The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Review –
If you didn’t read the book, or you don’t care about discrepancies between the two, then you’re in luck! The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug was yet another masterpiece by an unparalleled cast and production team. I highly recommend taking the time to see it in theaters. I saw it in IMAX 3D, and it was worth every penny (quite a few pennies). I’m a huge sucker for fantasy epics, and for me the LotR/The Hobbit is the definition of “epic.
If you DID read the book and you DO care about discrepancies, I regret to report some disappointment in the second hobbit film.
What I liked:
I love the humor. The book was humorous, and I love that I can watch a fantasy war epic, and laugh about some Dwarvish mischief along the way (Pass another pint, laddey!). Bilbo and the company of Dwarves made me laugh in the book, and I enjoyed the few laughs I got out of the movie.
“As a director, Jackson has always excelled at creating the sort of sweeping vistas you want as your desktop background, the evocative landscapes your imagination wants to journey inside. This film is no exception.”
– WIRED Magazine
I love the costumes and weapons. Oh man do I love the armor in these movies! I don’t even know how to express my obsession, but I’ll just say that if I can ever get my hands on some Dwarven armor replicas or props, you might find me wearing them around all the time, and growing out a real dwarf beard to go along with it.
I’m also just simply glad that we get 7-9 extra hours of Middle Earth magic (they could have just made one film, but it would have been rushed). In spite of my complaints, the nerd inside me can’t deny that I’m going to watch and rewatch these three movies just liked I did the LotR trilogy, and I will like it. In time, I’ll ignore the discrepancies, and enjoy the badassery for what it is.
Gandalf is one legendary wizard. That’s pretty much all that needs to be said here.
Oh, and Smaug exceeded my expectations. I wasn’t impressed with what I saw in the first movie, and what I saw in the trailers, but wow. Draconic perfection.
“I see you Watson!”
Now, where I take Issue…
The Hobbit was a children’s book! I remember reading it as a kid, and imagining an even grander and more fantastic middle earth than the ones we see in the movies. I expected a light, fun, magical and adventurous story from these films, but I really feel like we’re just watching a prequel to the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Yes, of course The Hobbit is set before the LotR, and many major characters are in both stories, but The Hobbit always seemed like its own fantasy adventure, where dwarves, men, and elves fight goblins and dragons for the excitement of hoards of treasure and reclaiming a long lost kingdom. This movie focuses too much on vanquishing the greater forces of darkness, and not enough on JRRT’s The Hobbit.
“That arrow’s on the wrong side of the bow, She-Elf!”
The love story was unnecessary. The dwarves’ love of gold, and everyone’s hatred and mistrust of the dwarves is the love/hate story in the hobbit. I’m a huge Evangeline Lilly fan, but her character serves little purpose in the film (Though I do support a leading female character rescuing us from a sausage fest). Tauriel was totally badass and beautiful, and I liked her in the film up until Lake Town. We’ve already seen Gimli crush on Galadriel, and Frodo cry while Arwen sings a pretty song and says some magic words to heal his booboo. Why did we need to see those two love stories mashed into one, right in the middle of more important things happening… I would rather she was a strong, independent heroine instead of a minor character’s love interest (not even going to talk about the love triangle). You get the point.
“RAAAAWR, I’M SO ANGRY BRO.”
The second film gives way too much time to the orc sidestory, in what I assume is an effort to lead into the orcs of the Lord of the Rings. Give us more goblins and trolls! Azog the defiler… how many ugly orc captains of the dark lord must we see slaughtered before there aren’t any orcs left (you know he’s gonna die in part 3… I guess orcs dying is the whole point here)? His character serves the purpose of adding some more fight scenes, and giving us a villainous viewpoint character to follow. I admit, it’s interesting, but I think he has been given a bit too much attention. He’s mean, he’s ugly, he’s angry about it – we get it. (Note: Azog is a real Tolkien character, but he was beheaded by a dwarf before the events of The Hobbit – READ MORE)
Where was the singing? As I recall, we got at least two good songs in the first film, and nothing in the second? Boo! Sing, dangit! Give me nerdchills! I’ve listened to The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey soundtrack a hundred times, and I LOVE it. I felt like the second film was missing a bit of that magic.
“The King beneath the mountains,
The King of carven stone,
The Lord of silver fountains
Shall come into his own!
His crown shall be upholden,
His harp shall be restrung,
His halls shall echo golden
To songs of yore re-sung.
The woods shall wave on mountains
And grass beneath the sun;
His wealth shall flow in fountains
And the rivers golden run.
The streams shall run in gladness,
The lakes shall shine and burn,
All sorrow fail and sadness
At the Mountain-King return!”
Okay, I’ve beaten the movie up enough, but those were my BIGGEST complaints, not including a thousand other discrepancies between the book and film(s).
I honestly just expected more (or something different) from Peter Jackson. The first movie was fantastic, but I think we have a case of middle movie syndrome here. I felt the same way about the two towers, and that’s not to say I don’t think that both movies aren’t incredible films, I just found them a little drawn out (perhaps unavoidable).
In the case of the desolation of Smaug, I’m afraid the side stories that were started in the first movie completely dominated the film, and most of the rest was filled with events concocted by PJ, and not written by JRRT (at least not in The Hobbit). I have faith that Jackson will redeem himself in the third movie the same way The Return of the King blew the Two Towers away.
Tell me what you thought of the film!