I liked it a lot, gave it an A-... it is very
deliberately paced, and I agree some of the action sequences went on a bit too long, in a can-you-top-this spirit that we saw in King Kong
[and always brings Temple of Doom
to mind for me]. I don't agree w/the "bloated" description, and while the Azog stuff wan't my favorite part I can see why they did it, to give an "enemy" for the first movie.
I'm surprised more folks haven't mentioned the scaling-up of Bilbo's heroism, in how he is the one who delays the trolls until Gandalf arrives and in his going after Azog to defend Thorin. I liked the former but I thought the latter was a bit too much of a leap... even if he'd decided to do it one of the Dwarves would've gone first.
Gollum looks awesome, and it makes clearer just how much of this performance is Serkis'... the riddle-scene is supposed to be the highlight of this movie and it was for me. Freeman and Serkis did a great job, and particularly since [as revealed on Colbert's Hobbit Week] it was the first scene Freeman filmed.
I liked the White Council scene, great to see them all together... and for the complaint that you could tell Lee was filmed separately, the end of the conversation between Gandalf and Galadriel shows that he needn't have been there either. We know the mighty Elves can speak mind-to-mind... maybe Lorien's "magic hologram" tech works better than Isengard's!
Nice to see the Dwarves center stage a bit, and to see the Battle of Azanulbizar onscreen. I thought the trolls were well-realized and amusingly dumb. I liked Radagast, though his running the wargs around was a bit much.
Overall I agree that the feel on balance is a little more kid-like than LotR, which is appropriate given the source material. Even though there are a lot of them, the kills seem a lot less bloody. The songs are nicely used without being overdone. [What, no "Tra-la-la-lally, the Elves of the valley"?
I don't think it's 45 minutes too long, but it could
use about 15 min of trimming in my opinion. Less time at Bag End, less Radagast cross-country sledding, less running through the caverns from goblins, fewer falling trees. That'd do it for me.
I think one's opinion of King Kong
will be a good predictor here... I thought Kong
was certainly overindulgent as hell, but not the ego-run-wild disaster some people do. My analog is Temple of Doom
, while some folks here would say Battlefield Earth
. [My biggest complaint is the removal of any admirable qualities from Carl Denham... PJ's Denham is not one who'll go back to Skull Island to find Kong's son out of guilt, that's for sure. But I digress
] If you hate Kong
, bring stimulants to see this one.
So I marked it down to an A- for inflation and dodgy Warg cgi... and I saw it in regular 2D. I'm going to see it again tonight in 48fps 3D, so I'll comment on that tomorrow.