The Hobbit:Desolation of Smaug Review
WARNING: HUGE SPOILERS AHEAD
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,..it'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,..you got these fights going on involving the heroes and orcs running amok , but the whole time,..it's like the town went deserted! No Guards,..no 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,...you 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,...no 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,..it 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,..as 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.