I have to say is I really enjoyed Thorin's growing obsession with the Arkenstone, the treatment was a strong reference to the Silmarils which it drew very strongly from it. I'd definitely say it subtlety pushes the "arkenstone is a silmaril" theory, something I find interesting from a Tolkien geek standpoint.

So far I'm definitely enjoying The Hobbit movies. Can't wait for the final one!

And is it just me, or does the movie seem a lot more... fluid then the last one? Or hell, any movie before it? It's hard to describe, but it feels like the cinematography feels so much more life like and the way the characters move makes me feel like I'm right there with them.

Maybe it's an effect from the 3D?

EyeReaper:
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

That's funny, I sorta thought the same thing.

Been playing a lot of MH3U lately.

Wow, did we watch the same film? I though DoS was terrible, far worse than the first film. It started off well, with some fun, charming elements like the bees, but once they left Beorn's house it started to go down...I would say really fast, but it was a long, drawn-out, tedious pace.
Most of mirkwood was awful, draining the soul and cheer that were Tolkiens elves, even in the midst of the creeping darkness, replacing it with depressing, moping, blonde-haired emos. The barrel-ride, which should have been a fun escape, was a slow-dragged, out, ridiculous cgi-fest with no purpose that I can make out, except for filling time and fluffing the entirely unnecessary time wasting romance between Made-Up Female Plot Device A and Killi cos...reasons.
Superhero legolas comes to the rescue, of course, fighting orcs that had absolutely no reason to be there served no purpose at all than filling time and continue to drag out the film needlesdsley right through to lake town, where they continued doing exactly the same thing, for still no apparent reason. It doesn't forward the quest in any way, isn't part of the books, doesn't create a backstory for anything at all important to the overall story, serving only, as far as I can tell, to fill time. Padding for some witless, cheesy love-triangle that isn't needed and does nothing to further the plot.

Padding out Bard a bit I could kind of understand, even though it's entirely unnecessary, but inventing and dragging out through attrocious dialogue, his family and local politics, was just massively overdone. I really disliked all of the Lake town scenes, which is a shame because Stephen Fry. Superhero elves and plate-throwing, screeching children, just is not my idea of fun. Not to mention that most of the set and costumes looked more like something out of Discworld, breaking the immersion of the film's own style and parodying, rather than utilising, the jollity of the book. Forcing Bard into a lone hero/robin hood type character, just felt so forced and required even more, terribly written, exposition. More time is filled here with people trying to sling him in prison cos more reasons.

Then we get to the Lonely Mountain and Smaug. Bilbo's encnounter with the dragon started out better than the previous scenes, probably because they were back to using actual source material rather than turning one or two lines into thirty minute scenes or just out-right making shit up, but quite why jackson felt the need to rip off Alien 3, lifting almost scene for scene the entire last 20 minutes of the film, and sticking into the Hobbit, I really don't know.
Seriously, luring the beast into the forge, by splitting into groups, and luring it down specific paths, using one of the cast as bait, dropping molten metal on the creature, still of the lake of liquid metal settling, beast leaps out of the forge hissing, burning and steaming..it's all there. The only thing missing scene was bilbo leaping in to kill the thing bursting out his chest.
All this so that an angry Smaug flies off to Lake Town, which he did in the book anyway, as a result of working out from Bilbo's riddles, that the quest had help from the people there. The entire thing could have been cut, the film would have lost nothing and infact, would have been better off for it since the end result of the entire fight was no different than if it had not occurred. It was nothing more than relly bad filler material, stolen entirely from another film, for no reason. What was Jackson thinking? "Well we've used some book lines, made some references to my films, and invented who hosts of stuff, what's left? Oh, how about we just copy stuff from a different film? I know Alien 3, that's kinda like a children's fantasy book, right?"
The fact that it was entirely done in really terrible CGI, I can only assume was further "homage" to Alien 3. I just don't see why any of it was necessary? Did they need to paint Smaug s some kind of uber-badass? No! He's a fucking dragon, just having him fly off to burn Lake Town to teach them a lesson is enough. A huge dragon flying off to burn people because they might have helped some guy steal his stuff, says on it's own, this dragon is one uber-badass.

As the credits rolled, I was just relieved. Even my partner, who kind of liked it, said that it was too long and dragged out. To me, if you think a film was too long, that's not a good film. It's a poor film, with some fun bits, occasionally. It felt longer than the first film, felt longer than any of the installments of LoTR yet as far as I can tell, it was actually shorter by about 20 minutes.
I really don't recognise anything of the film I saw, in this review. Maybe I just have rose-tinted glasses for the first film, but I though its pace made much more sense. The additional material made sense in context of the previous films and the book and it felt like the beginning of an journey.
This second film, lost any sense of journey, all sense of wonder and any real direction, once the party left Beorn's house. It was just a string of endless action sequences, none of which had any real purpose and were entirely made up by Jackson, while the scenery and journey were almost completely forgotten about. Little more than blurrs in the background, as fight lead to fight, lead to chase, lead to fight. We saw almost nothing of Mirkwood, barely anything of the Elven-king's halls and the less said about Erebor, the better. The journey between these places was lost entirely. Any time that wasn't spent fighting/chasing, was dark, dreary, dull and pointless.

I really did not like this film.

CloudAtlas:

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.

Exactly this, you just summed up what I was thinking. I couldn't quite put my finger on WHY the Tauriel bits were quite so irritating but this is exactly it.

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