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View Poll Results: How would you grade The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug?
A+ 8 6.67%
A 31 25.83%
A- 24 20.00%
B+ 16 13.33%
B 16 13.33%
B- 2 1.67%
C+ 7 5.83%
C 8 6.67%
C- 3 2.50%
D+ 3 2.50%
D 1 0.83%
D- 0 0%
F 1 0.83%
Voters: 120. You may not vote on this poll

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Old December 8 2013, 09:42 PM   #1
Jar Jar Binks
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The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - Grading & Discussion (Spoilers)



Bilbo Baggins continues his journey with the Wizard Gandalf and thirteen Dwarves, led by Thorin Oakenshield, on an epic quest to reclaim the Lonely Mountain and the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor. Having survived the beginning of their unexpected journey, the Company continues East, encountering along the way the skin-changer Beorn and a swarm of giant Spiders in the treacherous forest of Mirkwood. After escaping capture by the dangerous Wood-elves, the Dwarves journey to Lake-town, and finally to the Lonely Mountain itself, where they must face the greatest danger of all--a creature more terrifying than any other; one which will test not only the depth of their courage but the limits of their friendship and the wisdom of the journey itself--the Dragon Smaug.
Here we go again. Following its recent world premiere in Los Angeles, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug will release in New Zealand on December 12th, followed by both the United States and the United Kingdom on December 13th. Reviews have already started coming in, and so far the consensus seems to be that this second film is, overall, an improvement over An Unexpected Journey. That bodes very well for folks like me who quite enjoyed the first film.

Enjoy the movie, everyone!

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Old December 11 2013, 08:24 PM   #2
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Re: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - Grading & Discussion (Spoile

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug might have its flaws and have unnecessarily added action sequences and side plots, but all is forgiven in the final act by one single thing: SMAUG.

A much more detailed review when I get home.
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Old December 11 2013, 08:36 PM   #3
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Re: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - Grading & Discussion (Spoile

Easily as good as first part. Still somehow less epic than the LOTR, but not necessarily bad thing.

Luckily "romance" sideplot wasnt overplayed. It's just one aspect of the story that fleshes out the dwarves. Same as one dwarf having hearing aid, one having axe on the head. Now one has a crush on the elf girl.

Cant wait for an extended edition and behind the scenes look to the barrel chase
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Old December 11 2013, 10:46 PM   #4
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Re: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - Grading & Discussion (Spoile

I want to preface this review by saying that I know I'm going to sound overly negative about the film when, in fact, I thoroughly enjoyed most of it and especially loved the final act.

In the months leading up to the release of this film, I realized that I wasn't nearly as excited about it as I was each of the films of The Lord of the Rings trilogy and I've been trying to put my finger on exactly why. I think there are a number reasons, including a slight oversaturation of Middle-Earth (despite the ten-year gap), an unnecessary stretching of the narrative (although the inclusion of Dol Guldur is good), my dismay that the extended edition of An Unexpected Journey (with special collector's statue and a shit ton of extras) was only available on Blu-Ray (which is a very long rant unto itself), and being ever-so-slightly underwhelmed by An Unexpected Journey a year ago. While it's unfair to compare this trilogy to the experience and quality of The Lord of the Rings, at this point of the trilogy a decade ago, I had hungrily enjoyed the extended edition of the previous film and already listened to the new film's score countless of times. Yet this time, I've done neither of these things (nor have I even purchased either item) and I'm rather sad by this notion.

I mention all of this because I want to show what kind of mentality I was in going into this film. Don't get me wrong, I was quite excited, especially by Smaug, but my expectations were considerably lower than before, and yet equally as critical.

The film opens up in the most unexpected way: Peter Jackson reprising his cameo from 12 years ago in the wet and muddy village of Bree (albeit munching on a carrot instead of burping). Why Bree? So we can see the first meeting of Gandalf and Thorin as well as the beginnings of the Quest for Erebor. While it was nice to see this scene, I don't think it was necessary and it is just one of the many changes to the book. I don't mind story changes as much as I did the first time around (and I've since soften my opinion for the most part, with the exception of all things Arwen), but there were a couple of additions in this film that I didn't particularly enjoy.

First and foremost is the continued subplot of Azog's hunt for Thorin. The worst change of the last film was the overblown cliffhanger instead of the rather simple, yet dramatic moment in the novel. There isn't anything quite as bad as that sequence in this film, but the pursuit forces itself into nearly every aspect of the film: driving the Company to Beorn's home (after the orcs miraculously catching up with the Company despite the Eagle's grand rescue), attacking both the Silvan Elves and the Company during the barrel escape, and invading Laketown on the eve of Smaug's return. Additionally, Azog is called to Dol Guldur to help The Necromancer build an army (and act as a foil against Gandalf), while Azog's son, Bolg (who actually is in the novel during the Battle of Five Armies) takes over the role of chasing Thorin. While I understand that these sequences were added to increase the drama and action quota, as well as providing a more fluid lead into the Battle of Five Armies, I often found them unnecessary and overused. I've known for a long time that Peter Jackson, in addition to all of the great things he's done for Middle-Earth, has the terrible tendency of including ineffectual and overly long battle sequences, and he certainly continues to excel on that mark here. Don't get me wrong, the sequences are incredibly choreographed, but there is a point when there's just too much of it and risks swallowing up the story.

My other major grievance in regards to changes to the novel is the forced and unneeded mutual crush between Kili and Tauriel. While I was relieved that there wasn't much in the regards to a Tauriel/Legalos romance (as many had believed), the sudden swooning between these two characters is both excessive and in the way. Kili is poisoned during the Company's escape from the Silvan Elves, which was purely done as a means to further drag out the "relationship" between the two characters by bringing Tauriel (and Legalos) to Laketown to save Kili in an Arwen-esque fashion. I understand that this (as well as holding back several of the dwarves along with Kili in Laketown instead of going up to the Lonely Mountain) serves to expand the roles of the dwarves that Tolkien poorly defined in the novel, but I feel that this could've been done in a much better way than this. It doesn't help any that there doesn't seem to be any reason for the attraction between the two characters beyond the "hot factor" of Aiden Turner and Evangeline Lily and it screams of soapy teen romance. Worse, just a couple of scenes prior to the introduction of their infatuation is a scene that shows Gloin identifying to Legalos his manly-looking wife in his locket, who he thinks is beautiful.

These changes aside, the only other major thing about this film that I didn't like is the pacing of the first act. The film felt like it was trying to rush through certain important sequences, such as Beorn and traveling through Mirkwood, in order to get the introduction of the Silvan Elves and Laketown faster. This is a shame because Mikael Persbrandt is quite wonderful as Beorn but he has very little to work with, and before you know it, he's a footnote in the story. Yes, he has a small role in the novel, yet his character is sidelined for the addition and expansion of Azog, Bolg, Tauriel and Legalos.

Moving to a more positive note, the highlight of the first act, and possibly the entire film prior to Smaug, is the ethereal and eerie depiction of Mirkwood and the attack of the giant spiders. I wish this sequence had been longer and incorporated the Silvan Elves' presence in the forest before they captured the Company, but I really liked how the viewer didn't hear the spiders talking until Bilbo put on the One Ring. I'm pretty sure that moment isn't in the novel, but it's a nice change.

I'm not sure Peter Jackson did this in the previous film, but I noticed that in this film he reincorporated certain themes from The Lord of the Rings, most notably the waning of Men and the unwillingness to fight the great fight. Where Elrond showed scorn towards Men since the end of the Second Age, this time it's Thorin who shows his disgust in regards to the Men of Laketown. Likewise, Thranduil (and to a lesser degree, Legalos) shows his unwillingness to provide aid to Thorin's cause, much like Theoden's reluctance to help Gondor. I'm certain both of these themes will continue to play out in the next film, just like they did in The Return of the King.

Another major highlight is the introduction of Laketown and Bard. Both are given a lot of care and attention, much like Eowyn and Edoras in The Two Towers, giving good reasons to be interested in them and to root for them in their survival from the impending doom. Luke Evans provides a lot dimension in his performance and characterization of Bard, while Stephen Fry gives Brad Dourif a run for his money in his wonderfully nasty performance as The Master.

All of theses highs and lows become moot the moment Bilbo slowly makes his way into the ruins of Erebor. Everything I could have possibly hoped and dreamed for in the rendering of Smaug the Tremendous were fulfilled. From the incredible CGI artistry to Benedict Cumberbatch's nuanced, motion-captured performance and vocalization, Smaug is given a real-life quality not unlike Gollum. Even the odd appearance of dragon lips moving while speaking is given a strange and uncanny quality that makes the character all the more chilling and unnerving. Cumberbatch gives Smaug catlike movements while stalking his prey, which strengthens the cat-and-mouse chase between Smaug and Bilbo (and later the dwarves). This chase isn't from the novel, but it is easily my favorite change in the film. Instead of just flying off to attack Laketown as punishment for helping the Company, we're treated with an extended sequence throughout Erebor much like the Balrog chase in Moria, but even more so. The only thing I didn't like about the overall sequence was the continuous jumping back to Laketown for the uninteresting trials of Kili's poisoning and orc invasion. A minor quibble, but I can look past it because I could watch the entire Smaug sequence on its own over and over and over again. It ranks up there with the entire Moria sequence as my favorite sequence of the five films thus far.

How is it that, despite the awesomeness of Smaug, Gandalf the Grey, my favorite character of the entire series, is mentioned as a mere side note in my review? Such as it is, Gandlf's role in this film is rather limited once he parts ways from the Company and goes exploring the dusting ruins of Mirkwood. Ian McKellan is always wonderful to watch no matter the role, but as Gandalf the Grey, he takes it to it another level. Despite the smaller role this time around, he is given a kick-ass duel against The Necromancer that rivals his battle with the Balrog.

For months, many have speculated on how the film would end and I was amongst those who thought it would end on the eve of the Battle of Five Armies. I realized while watching the film just how lame of a cliffhanger it would be and that the average moviegoer wouldn't be hooked by such an ending. Fortunately, Peter Jackson had better sense than I did. After seamlessly introducing Bard and Laketown into the overall tapestry of the story and the stakes that they have, ending the film with Smaug swiftly descending onto them has a much stronger emotional resonance. Plus, this means we'll get even more of Smaug and Benedict Cumberbatch, which is always a good thing.

One note on my theater experience. I caught a late afternoon showing so there weren't too many people there (the following showing looked like it was going to be packed based on the long line outside of the screening I saw it at). This was beneficial because, aside from some laughter here and there, I didn't have to deal with much extraneous noise from fans (thankfully, no squealing at the mere sight of Orlando Bloom). However, because I saw this in Brussels, my showing was subtitled in French and Dutch and they didn't provide any subtitles for any of the Elven, Orc, or Black Tongue dialogue, so I found myself a little lost during those scenes. I think there's another theater in town that will provide the English subtitles for those scenes. At least, I hope it does.

In conclusion, I thoroughly enjoyed this film. Martin Freeman continues to be the star of this trilogy, but he is closely rivaled by his Sherlock-cohort Benedict Cumberbatch (in dual roles), Ian McKellan, Richard Armitage, Luke Evans, Stephen Fry, and Luke Pace. Likewise, Ken Stott, Graham McTavish, James Nesbitt, Mikael Persbrandt, Sylvester McCoy, Evangeline Lily, and Orlando Bloom all provide solid performances to round off the cast. And, of course, who could possibly forget the all important Stephen Colbert and family cameo? I look forward to watching this film again in theaters, if for no other reason than to see Smaug. Seriously, that sequence is amazing.
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Old December 13 2013, 09:12 AM   #5
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Re: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - Grading & Discussion (Spoile

Smaug is spectacular beyond all reproach.
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Old December 13 2013, 08:35 PM   #6
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Re: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - Grading & Discussion (Spoile

The Hobbit is the only one of Tolkien's Middle-earth stories that I've actually been able to read in its entirety, primarily because of its simplistic style as compared to The Lord of the Rings.

However, that simplicity is also a double-edged sword that, in other circumstances, would prevent it from being adapted in any medium other than animation.

Regardless of how you feel about the decision to make a trilogy of 3-hour long movies out of a fairly short story, Peter Jackson and Co. have succeeded with flying colors in making the story adaptable in live action by augmenting its fairly simplistic narrative with additional material - original or otherwise - a decision that allows the core of the novel's story - which IS very much present in both this movie and An Unexpected Journey - to work in a way that doesn't feel silly, which, incidentally, is also what Andrew Adamson was able to do with his adaptations of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe and Prince Caspian (particularly the latter).

Two specific instances from this movie that demonstrate what I'm talking about are the introduction of Beorn and the Mirkwood spiders sequence where the spiders talk to each other. Both of these things could've made the film seem silly, but by not dwelling too much on Beorn and having Bilbo only be able to perceive the spider's chatter by putting on the Ring, Jackson and Co. were able to maintain the 'historical reality' tone they'd already established for the franchise with their LotR adaptations and their adaptation of the first third of The Hobbit as realized in An Unexpected Journey.

The Smaug sequences did seem to drag a bit in places, but were still very well-handled, and Cumberbatch was the perfect choice to voice the character, giving him a sense of menace and malice that perfectly fits with the tone of the film and makes you believe that he's a real creature that could've existed in our prehistoric past.

I'm giving the movie a 10 out of 10, although I did miss part of the ending due to some drowsiness and therefore need to see it again.
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Old December 14 2013, 12:29 AM   #7
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Re: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - Grading & Discussion (Spoile

I thought this film was better than An Unexpected Journey. The tone was more serious. I also thought Smaug made for a better big bad than the Orc general. However by the end of this film I came away feeling even more so that stretching this story into three films is way too much. This second installment ultimately felt like padding. It was better padding than the first movie but some of this stuff is just getting stretched out way too much.

As for the characters I find it hard to muster much interest or concern in/for any of them. There was a little when they were facing Smaug, but most of that was figuring out how they were going to defeat him. As for Gandalf his face off against the Orcs and Sauron was cool but without much suspense because I already know he's going to survive.
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Old December 14 2013, 01:55 AM   #8
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Re: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - Grading & Discussion (Spoile

Smaug was an incredible creation and Cumberbatch was excellent as Smaug's voice. The escape from the elves and the rolling battle with the orcs was well doen too.
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Old December 14 2013, 02:25 AM   #9
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Re: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - Grading & Discussion (Spoile

C, which is by far lowest score I've ever given a Jackson/Tolkien film. (Previous B+ for The Two Towers)

I've never seen a movie that suffered more from "middle movie of a trilogy syndrome" more than this one.

Too much clutter and filler. The stuff with Legolas and Tauriel added NOTHING of real substance to the story.

Stuff that I remember vividly from the book, such as the barrel ride, was pretty much unrecognizable amidst the clutter.

I was looking forward to the Dol Goldur stuff, but nothing seen here really was all that.

The stuff with Smaug was great, but it took too long to get there.

On the bright side, between Smaug's attack on Lake Town, the rest of the Dol Goldur stuff and the Battle of the Five Armies, part three should be a roller coaster.

Also, have to admit that I was surprised not to see Gollum snuck in there somehow. It's not often that I commend Peter Jackson for restrain on his Tolkien adaptations, especially "The Hobbit", but I'm actually glad that he held off. The last thing this movie needed was more filler.
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Old December 14 2013, 03:08 AM   #10
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Re: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - Grading & Discussion (Spoile

Just got back from seeing. Very fun; in many ways stronger, though in a few weaker than the first film.

First off, good god are the sections with Smaug fantastic. I knew it would be good, but within five minutes I was ready to declare him the best LOTR film villain. Voice work was tremendous as expected but the expressions of him were a really pleasant surprise. Definitely hyped to see what he does in the first act of There and Back Again. The interesting characterizations of all the various other players (The Master of Laketown, Bard, Thranduil) also really fleshed out Middle Earth too.

The more consistent tone was a nice change of pace from the constant shifts of An Unexpected Journey and the build towards an actual real conclusion (the Lonely Mountain) was clearly preferred to the more awkward finish of the first film.

It does suffer in comparison to AUJ with too many simultaneous plot threads and slightly less organic character development. The stuff with Tauriel and Kili almost works given the chemistry of the actors, but still comes across as rushed and given the major plots going on with Smaug and the Necromancer a bit out of place. I suspect much of it is leading towards the elves involvement with the battle of the five armies, but we'll see.

Overall though very solid, and with enough elements to put it above the first film.
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Old December 14 2013, 03:20 AM   #11
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Re: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - Grading & Discussion (Spoile

An improvement on the first one in terms of pacing, and with a number of very strong setpieces. At the same time, the movie doesn't end, it just stops.

I give credit to Richard Armitage, who really carries this movie for me. The other dwarves apart from the old guy are still pretty interchangeable. Freeman's Bilbo, despite moments of conspicuous heroism, tends to get lost a lot of the time (which makes the moments where the story switches back to him feel almost jarring), and it's kind of easy to forget that this story was originally centered around him. Legolas' appearance feels very superfluous, though I actually like new character Tauriel, even though she's stuck regurgitating a lot of the same interventionist dialogue that Galadriel and Arwen had in the original trilogy. Lee Pace as Thranduil verges on camp at a couple of points.
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Old December 14 2013, 04:08 AM   #12
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Re: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - Grading & Discussion (Spoile

C+

I tend to agree with Emh. I enjoyed the movie and visually it's impressive, not least with a character on Smaug's level, but there's a lot of unnecessary action which doesn't do anything but pad the running time of the movie. It doesn't really tie into the existing framework of the book, and that's unfortunate because I rather like Tauriel and the more sullen, angrier Legolas that we get to see. I feel like a lot more could have been done with both characters to make them seem like they fit into the story better. There are other parts of the movie which don't make much sense (the giant dwarf statue, unless I missed something - which is possible - but why did it melt and what did that accomplish since it didn't seem to harm Smaug?). I feel like there could have been less direct and obvious tie-ins to the events that come later during the War of the Ring, even if part of the goal may have been to better connect the movies for viewers who are unfamiliar with the books. But there's a span of decades between them, so it doesn't make sense to me for the Hobbit to be portrayed as a sort of direct prequel when it's not.
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Old December 14 2013, 04:52 AM   #13
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Re: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - Grading & Discussion (Spoile

B-

This is a very mixed movie. Some parts are great (most of Laketown for example - I love the Elizabethan London + canals feel to it). Jackson did a great job with Bard too. Quite frankly, I think that he did better with Bard than Tolkien did, because IIRC Bard just shows up out of nowhere as a Deus Ex Machina to kill Smaug, and only gets fleshed out later.

Thorin continues to be amazing, as does Bilbo. Smaug was also very well-done, though I'd have preferred of more of Cumberbatch's voice came in through Smaug. There were a few bits where it still felt like Cumberbatch, but for the most part if felt generically dragon. I did have some flashbacks to the Draigoch fight in LOTRO throughout though in that gold was heavily involved, as well as a smug snake of a dragon taunting the heroes - which makes sense since Draigoch was heavily based on Smaug.

The Dol Guldur sequences were also incredibly well-done. I liked the Sauron came across as a credible threat again, in a way that he hasn't since Fellowship of the Ring (though zooming the Russian Dolls sequence got a bit laughable). Shape-shifting shadow of doom is definitely scarier than an eyeball lighthouse.

However, I completely agree on the pre-elf bits in Mirkwood and with Beorn. They could have cut off a huge part of the barrel sequence to expand it and really establish the otherworldly feel of the place. I suppose that the spider fight wasn't as necessary this time around since Bilbo had already found his courage in battle, but I'd have liked to see him invisibly sneaking around and taunting them as he killed them.

Kili and Tauriel just got old fast. I prefer the quick-witted-but-naive Kili from the first movie rather than the lovestruck Kili from this one (well, at least post-Tauriel). Also, dick jokes? Really?

However, these complaints completely pale to that incredibly, insanely, utterly stupid action sequence with Smaug at the end. I'll grant you that getting to the guard tower was intelligent, and getting to the forges made a great deal of sense as well (though they should have still been charbroiled when Smaug lit them). However, everything from that point on was downright cartoonish. Bombur working the bellows by riding up and down a chain? Huge rivers of molten gold, with Thorin sailing it in a wheelbarrow?! And worse, given how he was running with it, this was his plan!? And the culmination was a not-before-established mold for a giant dwarf statue that was solid enough to stand for several minutes but molten enough to completely pool over the bottom of the room? And it was utterly pointless because Smaug shook off all of the gold anyway at the end?

Ugh. It doesn't ruin the movie for me, but it was the weakest point in arguably the entire saga. Second at absolute best (the skull cascade in Return of the King is the only other contender).
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Old December 14 2013, 05:31 AM   #14
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Re: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - Grading & Discussion (Spoile

First of all I want to say I had no problem with an Unexpected Journey. I liked all the exposition. If I'm going to stick with characters throughout 3 movies, I want to know them. Even more so if they are characters belonging to a beloved book I grew up with. In fact, the parts of the movie the critics wanted more of (ie the action in the last hour) were the weakest parts for me.

So that being said, this theatrical cut of DoS was almost like an extended teaser for me. I was blaringly obvious that so many character-developing scenes were cut to make this an action-packed movie. In no other theatrical Jackson Middle Earth movie have I felt so frustrated. Now I'm waiting for the Extended Edition. Its kinda like a cruel joke - I have to wait for the movie all over again.

Its really obvious in the first hour. Everything is rushed until they get in the barrels. Beorn's sequence seems almost unnecessary in the context of this film; almost as if its just a motel for food and a nap. There is certainly much more here.

Mirkwood too is WAY to fast. So hurried I was kinda shocked. Its supposed to be a long, claustrophobic, desperate trek. I KNOW there will be more here. The writers have already said Bombur falling in the enchanted stream and then carried by the others will be in the EE. (Anyone else notice that Bombur is the only dwarf who has yet to have a single line?)

Inside Thranduil's palace should have a little more of Bilbo sneaking around and formulating his escape plan. The elves trade with laketown isn't made clear, plus the ones in the barrel room just seem to suddenly appear to be in a drunken stupor. (anyone else recall Legolas and Gimli's drinking contest in the Two Towers EE? it takes A LOT to get an elf drunk)

Once the company gets into Laketown things get better. However Bard needs more characterization, especially amongst his children. There also needs to be a little more explanation why he has so much friction with the Mayor of Laketown and his lackeys.

Finally there's Gandalf in Dol Guldor. As it stands this seems almost shoe-horned into the film. It doesn't stand alone very well; if you didn't pay attention to the White Council scene in AUJ or know how this will play out during for the next movie and beyond in the LOTR, I can certainly imagine at novice fan being a little lost.

So yes, I eagerly await the EE. While AUJ only had about 10 minutes of extra footage (mostly extending scenes by a minute here, a minute there), I would not be surprised if Desolation will have 20 minutes or more.

But that's what I hope for in the future. As for what I witnessed tonight, I give it a B. As I mentioned, some points were lost because of the rushed beginning and the lacking Dol Guldur sequence. The scenery and details, as always is spectacular. The spider confrontation was even creepier and better than I expected. Richard Armitage shines in this one. Thorin pretty much dominates the film. Bilbo plays a more supporting role, at least until he's inside the Lonely Mountain. And I will join the chorus in saying Smaug is absolutely wonderful.

Although an ENORMOUS Tolkien fan, I'm not such a purist to disregard a movie's liberties. I liked the orcs/elves/dwarves in a barrel scene (although Bombour's literal barrel-roll was pretty ludicrous). I didn't mind Bard's ancestor opening up Smaug's vulnerable spot, rather than it just being an opening in his gem-encrusted belly. However, I did not like the Kili/Tauriel romance. If it was one-sided, that would have been fine, but being mutual was just - uggg - mush. This was just exasperated with it forcing Tauriel's presence in Laketown. That I DID NOT LIKE at all. Plus the mutual affection kinda cheapens the Gimli/Legolas bonding which happens in LOTR. So that was my biggest peeve. It made an A- film turn into a B-

Jackson has said that the theatrical cuts are for movie fans and the EEs are for Tolkien fans. So I guess my real critique will have to wait...(good god)... a year.
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Old December 14 2013, 07:00 AM   #15
DarthPipes
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Re: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - Grading & Discussion (Spoile

After complaining about it nonstop for the past year, I ended up seeing the film. WAY too long and far from perfect but I enjoyed it more than the last one. There was a number of good things, like the awesome barrel sequence. That whole stretch was pretty funny.

Freeman continues to nail it as Bilbo, even with the film forgetting he's the main star at times. Cumberbatch did a great job as the voice of Smaug. Evangeline Lilly's character was pretty good and I'm glad to see that go off well. After being a absolute brooding bore for the first movie and a half, Thorin FINALLY shows some charisma and badassness in the last half of the movie. Before that I wondered why the dwarves even bothered to hang around him. The spider sequence and Bilbo being a badass was pretty cool too.

However, The Hobbit is ultimately done in by the decisions of Peter Jackson. While an improvement, The Hobbit never should have been turned into a trilogy. It's a whimsical story about Bilbo Baggins and no matter what Jackson does, it's not going to be as epic or important as The Lord of the Rings. It's his massive love affair with his fading directing skills that led him to this decision and his inability to edit his films hurt it further. The end battle wasn't bad but dragged on forever.

On the bright side, between Smaug's attack on Lake Town, the rest of the Dol Goldur stuff and the Battle of the Five Armies, part three should be a roller coaster.
Do you REALLY believe that? I see the opening battle with Smaug lasting no less than forty minutes because Peter Jackson doesn't edit his movies. The film should be a roller coast but I wouldn't be surprised if it cracks the three hour mark.

I hope one day they'll decide to do a true, one-movie remake of The Hobbit. Based on the book and not the considerable ego of Peter Jackson.
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