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Review: The Hobbit - The Desolation of Smaug

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Review: The Hobbit - The Desolation of Smaug

Postby Staff » Mon Dec 16, 2013 9:20 pm

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So we get a lot of people that like to complain about our reviews when they're opinionated or negative. I could rant about stuff like that for a whole post, but instead, I'll go with this disclaimer: If you don't want to read an opinionated review about this movie, just skip this post. That and I should have come up with a good joke about spoilers to put in this post. Yet all I have are spoiler-ific rants to put below the fold. So... spoilers ahead.

By now, anyone who has read my reviews know that my method of choice is flimsy analogies, name calling, and long, drawn-out comparisons to other movies. This movie actually makes it kind of hard to take that route, because there were so many ways for me to tear into it I ended up giving myself a headache (watching my Cowboys play like the * bleep * Keystone Cops of football right after watching this movie probably didn't help). But hey, I can push through and give it a shot...

In Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen, a movie I think most everyone here will agree with me is just terrible, there was a specific scene that had me wanting to walk out of the movie. I know, it's like picking the smelliest piece of a manure pile, but the only reason I stuck through the movie in the theater is that it was towards the end. It was while the kid that ruined Indy 4 ran through some ruins that were supposedly by the pyramids (which were actually like 90 miles away) in order to get to Petra, a city in Jordan and nowhere near Egypt, for those keeping scores. It was perhaps the most Michael Bay scene ever done this side of wingsuits.

LeBouf was running across walls and rooftops, dodging explosions (in slow motion), shards of stone and concrete, shrapnel, and jumping out of clouds of dust. The part that bugged me was the whole shrapnel thing. I can suspend disbelief in a guy falling for a few thousand feet and somehow getting caught and saved (instead of shredded into several smaller pieces). I can look past the stupid mom-on-pot jokes, or the general racist tone of most of the characters (though not easily... let's say we snuck some "refreshments" into the movie theater to help). But what I couldn't look past was the fact that Sam would have been turned to hamburger by the shards of rocks and shrapnel flying around him. I got to see exactly what that stuff was doing because of all the slow-motion scenes. That scene, more than any other in there, was just horrible.

All of that being said, that the action in that scene looks like the opening of Saving Private Ryan compared to what we get in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.

Really, as I left this movie, my basic thought was... "who really thought it was a good idea to let Michael Bay direct a movie based on the Hobbit?" But that's not fair, since, as I said in the opening, the action in this movie is worse than the worst Michael Bay has ever done. Maybe Peter Jackson, blinded by the fact that Smaug's treasure pile wasn't a special effect, just the money that he's making off these movies, thought that what Tolkein really needed was some Elf-on-Dwarf fan-fiction service.

[caption id="attachment_25534" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Apparently Peter Jackson demands payment in gold and stores it in front of a greenscreen Apparently Peter Jackson demands payment in gold and stores it in front of a greenscreen[/caption]

When I reviewed The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, my biggest complaint was where the movie deviated from the little-known book that only a handful of people have ever read. As a rule, I try not to dismiss a movie based on a book out-of-hand. Books are a different medium, and have to tell stories a different way. But at the same time, the best adaptations honor the book and the stories behind it. The worst just cannibalize the source to do something that borderlines on (or sometimes just skips straight to) insulting fans of the source.

This one somehow finds a way to top that by honoring the original in the most inapproriate ways. The first movie was a pacifist compared to the fighting of this movie. There's fighting with Smaug (which sort of happens), fighting in Laketown (which never happened), fighting with the elves (which didn't really happen), fighting with albino orcs and mean clouds (totally didn't happen). There was a skinchanger (which was in the book), but animosity with him and dwarves (outsiders in the book).

[caption id="attachment_25539" align="aligncenter" width="500"]The bear never looks this good. You'll think it's a warg when you first see it. The bear never looks this good. You'll think it's a warg when you first see it.[/caption]

This was actually promising to start, since that was on tangent with the book. We even get Azog tagged out and Bolg, the actual orc antagonist in the books, tagged in. Azog doesn't really go away, he's just shuffled off with the other made-up bad guy stuff (the Necromancer-as-Sauron) in Dul Guldur (a place that wasn't given a real name until Fellowship).

I realize that the Necromancer was alluded to being Sauron in Tolkein's works, but it was just that, an allusion. The extra junk added to beat you over the head with it and set up movies that we've already seen were out-of-place. I honestly went into this movie wanting to like it, thinking that they could improve on the first film. There's more action towards the back-half of the book, with Smaug and the Battle of Five Armies. But things started to look awry almost immediately, and in very strange ways.

I mean look very literally here, because the thing that makes the least sense in this movie is just how off the CGI looks. The movie starts with orcs on wargs skipping across mountains in animation that would have probably looked great back in the 90s. And it keeps popping up, with fights that involve the elves, with dwarves in barrels, and with dwarves in buckets. I can't really explain this one, given the time and the budget, but it's enough of a problem that it just sticks out.

[caption id="attachment_25540" align="aligncenter" width="470"]This is actually the least ridiculous that the entire barrel escape will ever look This is actually the least ridiculous that the entire barrel escape will ever look[/caption]

Speaking of Barrel chase, and the one Hobbit set that I still haven't bought, the scene does show up in this movie, as does Escape from the Mirkwood Spiders from the same release schedule. The spiders one is okay, and the scene isn't too far off from the movie (though slathered with an extra helping of violence and a whole lot less sneaking), at least to a point...

That point is when the elves get on the screen. Did you enjoy watching the improbable stuff that Legolas did in the Lord of the Rings trilogy? Well, that's about to get turned up to 11 (to make up for it, the believability will be turned to 0). Remember that scene where he stabbed an orc with an arrow and then shot it into another orc? At least that's something you could theoretically do. Shoot an arrow completely through an orcs skull as if it was a .308 round, and then use it to shot another orc? Or how about shoot through the heads of two orcs with the same arrow, pinning them together?

[caption id="attachment_25528" align="aligncenter" width="500"]I hope you're in to this, because it's as much of the movie as the dwarves I hope you're in to this, because it's as much of the movie as the dwarves[/caption]

It's not just Legolas, either. During the barrel chase, which has many, many problems of its own, a dwarf throws an axe at an orc, pinning him to a log. Through the center of his torso. Oh, and this same axe has been tossed back and forth between dwarves that are floating impossibly upright in barrels without lids (which would fill, submerge, or go on their side in any sort of reality). At another point, they break a log strong enough to hold a half-dozen orcs with a couple of swings.

There are so many examples of this in the movie, and they're so out-of-place that it's just distracting. I mean, we're talking stuff like Thorin grabbing an iron shield and riding it like a sled through molten gold. Without it showing any sign of warming up. For those curious, the melting point of gold is just under 2000 degrees F. Pretty sure that'd singe even a dwarf. Stuff like that makes up the majority of the movie. The rest is mostly panoramas of walking scenes and this weird camera spinning trick that Jackson seems in love with.

The sad part is that isn't even the dumbest thing you see in that whole (way too long) sequence. That's reserved for the whole gold statue thing. A lot of action scenes that don't make a whole lot of sense, like sending the company through Lake Town to introduce some humans. Sure, they introduce Bard, but then they toss some political intrigue on top of it, which diminishes the triumph of what the humans did when they rose up in the book. They give us Stephen Fry as The Master of Laketown, and I love me some Stephen Fry, but then toss on some stuff about prophecy.

[caption id="attachment_25527" align="aligncenter" width="500"]THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG I hate to admit this, but I'll probably go to the 3rd movie just to hold out a slim ray of hope that we get to see more Stephen Fry[/caption]

The Master was a greedy and somewhat cowardly character in the book, but his place in the movie doesn't really set up much of anything other than more conflict. Conflict that isn't at all resolved in the movie. The strange thing is that the most out-of-place but actually interesting to watch part of the movie is the romantic connection that's formed between Kili and Tauriel. It's like a whole running subplot that just sort of happens, with her commenting how he's "tall for a dwarf."

[caption id="attachment_25526" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Which one is which again? I'd buy this on Bluray just for an outtake of the guy on the left going "My Name is Inigo Montoya... you killed my father... prepare to die!"[/caption]

Speaking of Bard... is it just me, or did they cast someone who looks uncannily like Orlando Bloom, and then make sure his costume looks like Will Turner? Cause I thought for awhile that Bloom just needed a second paycheck or something and got another part.

I'm actually inclined to believe that whole plot was included to make one of the elves not look to be complete jerks (I'd use stronger language, but this is a family site... it deserves some stronger language). I actually don't mind the inclusion of Tauriel, since it did actually give put a woman somewhere in this movie. The only problem is that she's not really portrayed as anything other than fighter and some sort of fetishist for hitting on the dwarf. There's a little tease about her and Legolas, though that serves more to paint Thranduil as an even bigger jerk than his son (and that's saying something). In the book, there was tension between the elves and the dwarves, but it wasn't anything like this.

[caption id="attachment_25533" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Elves are Apparently Bad Dancers You know, as hard as I've been on this movie, the dance numbers were fantastic[/caption]

In the movie, it comes far more hostile, and to be honest, the elves come off far more like the instigators. Also, apparently Thranduil is using elf magic to cover up some Harvey Dent face. Sadly though, even the whole Kili and Tauriel, sitting-in-a-tree is undone by the Lake Town stuff, where we get to see Legolas being all Legolas (right up until the point where the greatest archer in the history of middle earth doesn't bother to put an arrow in the back of the skull of an orc as he's running off, exposed and vulnerable).

She abandons her post as protector to stay and save Kili's life, which is sort of spoiled by somewhat ripping off the whole Arwyn and Frodo feel from The Lord of the Rings. It's okay though, because she later saves Legolas' life, consigning us to a terrible fate of watching him do things like surf down stairs on a shield or eventually become friends with the guy he called a half-bred goblin spawn the guy he'll eventually form a brother-like bond with. And that was after he insulted Gimli's mother.

Yeah, I told you he was a jerk.

[caption id="attachment_25529" align="aligncenter" width="500"]I'd buy this for one of the figures... the other I'd like to strap to a rocket. I'm not saying which one. I'd buy this for one of the figures... the other I'd like to strap to a rocket. I'm not saying which one.[/caption]

Really though, the most unforgivable sin of this movie is that the thing just... ends. It stops. Nothing is brought to a resolution in the movie. We're introduced to a whole lot of characters. We never learn if Bilbo grabbed the arkenstone. Smaug flies off to torch Laketown (presumably). The elves killed a lot of nobody orcs and let the one they should have killed get away. Gandalf went to a made-up place, actually used magic (probably the first time we've seen the wizard do anything more than parlor tricks). The dwarves failed to kill the dragon because they hatched an asinine plan to, I don't know, cover him in molten gold, having never played D&D apparently and lacking the common sense to figure out that "fire-breathing dragon" typically means "can't be hurt by fire."

[caption id="attachment_25531" align="aligncenter" width="300"]This could have saved those dwarves a whole lot of time This could have saved those dwarves a whole lot of time[/caption]

Speaking of Smaug, the dragon is easily the best CGI in the entire movie. He's also got the voice of Khan 2.0 at his grumbliest, and they actually did a fair little bit to set him up. Yet after setting him up as a great fire-breathing beast that can be talked, one with a nose so acute he can tell Bilbo is there even when he's wearing the ring (and smell dwarves that are in the halls above the treasure horde)... it all goes out the window once Bilbo goes for some surfing on gold trying to grab the Arkenstone. The dwarves spend about three hours (or at least it felt that long) running around, setting up their insane plan with said molten gold, which hinges on the fact that Smaug apparently forgot how to use his nose shortly after telling us all how great it was.

The last movie I felt this unsatisfied with after watching was Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. And I've shared exactly how much that ruined it for me. It had all of the same problem hallmarks that this movie has: ridiculous and overly-long fight scenes, a total lack of an ending, a bad guy with a cool voice, Orlando Bloom.

[caption id="attachment_25525" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Legolask I wanted to grab some Legolas meme picture, but this is a family site. Instead, I'll show another picture of him so you can feel some of my pain.[/caption]

If there's a silver-lining to be had, it's that we've gotten a few good sets out of the mix... maybe. I liked Mirkwood Elves, but feel the need to go amend my review to state that the wood elves of Mirkwood apparently live in caves, not in trees (at least in the movie). There is a fortification in the movie, but it's over the river our dwarves are taking an entirely impossible barrel escape in, and all the elves not named Legolas and Tauriel did there is suck and die on the end of orc axes. After I get this finished, I'll be working on Ambush at Dul Guldur, and I'm waiting for the rest of the sets to arrive from Walmart.com's wonderful sale (most have ended, though Mirkwood Elves is still $25).
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Re: Review: The Hobbit - The Desolation of Smaug

Postby bobalego » Tue Dec 17, 2013 4:28 am

I have not seen the film yet but I tend to believe you as I enjoyed the first film but only in the sense that I was so desperate to revisit everything that was so wonderful about The Lord of the Rings...that being said, a simple response would best help me know how close to your opinion I will agree. But the explanation is much more complicated. Before I ask my simple question let me post my disclaimer.
I was also sucked into seeing the Transformer movies and thought the last two were huge pieces of crap. All the sequels to Pirates of the Carribean were crap, the fourth one felt like a made for tv movie. The fourth Indy film...do I even need to mention how traumatized I was...and the void that was left in my heart and soul after seeing Star Wars Episode I...well that can continue to be argued forever...now here comes the shocker and key to discovering how similar we are...I have not bothered to check to see if you reviewed it but when I saw the last Batman film with my best friend of 20 years, I had to lie through my teeth to keep from hurting his feelings as I could not believe how bad it was. I am not going to bother arguing why as I know I am in a minority...but I am sorry watch the HISHE version on youtube and if you do not agree it is the best film to deserve a full length HISHE version of, there is something wrong with you...so naturally my question is...do you have a link to your review of the last Batman film or should I search for it...a simple: "Because I am Batman!" will do if you liked the film, and I can go see "The Desolation of Smaug" with some degree of hope...If you felt the same way about Batman than I will go see "Saving Mr. Banks" instead, as seeing a movie is no longer a matter of "I guess I will go see a movie." It's a matter of, figuring out if a $50 baby sitter is worth seeing a movie, so as you can see I have a little more stake in wether or not a film is worth the money...so...are you Batman?
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Re: Review: The Hobbit - The Desolation of Smaug

Postby shoggoth666 » Tue Dec 17, 2013 5:03 am

Sound and accurate review. Essentially an action movie with absurd action to the point of overload. The problem lies in Jackson trying to stretch a single novel into a 9 hour epic saga.
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Re: Review: The Hobbit - The Desolation of Smaug

Postby Roarsack » Tue Dec 17, 2013 6:11 am

I'm so glad I'm not alone with this! I totally thought that one guy was Orlando Bloom!

Anyway, my main problem with the trilogy is the said "reasoning" behind it. At first, it was supposed to be two movies, but then Jackson announced that the Hobbit has so much material to delve into that it needed three movies. Yet, half of the trilogy seems to be completely made-up and unnecessary scenes and subplots, only to amp it up to that "epic scale" LoTR had. Truth be told, a 200 page book could have easily fit into one feature film.

I have yet to see this second installment, but I don't have high hopes for it after the first one. That barrel scene sounds ridiculous. As far as I remember, the book had no action whatsoever in that particular part. The whole point of hiding in the barrels was to sneak out unseen, was it not?

Also, what confuses me is why did they decide to do the main orc, Azog, in CG? It looked just plain dumb given the real, believable look we've come accustomed to with the LoTR trilogy. Those latex masks looked perfectly fine to me.


Finally, a bit of sidetracking here, but I don't think it was La Beouf's fault that Indy four was as bad as it was. I actually really enjoyed the first half of the movie. But as soon as all that alien nonsense took the spotlight, the game was over. And that jungle chase scene falls right there into the category of worst action scenes in movie history. Compare that to the motorcycle chase in the beginning of Indy 4. Hmm, I wonder which was more exciting and interesting...
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Re: Review: The Hobbit - The Desolation of Smaug

Postby Harmonica » Tue Dec 17, 2013 6:50 am

Just wanted to point this out, unrelated the movie in question. (Have yet to see it, probably gonna wait till it's out on dvd/blu-ray.) That guy (forgot his name) and Orlando Bloom were also in the latest Three Musketeers butchering, which is the only thing that movie actually bothered to get right from the book (though I'm inclined to think that was just a coincidence, considering, ya know, the rest of the movie); their two characters in the book actually looked a bit alike.
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Re: Review: The Hobbit - The Desolation of Smaug

Postby dWhisper » Tue Dec 17, 2013 8:23 am

Yeah, at no point-in-time did this movie not feel like padding. They could have just called to "The Hobbit 2: The Quest for More Money" and it would have fit. Also, they would have had to pay Mel Brooks some, so that's worth it in my book. I'm not sure you could fit all three into one movie (though with better writers you probably could), but they couldn't fit the one book into three movies.

I'll have to take your word on LaBeouf not being the (sole) source of Indy's awfulness... I've steadfastly refused to watch the movie. My Indy collection ends with The Last Crusade. See, "last" is in the title. I just like making fun of LeBeef.

As for the other guy, Luke Evans... I haven't really seen anything else he's been in, or at least I don't remember him. Clash of the Titans was so bad I shut it off. I didn't even realize they made a new Three Musketeers movie (really, didn't that Disney version end those once-and-for-all), and I haven't watched Fast & Furious 6 yet. He's also apparently tied to the remake of The Crow, a remake of a terrible movie with a great soundtrack responsible for all the goth kids produced in the 90s. Maybe Orlando Bloom would have been a better cast...
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Re: Review: The Hobbit - The Desolation of Smaug

Postby onions » Tue Dec 17, 2013 8:59 am

it's disappointing that this movie sucked so bad. i hadn't bothered to watch the hobbit in the theaters due to the fact that jackson was stretching out the book and adding his own fiction in. but i did happen to catch it on cable and i think that because i never read the book, i actually enjoyed it. sure there were some scenes that were stupid and should have been cut (stone giants) and ones that went on for far too long (escape from the goblin king), but overall i enjoyed it. and because I enjoyed it i was actually looking forward to seeing smaug and was going to make plans to see it in the theater (which is no small feat these days). but after talking to a lug member/friend of mine and reading this, i think i'll save my 10 bucks and skip to the last movie. i would have thought that the fight against smaug would be the main plot point. i guess i was wrong. it just sounds like the movie was a three hour tease with no resolution whatsoever.
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Re: Review: The Hobbit - The Desolation of Smaug

Postby crazybirdman » Tue Dec 17, 2013 9:56 am

Did he really just make stuff up? I was under the impression that he just pulled from everything else Tolkien had written
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Re: Review: The Hobbit - The Desolation of Smaug

Postby kibosh » Tue Dec 17, 2013 10:00 am

The more I think about it, the less I like this installment. To be fair though, there is a prophecy about the dwarves coming back to Erebor in the book. And it is why the people of Laketown welcome them, and supply them with provisions and such.

Were Azog or Bolg every actually mentioned in the book???
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Re: Review: The Hobbit - The Desolation of Smaug

Postby wyldjedi » Tue Dec 17, 2013 10:11 am

I pretty much agree on most points, at least in various degrees. I never liked all the crazy action Legolas did in the LotR's trilogy with all the shield surfing and extreme arrow fighting, so to see it here was annoying. However, It was also expected and 'in character' so it did make it hurt a bit less. Perhaps middle earth elves are just that good? I mean Tauriel saved Legolas by shooting an arrow with hers. But really, with all that kind of skill, I find it difficult to believe that the elves would let the forest get overrun so easily by some spiders.

Everything about the molten gold was just silly; from the not so great CG to the shield boat. The silly action parts I admit were fun to watch, as long as I turned off my believability meter. I also thought that Smaug's ability to find Bilbo seemed to get turned off when the other dwarves got together as strange as the dwarves hatching a plan that would have taken much longer than movie time would have permitted.

I still enjoyed the movie, more than the previous, but the silly and over the top parts did make it a bit more difficult to enjoy. What I find interesting is that I actually left the theater thinking this was an awesome movie, but after a few days of sinking in I am quickly able to nitpick on all sorts of things. Still... it does satisfy my adventure and action cravings and gave me quite a few ideas on Lego builds
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Re: Review: The Hobbit - The Desolation of Smaug

Postby jonutah » Tue Dec 17, 2013 10:38 am

Of course now the comparisons will be made between Lucas and Jackson and who sucks more at making prequels. Is Radagast the new Jar Jar, etc. Its really too bad because the LOTR trilogy is so solid and one would have hoped that Jackson had better judgement and/or guts to not screw with what is probably the most beloved fantasy books of our time.
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Re: Review: The Hobbit - The Desolation of Smaug

Postby dWhisper » Tue Dec 17, 2013 11:15 am

crazybirdman wrote:Did he really just make stuff up? I was under the impression that he just pulled from everything else Tolkien had written


kibosh wrote:Were Azog or Bolg every actually mentioned in the book???


Bolg was the secondary antagonist in the book, after Smaug. He was the one who led the orcs at The Battle of Five Armies, and had a big part to play. He was also tied up with Beorn, not with Thorin. Azog is only as the one who killed Thorin's grandfather at the battle portrayed in the first movie (and who was subsequently wasted by Thorin's father). Other than that, he was only mentioned as a footnote in The Silmarillion.

Jackson has certainly made up a lot of stuff and taken parts from other Tolkien works, though I'd argue that a whole ton of it was taken way out of context. Tauriel is entirely made up, so anything that involves her is as well (and the Elf on Dwarf romance is so far out of place it's like bad fan fiction).

Legolas is only mentioned as Thranduil's son in passing, but there's no mention anywhere that he was involved in the events of The Hobbit. His age wasn't even really mentioned, though it's safe to assume he was around there. But it was an assumption, and the way that this whole thing is being set up is that he's going to end up fighting against his dad at the Battle of Five Armies, along with Tauriel, who's going to fight for the dwarves or some nonsense like that.

Same with all of the prophecy stuff in Laketown, and the dwarves going there. Bard was a descendant of the king of Dale, but there wasn't any story about his ancestor's heroism in shooting the dragon. That was just something that Bilbo noticed and Bard overheard and used to waste the dragon.

Jackson is taking some stuff from the background, as he did in the original LotR trilogy, but it's not being used to actually move the plot. It's being used to turn this into some popcorn action movie, not even remotely resembling the books. I don't think that the book itself is law when it comes to making a movie, but the good adaptations are faithful to the spirit of the book at the very least. These movies aren't faithful at all to what Tolkien wrote; in fact, they're the antithesis to it, and stand apart from the very soul of his writings.

jonutah wrote:Of course now the comparisons will be made between Lucas and Jackson and who sucks more at making prequels.


It's funny, but I made that comparison in chat yesterday, and I said that Jackson is worse. The PT were bad movies and a bad story, but they weren't trying to just set up the movies we already saw. They tried to tell something new, however bad it was, that fit into the same timeline. And Lucas would have never let some of the CGI stuff that Jackson has fit into his movies.

Needless to say, pretty much everyone in chat disagreed with my ideas on that one ;) But most of them haven't seen the movie yet, only hear me complain about it.

Radagast is nowhere near as bad as Jar Jar. Comic relief in small instances, but in no way a main character. And as bad as Jar Jar was, he had a role in the movies. Characters like Radagast, Bombur, etc. only exist so they can deliver a joke or get a cheap laugh (like the whole running scene getting into Beorn's house).
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Re: Review: The Hobbit - The Desolation of Smaug

Postby jonutah » Tue Dec 17, 2013 12:01 pm

Yeah, I agree Jar Jar is worse and what Lucas did with the prequels can't be as bad because they were not based on a beloved story. So, Lucas had more creative freedom (in my opinion) to make a mess. My sense with Jackson/Hobbit is it was pure money grab on behalf of the studio, etc. as many of us thought when they stretched it to 3 movies. Its probably best for fans of the book to forget they read it if they want to enjoy these movies ;)
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Re: Review: The Hobbit - The Desolation of Smaug

Postby dWhisper » Tue Dec 17, 2013 12:10 pm

It's an interesting problem. I usually like to treat a movie and a book seperately, though in general, the books I usually read don't get turned into movies. But you can only go so far off the source material when you're only using it for name recognition. You're right, this is all money grab, from the "action movie" aspect to the "let's just make three of them."
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Re: Review: The Hobbit - The Desolation of Smaug

Postby Roarsack » Tue Dec 17, 2013 1:53 pm

dWhisper wrote:Jackson is taking some stuff from the background, as he did in the original LotR trilogy, but it's not being used to actually move the plot. It's being used to turn this into some popcorn action movie, not even remotely resembling the books. I don't think that the book itself is law when it comes to making a movie, but the good adaptations are faithful to the spirit of the book at the very least. These movies aren't faithful at all to what Tolkien wrote; in fact, they're the antithesis to it, and stand apart from the very soul of his writings.

The problem is that Jackson wants to blend the grittiness and epicness into a children's lighthearted adventure story.


onions wrote: sure there were some scenes that were stupid and should have been cut (stone giants)
That was something that actually is in the book. Although, like everything, that too was amped up and didn't in any way resemble the image the book gave me.
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Re: Review: The Hobbit - The Desolation of Smaug

Postby dWhisper » Tue Dec 17, 2013 2:40 pm

Ace, it's worse than that. You could argue that the fight with Smaug was central to the movie, but mostly in length, lasting about 1/3rd of the whole thing. I wouldn't say it had anything to do with the plot, since it was mostly just an excuse to show off the dragon CGI (good), the treasure CGI (average), and dwarf architecture / molten gold (especially bad). The problem was that the fight just ended with no real reason. Smaug decides he's going to go lay waste to a town to kind of spite Bilbo, instead of finish killing all the dwarves and people standing right in front of him.

While I don't think it would have made a bad movie great, it would have been a far better movie if they would have cut almost all of that fluff and gone to the ramifications of what they were doing: Laketown being destroyed by Smaug, the whole ascension of Bard as a leader, etc, like in the book. It was the underlying theme, the selfishness and greed of the dwarves brought Smaug in the first place, and the same flaws unleashed him on Laketown. Yet, in the movie, it's reduced to spite and not much else. Put in that whole battle, and actually bring it to an end, at least with the destruction. Heck, they could have even saved the death of Smaug for the next movie, since it wasn't until Bard rallied the town that he was actually killed, and he did destroy the town. Instead we get "I am Death" in a menacing voice and credits while he flies off.
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Re: Review: The Hobbit - The Desolation of Smaug

Postby Roarsack » Tue Dec 17, 2013 3:41 pm

If Smaug dies in this one, I'm afraid the third one will stray even more away from the source material. Probably establishing a lot of the Sauron stuff. I mean, was there anything significant happening in the book after they killed Smaug and settled the scuffle about the gold?
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Re: Review: The Hobbit - The Desolation of Smaug

Postby dWhisper » Tue Dec 17, 2013 3:59 pm

Well, the scuffle for the gold predated the Battle of Five Armies, which was a fairly large war that smashed the forces of the Orcs, delaying the rise of Sauron and buying mankind more time to prepare. The Battle was probably a larger event than the fight with Smaug, since it was pretty much a one-shot-and-done ordeal.
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Re: Review: The Hobbit - The Desolation of Smaug

Postby Roarsack » Tue Dec 17, 2013 4:04 pm

And in addition to that they have to cram in a bunch of action scenes not in the novel.
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Re: Review: The Hobbit - The Desolation of Smaug

Postby Faefrost » Tue Dec 17, 2013 4:42 pm

My take on it. Better or at least more entertaining and less bladder straining than Unexpected Journey. Not as good as any of the LotR films. But still watchable. It's a so so take on The Hobbit... But it is also oddly enough probably the most perfect Dungeons & Dragons movie that we have always dreamed of getting. I left it really wishing someone had licensed R A Salvatore's books, where all the over the top elf badassery would actually fit right in.
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