Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.

Warning: as usual, there will be spoilers.

Let me just say, right here at the beginning, that I did really enjoy this movie. No matter how critical I might sound in the next few paragraphs. :)

You guys know that I am a huge fan of good book-to-film adaptations. I automatically like a movie so much more if they did a good job of being accurate to the book. I reread The Hobbit back in December of 2012, just before the first film came out. So I went into this sequel remembering the basics of the book, but not feeling too nitpicky. Even so, it seems like half of the stuff in the film was not in the book. I didn't mind the additions in the first film, but here they seem over-the-top.

This is my biggest problem (and quite possibly, when it comes down to it, my only problem) with the Hobbit films...they don't have the cheerful, whimsical, lighter feel that the book has. Of course there are darker moments in the book, and there is the big battle at the end. But overall, it's a lot lighter and simpler than the Lord of the Rings trilogy. It always seemed to me like Peter Jackson was really respectful to the source material with the LOTR, so what happened with the Hobbit? Is the source material not good enough, in their opinions? (Obviously, the book wasn't long enough to make three films, but three films was completely unnecessary.)

Why must everything be turned into some kind of violent action scene? I'm just a little disappointed with Peter Jackson's direction in this. (I know he's not the only one, but he is the head honcho, right? Speaking of him, did you see his cameo at the very beginning?) It seems like he's a little overly confident after the success of the LOTR trilogy, so he felt like he could take any liberties he wanted to with the Hobbit films.

Okay, so let me lighten the mood a bit by talking about the things I did like. :)

First of all, Martin Freeman is amazing as Bilbo Baggins. He really is. I loved him in the first film, but now that I've discovered Sherlock, I have a whole new appreciation for him. :) I love his facial expressions and the way he delivers his lines and basically everything about him. I know I mentioned this before, but Frodo is one of my least favorite people in LOTR. He's such a wimp! He wouldn't have even made it without Sam. Thankfully, Bilbo is so much more likable, and he's a pretty tough little hobbit.

I also feel like the dwarves had more individual personality in this one. Maybe it's just because you feel like you know them a bit better after two films, but I think I can tell them apart more now (though I still usually can't put their names with their faces). Thorin continues to be impressive, with his long flowing hair and all (ha :), even if his greed is beginning to grow.

I really love the part about Beorn in the book, so I was a little disappointed with that part of the film. Beorn was okay, but I wished that they had kept the unique way that the dwarves are introduced to him in the book. But no, they couldn't do that...because, of course, the gang is being ruthlessly pursued by Orcs at the time! (Just like they are for basically the rest of the film.) There's no time for a creative entrance.

The home of the elves in Mirkwood was so pretty. Seriously. Maybe even prettier than Rivendell? And the spiders were creepy. Ew.

Speaking of elves, I have to talk about the barrel escape scene. The whole captured by the elves/Bilbo plans an escape section is my favorite part of the book. Of course, I wish they hadn't made into probably the biggest fight scene of the film, but it wasn't too bad. But an elf/dwarf love triangle? How silly! Tolkien would have never written that. I feel a bit "eh" about Tauriel's character in general. (And as a former Lost fan, all I could think of was Kate. I kept waiting for Jack to emerge from the forest amongst the Orcs. :)

One addition I didn't mind, though: Legolas. To be honest, when I was a young teenager, during the time of my LOTR obsession, I had quite a crush on Legolas/Orlando Bloom. His face (along with the faces of Aragorn and Merry) was plastered all over my school folder, and at separate times, I had an Orlando Bloom poster and a Return of the King poster in my room. And Legolas really impressed me in this film, particularly his graceful, ballet-ish moves across the tops of the dwarves' heads as they were floating down the river in barrels. If anyone could cleanly kill dozens of Orcs with his bow and arrow while never mussing his perfect Elven hair (complete with a braid just above his ear), it's Legolas. Be still, my heart! :)

{As for Thranduil, I really can't see him as anyone else except Ned, the adorable pie-maker from the show Pushing Daisies. That's why I can't take him seriously.}

I liked how the Lake-town was portrayed. (I guess Lake-town isn't its technical name, but I don't know what is.) I never really thought about how those people would have been so poor now, because they really lost everything to Smaug just like the dwarves did. And I liked Bard a lot.

I thought Smaug was really well done. Benedict Cumberbatch's voice was so different as the dragon! (Though if I listened closely, I could definitely pick up familiar Sherlock tones.) His personality seemed pretty accurate to the book. I'm not a big fan of all of the crazy stuff that was going on at the end of the movie with the dwarves trying to defeat Smaug. It seemed to drag on too long, probably because you know it's all in vain. I usually hate cliffhangers (even if I know what's going to happen next), but this one was very good. :)

So...I really did enjoy the film. I'm not happy with the constant threat of Orcs and the near-constant fight scenes, but I don't want to sound like I'm bashing the movie because I still love the characters and the world of Middle-earth. And watching the Hobbit films makes me anxious to reread the Lord of the Rings trilogy (an epic feat in its own way...I've only made it through the series once so far) and watch the movies again! And not just for more Legolas. :)

What did you think of the second Hobbit film?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please feel free to leave a comment, I love to read them! :) I reply to each one, so be sure to check back, especially if you asked a question.