Friday, December 20, 2013

The Hobbit:Desolation of Smaug Welby's Review

The Hobbit:Desolation of Smaug Review


Beorn:  I thought it was just the right amount. I would of liked to see more foreshadowing of his decision to join the final battle, though, it may be in the third film.

Mirkwood: was great, though, alittle rushed. I was really looking forward to the spiders and the Attercop scene, but the zipped by alot just to get to Legolas zipping in.  I loved how they explained the spider's language when he put on the Ring.   They gave the Trolls so much dialogue per the book.  I was hoping they'd carry that into the spider scenes. But perhaps it may of been overly silly,..visually speaking.

Elves: Loved them as well. I wanted more interaction with Thranduil,Legolas, and Tauriel and their plight with the invading orcs.   I feel they didn't get across why or how Bilbo managed to get the keys though.
I did not agree with the whole Tauriel/Kili thing. I mean,'s a nice thing and all,..but doesn't sit well with me. This sort of thing just doesn't happen, only in extremely rare occasions.

I would of just left that out. Concern is one thing,.kindness is one thing,.but 'falling in love' at first sight is another entirely.   I would of been happy if they left 'love' out of it. Even in the case of Legolas and Tauriel.  They both were great,..there doesn't need to be a 'love' thing going on. Both equally committed to the mission.Both comfortable with each other without giving each other the cupid eyes.

I started getting alittle Neo vibe from Legolas though,...I mean,.he is freak'in a badass.  To the point of superhuman god-mode Aim-Bot hack. He could of walked that ring into Mordor himself with those skills!
I did like how Legolas was matched by Bolg though,..and they set it up for some good time revenge later on.

By far the best scene, for me, was the barrel Chase. Ironically, it was a short scene in my memory from the book.  Here, we get a gift of Peter Jackson's Lotr days, cinematically speaking.  It is what we came to love,..the high action/fantasy, the eyes glued to the screen, mouth making the 'whoa' shape with each passing second.  Embellishments are abound of course,..but used and setup in the best way to give it that ultimate sense of urgency!  Oh yeah,..and the rest of the movie was ok too. :p

Bard & Laketown:  Bard was great,..seeing laketown was great.  The mayor was a bit overly foppish,..and we got another Grima Wormtongue to boo at.  I look forward to more Bard in the third film.   One thing the movie does, just like many other films,.is that , ok, got these fights going on involving the heroes and orcs running amok , but the whole time,'s like the town went deserted!  No Guards, commoners,.no screaming. If 30+ orcs were fighting and chasing dwarves  around a small wooden floating town,..people would hear it,..there would be chaos.  I mean,.wtf,..Orcs!?!?  When was the last time that happened?

The dwarves: Other than Thorin and sorta Balin, the rest of the dwarves are backdrops the entire movie. There's Kili, whom I already was meh about. Kili and a few others split up, ala Merry and Pippin style to give Bard more grief. I did like Thorin and Balin's interplay here.
At first I was like,..why is Thorin reverting to brooding jerk again to Bilbo,..but I get that once he gets a whiff of that gold and his home,..all bets are off.

There are several plot points that I wish they made alittle more clear. The whole Arkenstone thing and it's importance. They do explain it( to someone who is familiar, they will certainly get it),..but it's sorta lost among the chaos of the pace.

And c'mon.  You travel all this way to get to the hidden door. You spend 10 minutes looking for the keyhole and when you don't find it you immediately give up and leave!?  No, stick around and try other things,.you are there already,...may as well,..jeez!

Orcs:   They introduced BOLG into the mix,...who is Azog's son in the book.  Since Azog was supposed to be killed already,..explaining Bolg's hatered to dwarves,..his motivation was kind of,.well,..whatever,..he is an orc,..they all hate everything,..whatevs.  I'm still sorta torn between using CGI's for the orc leads though.

Gandalf and Radagast: Gandalf is his usual self.,.though,.he is sort of an information hog. Jeez,..just explain what you are concerned about to the others...don't be a jerk.  I was never into Radagast so I didn't mind him not having really any part in this film. When Gandalf entered Dul Guldor, all I could think of was,.pfft, way I'd go in there alone. But he does some bad assery here and get's to show off some Dark City/Voldemort fighting.
Umm:  So another 'information Hog' moment,  Gandalf and Radagast discover that the tombs of the Nine are broken 'out' of.  He knows they are out and about !  But in Fellowship it's like omg,..they released the Nine,..let's get ready! He waited a really long time, yo.

One thing that kinda nudged me was that this film version seems to have alot more 'magically' things,..moreso than Lotr.  I've always like the 'realistic' more grounded take on events with just a hint or minimal 'fairy'magic.   I never really noticed it until Dol Guldor with it's concealment spells and tinkerbell wipes.
Hobbit: oh yeah,..there is a Hobbit in this movie too. Awesome job, with what he had.  I like that we are starting to see the Ring having more and more influence. I really wish we had more to do with him though. Pippen had more screentime and story than Bilbo, c'mon.

Smaug: Lovely to see and hear. I really got that old cartoon version vibe and all it's splendor. But to be honest, felt alittle,.been there done that. I blame all these past dragon films,..and Pacific rim Cloverfield Big monster movies for taking that away.  I was much more engaged by the barrel scene, sad to say.    Smaug just didn't captivate me as a character like Golem does,..or heck,..even Audry II  ,..heh..

Cumberbach is good,.but his voice was so distorted,..I sorta missed the verbal exchanges that made the book memorable.   The whole 'titles' part and how Smaug originally catches on that Lake town was involved because Bilbo mentioned 'Barrel-Rider',...was kind of lost among the whole overlong Epic Dwarf vs.Dragon in the Forges part.

Speaking of which,..The sets and dwarven designs are top notch,..and make this dwarf a giddy gobby.   Which is why I enjoyed this movie so much. I just like 'being there'.  So, a movie I enjoyed the heck out of it, I wanna see more.  But the Tolkien nerd in me also has alot to say on another level,...
Do I think they could of fit everything needed in two movies?  Hell yeah,..One?  Meh,...  I eat this stuff up, I admit,..I have no gripes about making it three films,..

Alot of my bigger gripes were very similar to my original Hobbit review.  I just think they crammed too much Lotr foreshadowing in. I like it's presence,..but thought they could of really held off on the 'connections' until the third film.  Was this better than the first? I'd say so. But it is also building on the first, and wouldn't be fair to not give the first one it's credit.

  I like Tauriel,..I liked Legolas in there too,...I like alot of PJ's embellishments and liberties, I really do.

But I just felt he wasn't fleshing out The Hobbit,...but instead,..fleshing out Lord of the Rings.



Monday, December 17, 2012

My Hobbit Review:

Ok,..this is only my first viewing and I did not see it at High Frame rate, nor 3D. Those are just bells and whistles, imho, and wouldn't impact my feelings on the story so I will not talk about that.

I did not like alot of the scenes used to tie into the LotR trilogy and thought that most of it should of been held until the second film.  I think it made Bilbo's journey feel much more trivial compared to Sauron's return, and split my attention needlessly.

I liked all the scenes inside Bilbo's home. I thought we coulda used more Shire stuff, even though I know Jackson covered alot of that in the first film.

Radagast could have been left out entirely, or at least,..shortened his on screen time. Aside from his first introduction  I didn't need the whole sled chasing scene.

The Troll scene worked well up until the end. It may of well been in the book, but I felt Gandalf saves people just a tad too much and too convenient.  I would of rather Bilbo do as he talked about in Fellowship, when telling his story to the Children. That is, them up and confuse them long enough to distract them, maybe lead them to a spot where Gandalf lay in wait to push( not split) a boulder down revealing the sunlight.

I loved the flashback history footage. The sacking of Erebor and Dale. I liked how he set up that tension between Thorin and Thranduil which plays into the Mirkwood and Battle of the Five Armies.

I especially liked the Azog( the pale Orc) stuff, which is all in the books, but really,.I am a bit torn on whether they needed him to be alive and chasing Thorin around.  I understand why they did it,..but I feel Thorin's own pride and inner demons are enough that we don't need a 'physical' demon.
 They could of had the Goblin King, who died in almost as lame a way as Darth Maul, be the one who chases them up the trees and has a standoff.

Speaking of which, GoblinTown was a spectacle to be sure. It was a bit over the top when the dwarves were sliding miles down a stone tube, as well as falling 300 feet on a scaffolding at the end.  I wished they made more of a deal about what that place was and who was the Goblin King.

 I digress here for a moment and bring up a pet peeve I have with this sort of thing.  Example: in the original Star wars, we all knew the Millennium Falcon,..we knew the ships, they had purpose and names. Cut to Phantom Menace and I can't name one ship. It was just a gaggle, as if someone's concept book spilled into the render machine.  

Rivendel was almost grueling to me. It seemed forced and, as mentioned,..all this posturing about Sauron's return got a bit heavy handed. Again..I wanted this first film to be about Bilbo's journey from his perspective.
I liked Bilbo's character. I'm glad he is not just another Frodo. This Bilbo is much more proactive. He Wants to be on an Adventure. He has that curiosity   And yes, there are alot of Dwarves, and it is tough to give each their own screentime, but I think his focus on Thorin and a few other's was done well. Perhaps in the later films we will explore the others more.

I know the eagles save them in the book, but I can't help but roll my eyes and feel the need to defend their actions to friends who, especially from the Lotr, constantly ask why do they help them and why they don't just fly them to their destination.

They touch on some nice relatable emotions but either get sidetracked to foreshadow Sauron or some overblown action scene.  Emotions such as Bilbo's realization to get out of his shell and see the world, the plight of the homeless dwarves, and Bilbo's acceptance and respect earned from the Dwarves. I feel if they dialed these traits up just slightly more it would of given the film more resonance.

All in all, I liked the film, and will definitely see it again. I did not mind one bit that it was almost 3 hours long, I just wished they organized those 3 hours better.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Getting warmed up,..

I call this experimental piece,"Warden at Ferney's"
I've been making machinimas based on the "Lord of the Rings ONline" for some time now and was just thinking about where to take it next.
I think it's high time to go back to my roots and put some pencil to paper! I will attempt a short anime-inspired piece using in-game background with hand-drawn animation over top.
I do have another machinima to finish before I can start this onen in earnest, but all the while I will be working on character designs and rough boards. Maybe this will push me over the edge and actually buy a Wacom! : p
sighing out!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Dungeons & Dragons Tactics,..PsP

Picked this one up used at a GameStop. I was digg'in the straticRPG vibe of Jeanne D'Arc.
So far so good. I used to play the real D&D a looong time ago so the rules are not too unfamiliar, though if you haven't, you may be in for a steep learning curve!
I have only just begun and already a gripe would be that it is too linear, though that may change as I get into the story. I generally like being able to 'free play' to level up my characters at my leisure before plowing ahead into the next content/chapter.

For a cheesly little screen they manage to do a good job with the lighting, which plays a part in being able to see and hit things. Gives you more a sense of exploration and danger around dark corners instead of 'seeing' everything laid out before you at the get go.

It's a bit harsh at the early levels but nothing to make you toss your Psp across the room.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Class of Heroes

If you are a glutton for punishment and wanna get that ol'school rpg feeling, then pick up "Class of Heroes", by Atlus for the PSP.
The very simple, crisp graphics are contrasted by some pretty intense number crunching detail and stat watching.
I booted up, made a party, and foolishly skipped by tutorials or "Classes" to go hit the dungeon. Big mistake. I got annihilated. An when that happens, they mean busineses. You have to make a whole new party if you want to go back down and 'get' them! Or go back to a previously saved state or pay up for a rescue.

There is also an important crafting aspect called Alchemy( yeah,..we all know that word). I have yet to really get into the game as I am busy with Jeanne D'Arc at the moment...but it is inthe queue!

Jeanne D'Arc for the PsP

Jeanne d'arc is a great little game for the PsP. It is a strategic RPG, in the vein of FinalFantasy Tactics, meaning it is turn-based and also grid based like a chessboard. Not entirely new, I remember this sort of thing back on nintendo 8-bit, 'Shingen the Ruler'.
The gameplay is fun and addicting and the cut scenes are slick anime. Again, I am a sucker for medieval anime.
I am finding I have less and less time to play games these days so the PsP is a great alternative. Being able to jump in for a few quick battles to get my fix while commuting is great.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Lord of the Rings Online videos,...

Assault of Fornost

Latest machinima: This one covers the events of an RP event hosted by Harperella.
Three acts: Burning of TresltleBridge/Scouting of Fornost, The Council of Esteldin, and the Assault of Fornost.

All music was from the Official 'Mines of Moria' Soundtrack.

Other sound FX were from mostly

All Dialogue was from various movies. 10 points if u guess them all : p

Programs used: PFTrack, Maya, AfterEffects, Photoshop.

Most Visual content property of Turbine,inc., except the mouths, those are mine : p