Sunday, December 15, 2013

My thoughts on "The Hobbit: the Desolation of Smaug"


The film was decidedly darker than the first. There are very few warm moments. The fact that the story takes place in winter or in gray cavernous places added to the mood.

For being 161 minutes long, the movie sure condensed most of the events of the book. The parts based on the book were greatly abridged and the extended story lines filled the movie. 

The biggest disappointment was the fact that the film really didn't give much time to the events that actually took place in the book. Mirkwood, the spiders, the journey to The Lonely Mountain, and Bilbo's encounters with the dragon where very condensed and abridged. I was looking forward to seeing the Elves' woodland feasts and watching the spider scene unfold in a nice, methodical moment by moment approach, watching Bilbo gather his courage and use his wits to free the dwarves. In the film he just falls right into the middle of it.

In the book, this is where Bilbo draws first blood. In the first movie, he has already done that by slaying a warg and fighting goblins and orcs. Now, I really liked the part where he tackled the orc and saved Thorin. It was a wonderful act of heroism. But, since Bilbo had already done this, the need for him to be the hero and rescue the dwarves is not as high.  All the same, I wish this part had been closer to the book.

However, just because the movie didn't follow the book doesn't mean I didn't like it. There were parts I loved, and parts I did not.

The introduction of Smaug was well done.

Tauriel is not a part of the original Middle Earth, by J. R. R. Tolkien. However, she is a wonderful character in the movie! The warmest person in the film, a fantastic fighter, and a lover of stars, she is poetry in motion.

 My favorite part was the escape from the elves and the barrel-riding scene, a fact which really surprised me. It was different from the book and over the top, but I enjoyed seeing Legolas, Tauriel, and the dwarves all fighting orcs. When Bombour and his barrel took out a number of orcs, it was hilarious though unrealistic. Thorin saved Legolas by killing the orc that was about to strike him. This sequence was filled with many astounding feats that required precision, and hearkened back to the dish washing scene in An Unexpected Journey, (a scene I also loved). The location was beautiful too: green sunlit tree-clad banks, and a twisting, rushing river. Sunlight and spray create joy and excitement.
Tauriel and Legolas

The moments where the ring is affecting Bilbo, I did not like. Of course, I don't like them in the book either, and you're not supposed too, that is kind of  the point!  But, in The Hobbit (book), there are very few signs of the ring's evil power, Bilbo had to have it for a long time before it's effects began to show. They are made clear in The Lord of the Rings

Another disappointment was Kili's crude innuendo. I don't have a problem with Kili being attracted to Tauriel, just that one remark. From what I gathered, it is unclear whether Tauriel returns Kili's affections although she clearly does care about his safety. Nice, keep us guessing!

Problem: Kili is shot with a Morgul arrow. Now, a friend pointed out to me that it is unlikely the orcs would have a Morgul weapon, even though they are in the service of Sauron.  The fact that kingsfoil was needed and that the characters knew this was needed, detracts from Aragorn's skill as a healer, which is a part of his kingly heritage.  It would have been better for Kili to be shot with a poisoned arrow and then for Tauriel to use her Elvish healing knowledge and a different herb to heal him. It was too much of a repeat of The Lord of the Rings, and there are a enough similar things that happen already (giant spiders and eagles, for example).

And the ending... ah well, it's a middle film, what can you say? That actually doesn't bother me.

All in all, it's not a movie I plan on owning.

The photos are from The Hobbit Offical Site, downloads section.

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