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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

17 Thoughts And Reactions To The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug

The second installment of the epic The Hobbit trilogy is, well, epic.  I went to see it just the other day, and overall, I really liked it.  I have a few issues, but then again, I'll always have a few nitpicks about any movie (or book), no matter how much I like it.  Here is what I thought:  
  1. I love all the Middle Earth settings.  Everything always looks so awesome and real, and I want to go on one of those Middle Earth tours of New Zealand.  Or on an actual tour of Middle Earth.
  2. Alternate titles: The Hobbit: Peter Jackson Trolls Everyone, The Hobbit: Look, We Have A Fighting Archer Woman Too, The Hobbit: Which Dwarf Is That Again?, The Hobbit: Like LOTR But Not Really, The Hobbit: Just Look At Our Immense Budget, Everyone, The Hobbit: Smauglock, Majestic Thorin, And Party Thranduil (And Some Other Stuff) and The Hobbit: If It Can Go Wrong, It Will (as my mom pointed out).
  3. Like its predecessors, this movie has fabulous music.  Many themes are familiar (yay for The Shire Theme), but there's also some new music with it.  For some movies, the music is nothing more than background, and doesn't catch your attention.  In this movie, it's as much a part of the action as everything else.  You can listen to the soundtrack for An Unexpected Journey right here.
  4. The thought that crossed my mind more often than any other while watching this was, "When did THAT happen in the book?".  I read The Hobbit back in middle school, and I don't claim to remember every detail, but where did that Pale Orc come from?  Or Tauriel?  Also, the movies have a much darker tone than the book.  I'm not against this, since The Hobbit is meant for a younger audience than the movies, and the book's mood just wouldn't translate well to screen. 
  5. Once all of these movies are out, there will be a Star Wars-esque debate on what order to watch the movies, since The Hobbit movies hint at and reference elements that come into play in LOTR.  Does a new watcher watch The Hobbit trilogy and then LOTR?  Or do they go with what seems to be the generally accepted Star Wars viewing order and watch them in order of release?  Hm...I'm glad they're not ignoring the LOTR trilogy, but...
  6. Legolas?  Oh, hi.  What are you doing here?  "We just wanted to appease the fangirls," cries Peter Jackson in the distance.  Though I'm a fan of Legolas in LOTR, I'm not sure what to think of him in The Hobbit.  Sure, he's not in the book, but we have to remember that if you're turning a 300-page book into three separate three-hour movies, you're going to have to add something.  Still, Legolas' role in this movie seemed almost pointless.  If you removed him completely from the story, not much would change.  I feel like he's there more as a living, walking LOTR reference than anything else.  He fires off some arrows, casts significant glances at various characters, stares at the horizon, makes a few ominous yet obvious observations.  In LOTR, at least, he does more than that.  
  7. Where is my Dwarves In Barrels water ride?  That was all I could think of during that scene.  This would make an epic theme park ride.  Disney World, I fully expect you to get working on this. 
  8. Why did there have to be a love triangle?  Just...why?  For me, this is the biggest annoyance of the entire movie.  Love triangles are, in 99.9% of cases, something I can do without (the notable exception being Alison Goodman's Eona: The Last Dragoneye).  This one was unnecessary, especially since two of the three characters involved (the three are Legolas, Tauriel, and Kili) aren't in the book anyway.  For the record, though, I ship Tauriel with Kili more than I ship her with Legolas. 
  9. While we're talking about Tauriel, let's, well, talk about Tauriel.  I understand the need to add a female character in a highly masculine movie, but for me, the jury's still out on whether she did any good other than being the only prominent female.  I liked her, but I'm still a bit skeptical.  We'll have to see how she develops in There And Back Again.
  10. If you're not aware that Party Thranduil exists and is a thing, you're missing out.  It sprouted from the scene in An Unexpected Journey in which Thranduil (father of Legolas and king of the elves) brings his whole army to the dwarves in order to tell them "Nope.", all while majestically(?) riding an elk.  From there, he's basically become the diva of Middle Earth. It's a bizarre yet hilarious trend.  Notable examples: this, this, this, or this (whoever put the "not my division" quote onto this GIF is brilliant). He also doubles as Middle Earth's Most Embarrassing Dad.  Sometimes, he can be found hanging out with Party Loki
  11. Thorin is majestic.  As always.  Along with Party Thranduil, another meme that came of An Unexpected Journey was Majestic Thorin, and it's true.  He has to due everything intensely, or he won't do it at all.  The Desolation Of Smaug saw some character development for Thorin, mostly in a darker direction.  Like Tauriel, it'll be interesting to see where the next movie takes him, in terms of character arc.
  12. CinemaSins is going to have a field day with this.  This does not in any way mean it's a bad movie.  That being said, this movie will give them a ton of material to work with.  If I'm sitting there, mentally pointing out things that would be counted as a "sin", you can bet they'll find that and more.
  13. Bilbo.  While Thorin gets darker, Bilbo just gets braver and frankly, more awesome.  At the beginning of the previous movie, Bilbo could barely ride a pony without being freaked out, but now we see him entire a dragon's lair, for goodness' sake.  That is called development.  Also, are we not going to talk about his scene with Smaug...Martin Freeman and Benedict you see where I'm going with this?  You just can't separate John and Sherlock, apparently.  Smauglock, everyone.  Also, this.  
  14. Benedict Cumberbatch's voice, or as someone once wrote, a voice "like a jaguar hiding in a cello" .  It was a dragon's voice, yes, but you could still hear him, enough that many of us probably expected him to say "BORED".  (Oh come on, I can't be alone in this.)
  15. Smaug in general.  I like dragons, so I was likely to think this anyway, but Smaug was awesome.  The CGI looked about as real as a CGI dragon ever can.  He was big and fearsome, as a dragon should be.  Viserys Targaryen is jealous of the way he can be coated in molten gold and still survive. 
  16. Cliffhanger alert.  Suddenly, Ed Sheeran.  After half a dozen scenes that make you think "Okay, the movie will end now--just kidding, nope", it ends rather abruptly.  I'm not surprised by this, and I like it.  You can't just leave people at a convenient spot--you have to make them get agitated enough to desperately want the final movie.
  17. After reading through all of this, I realize that I have few "big picture" comments on the overall structure, etc., of the movie.  I take this to mean that it's solid plot-wise; if it had been too slow (or too fast, or anything like that), I would've taken note of it.  
This is not really a thought or reaction, but my brother found this while searching for showtimes, from this website:
What on earth is "intense family action" supposed to mean?  Did you mean...intense fantasy action?  Or is it supposed to be "intense family action"?  All I can think of is Thorin yelling at Fili and Kili for getting in the way of his majesty.  Is "intense family action" that scene in Thor where Odin just yells "HARRGH!" during a family argument?

Overall, The Desolation Of Smaug didn't blow me away, but I very much enjoyed it.  It's a solid sequel, and many people seem to think it's better than the first movie.  I'm not sure about that, but I'm also eager to see the final movie.  We already know it's going to hurt.

Have you seen The Desolation Of Smaug?  What did you think?  Also, is there anyone out there whose favorite dwarf isn't Kili?
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  1. The only reason I can think of for splitting that little book into three films was for the money. It would have been better to keep it as one and no add the love triangle and things...I enjoyed it, but I think adding all these extra scene is a bit much ^^;

  2. While I did think some scenes were unnecessary (like the love triangle), I stayed through the movie for Smaug. I love dragons and dinosaurs, and I grew to love the design of Smaug even if he was technically a fire-breathing wyvern. I don't know why studios can't animate the extra two legs, but I guess whatever looks more serpentine is more scary. I was also initially disappointed in where the movie left off, but this is mostly due to the fact I thought I saw a scene in the trailer where Smaug flew over a burning Laketown; when I saw it again, I figured that it was the best place for the movie to stop where it was. Does this mean, though, that they are going to make Smaug's "visit" to Laketown a much larger and longer ordeal than it was in the book?

    1. My assumption is that, if there's any sort of dramatic, violent scene (Smaug's visit to Laketown would fit this category), they're going to draw it out as long as they possibly can. If you're trying to make a 200ish-page book written for children into 3 almost 3-hour movies with PG-13 ratings, you have to take every opportunity like that and run with it.

    2. Okay. (Thinking out loud here) I just wonder what would happen if Peter Jackson decided not to kill off Smaug (even though he probably wouldn't) in order to extend the movie.

  3. I really loved this film. I know that not all of the Tolkien fans are happy with these Hobbit films and I can understand why. I have a few issues with them myself. But I'm just loving them :)

    - There hasn't been a single Middle-earth set that I haven't loved but Laketown is my absolute favourite. It's pretty dilapidated but it's just so beautiful looking at the same time.

    - I ADORE your Disney theme park barrel ride idea! :D

    - I loved Tauriel's character. She was actually one of my favourite things about the film. I even loved her potential romance with Kili. My head tells me that a Dwarf-Elf romance is ridiculous but their scene together in the prison is just so goshdarn cute and adorable that I was completely won over by it. Curse my sentimental romantic ways! :D

    - I freakin' loooved Thranduil in this film! He doesn't get a huge amount of screentime but he was definitely one of my favourite things about the film. I find the character absolutely fascinating and badass and it's so cool that we're getting to see a very obviously flawed Elf. And I loved Lee Pace in the role so very much. I especially loved his scene with Thorin and the scene with Legolas after he chops that Orc's head off. Legolas is like "OMG Dad! What did you do that for?" and Thranduil is just like "Because I wanted to. Move on" :D

    - Richard Armitage's acting as Thorin keeps getting better and better. I can't wait to his Thorin completely lose it in the next film and then redeem himself. It should be absolutely brilliant to watch.

    - What Sherlock fan *didn't* love the Smauglock in this film?

    - I take "intense family action" to mean "intense family-friendly action" but yeah, that's a really weird way of putting it :S

    - I really enjoyed your post and, yeah, my favourite Dwarf is Kili. My second favourite is probably Balin. Or possibly Bofur.

    1. I agree with you about Thranduil. I loved his interaction with Legolas (and apparently Orlando Bloom's interactions with Lee Pace were pretty entertaining). Thranduil somehow manages to nearly boil over with sass while doing few things that are "traditionally" considered sassy. Okay, that sentence made little sense, but you probably get the idea.

      "Family-friendly action" makes slightly more sense, but it's still a PG-13 movie, and I wouldn't take young children to go see it. Still, maybe they meant something along those lines.

      Also, thanks for the comment! I appreciate it.


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