The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - Grading & Discussion (Spoilers)

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Skywalker, Dec 8, 2013.

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How would you grade [i]The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug[/i]?

  1. A+

    6.6%
  2. A

    25.6%
  3. A-

    19.8%
  4. B+

    13.2%
  5. B

    14.0%
  6. B-

    1.7%
  7. C+

    5.8%
  8. C

    6.6%
  9. C-

    2.5%
  10. D+

    2.5%
  11. D

    0.8%
  12. D-

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  13. F

    0.8%
  1. Unicron

    Unicron Continuity Spackle Moderator

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    Re: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - Grading & Discussion (Spoile

    That was Colbert? I didn't recognize him if so, but it's only a few seconds worth of screen time.
     
  2. Shanndee

    Shanndee Commodore Commodore

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    Re: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - Grading & Discussion (Spoile

    I loved all of the scenes with Smaug, and the fun of the barrel scene. However, the rest left me a little cold. As one of my friends said, "I feel like I've been cheated out of a fantastic stand alone movie in favour of 3 studio dictated mediocre movies." She is waiting to stream the third movie when it becomes available.

    I will go the the theatre for the third, but I too mourn the loss of the truly amazing stand alone single film.
     
  3. Daddy Todd

    Daddy Todd Fleet Captain Premium Member

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    Re: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - Grading & Discussion (Spoile

    I give it a C. Pretty much exactly what I expected, based on the first one -- endless pointless action scenes with nothing even remotely resembling an ending. It just stops.

    Over dinner after the movie, my friends and I decided we would love to see a "compacted" version of all three movies, running a couple hours, with just the stuff actually in the novel. Even better, a version based on the First Edition of the novel, before Tolkien revised it to better dovetail with LOTR.
     
  4. DigificWriter

    DigificWriter Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - Grading & Discussion (Spoile

    There was never going to be a single Hobbit film, at least not from this particular creative team. The plan from the very beginning was always to do multiple movies under the 'Hobbit' banner; the only thing that changed was the number of movies.
     
  5. Turtletrekker

    Turtletrekker Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - Grading & Discussion (Spoile

    I think that it could have made two amazing films, but clearly it's stretched too thin at three.
     
  6. DarthPipes

    DarthPipes Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - Grading & Discussion (Spoile

    If Jackson had wanted to do one movie, they could have done one movie.

    I get why someone would want to stretch it out to two movies. From an economic standpoint, it's the last chance for the studio to really do a trilogy based off of Tolkein's stuff. You would pretty much have to completely invent stuff after The Hobbit. I was starting to warm up to two movies before the three movie fiasco was announced. With two movies you can pick up the Gandalf storyline and he doesn't disappear for half the film. But sadly the opportunity for one great film (2 1/2 to 3 hours long) has been lost and that's a shame.
     
  7. Wereghost

    Wereghost Part-time poltergeist Rear Admiral

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    Re: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - Grading & Discussion (Spoile

    I think this is a significant improvement on its predecessor. That was a fine movie, but it did have its problems, such as the feeling of watching a collection of set pieces instead of a narrative. With a few possible minor exceptions, TDoS doesn't suffer from that, feeling narratively focused at all times (despite, paradoxically, also feeling like it's all middle with no beginning or ending). It also dumps pretty much all of the silliness. (Cockney trolls and goblin singing took me out of the first movie, but this one is devoid of such clangers.)

    It's certainly the most "action movie" of the Middle Earth films, but in Jackson's hands this is no bad thing, with some truly stunningly choreographed fight scenes. Legolas and Tauriel are as badass as they come, with the former having his best scenes here both as a character (I never thought I'd say this, but I was impressed by Orlando Bloom's acting) and as an action hero. Both Leggy and Tauriel are basically superheroes, and it works like a dream.

    Lee Pace was impressive as the regal but ruthless Thranduil, with the Mirkwood scenes adding much-needed texture to the proceedings. Mirkwood itself was splendidly crafted, but I think Laketown may well be WETA's best-realised environment to date, feeling as it does like a living, breathing village with its rowboats ands its close-knit structure, complete with walls rife for the scaling and rooftops rife for the running across. I'm actually looking forward to seeing what the video game industry does with this movie.

    Kudos too for Richard Armitage's Thorin, a character we can respect and care about if not sympathise with or like; and for the magnificent Smaug, voiced with oily imperious malice by Benedict Cumberbatch. The Smaug sequence does perhaps go on a few minutes too long, but even combined with the notable dimness of this already visually dark movie when watching with 3D glasses, that doesn't bring this viewer's rating below an A. I'm looking forward to seeing it in 2D, and at home in both theatrical and extended cuts. Haven't checked out the appendices for film 1 yet, but can hardly wait to learn more about the development of this one.
     
  8. Mr Light

    Mr Light Admiral Admiral

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    Re: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - Grading & Discussion (Spoile

    Smaug's Final Scene Cut From "There And Back Again"


    Jackson has stated that while they initially placed the scene at the end of the second movie, they decided that it didn't work with the flow of that film and they moved to the opening of the third film. But when the time came to edit the third film, they realized that they were taking too much time resolving the movie two villain rather than focusing on the third movie's plot.

    [/SIZE]
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/3265475.stm
     
  9. Wereghost

    Wereghost Part-time poltergeist Rear Admiral

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    Re: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - Grading & Discussion (Spoile

    ^ Does that mean they'll have him back for a prequel trilogy in ten years' time?
     
  10. Dac

    Dac Commodore Commodore

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    Re: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - Grading & Discussion (Spoile

    D.

    If it's called The Desolation of Smaug, I expect some fucking Desolation. Not a cut to black right before it gets there.

    That point of contention aside, the visuals were awful (I saw it in 2D), like, 60/70% of the film was completely unnecessary AND the editing was all over the place.

    Now, I'm not sure if the cinema I was at was simply showing half of a 3D projection, but that's entirely what it seemed like. There was no bokeh in shots that were out of focus, just blur. There were a few shots that seemed to have characters and objects double up briefly, and MANY shots featured the characters and other objects with extreme backlighting, almost auras around them. I assume in 3D this would enhance the layering effect, but in 2D it just looked terrible. And don't get me started on the molten gold/furnace sequence. Attack of the Clones droid factory anyone? That shot of Thorin riding the wheelbarrow along the molten river is possibly the worst VFX shot I've seen in a long long time.

    Narrative wise, I enjoyed almost everything from when they escaped the elves to the end, but everything before that seemed unnecessary. Smaug was extremely interesting to watch and I liked seeing Legolas kick some ass again (even if Orlando Bloom did look...heavier). Evangeline Lilly was also pretty pretty and I didn't hate her character either (Which is a miracle because Kate was a bitch). But...I'm not sure about almost everything before the Dwarves escaped the Elves. I really wasn't a fan of cutting to Gandalf for 30 second increments when he was investigating the Necromancer/Sauron. Stephen Fry was just playing Lord Melchett which, isn't bad, its just kind of tiresome after an hour of your ass going numb watching stuff I really couldn't care about.

    I'm sure once the entirely unnecessary third movie is out, someone out there in the realm of fandom will make a fantastic 2 hour and 30 minute single movie thats a complete narrative, but as it stands The Desolation of Smaug was just pretty horrendous.
     
  11. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    Re: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - Grading & Discussion (Spoile

    So how is that going to work? Is he just going to disapear or will they just kill him and move on in the first minutes of the movie. I haven't seen TDoS yet, but I saw a reference to the cliffhanger in a post above and I don't understand how they can resolve that if they're cutting Smaug's scenes.
    EDIT: This post is in reference to Mr. Light's post about Smaug being cut from There and Back Again.
     
  12. Mr Light

    Mr Light Admiral Admiral

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    Re: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - Grading & Discussion (Spoile

    The answer is in the links ;)
     
  13. Mr Light

    Mr Light Admiral Admiral

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    Re: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - Grading & Discussion (Spoile

    I might be in the minority opinion on this, but as much as I enjoyed the flick, and it had some great sequences, I think the first movie was a better story.

    Negatives:

    The first film had solid character arcs and a ending that gave closure, not to mention a lot of interaction between Gandalf and the Company. This movie just abruptly ends in the middle of a story when it seems to be about ten minutes away from its conclusion, which just befuddles me. I assumed that movie 2 would be about Smaug and movie 3 would be about the battle. So the best way to end movie 2 is to kill the dragon. Gives closure to the story.

    Also I was surprised see an almost complete lack of character development in this movie. Bilbo barely appears in his own starring movie. Aside from a welcome appearance from Legolas and Evangelline Lilly (and their love triangle with Kili), these characters pretty much act as plot devices.

    And Gandalf is barely in this movie, and only spends the first few scenes with the Company. I was expecting a lot more story on the Necromancer front.

    The big Bilbo/Smaug scene was completely mishandled. I found the cartoon version to be much, much better. Smaug's voice and appearance were much better in the cartoon (and I love Cumberbatch!). The treasure vault is comically huge to the point of ridiculousness. Bilbo wearing the Ring is easily located by Smaug, thus negating the entire point of his usefulness to the quest (along with tripping over all the ridiculous piles of gold ruining his stealthiness). Bilbo is terrified and speaking softly, rather than being crafty and confident and loud (as in the cartoon). I loved the way that Bilbo at this point in the story was able to deftly butter-talk Smaug like that.

    On that same note, they cut out the bit where Bilbo with the Ring terrifies the spiders and calls them names. I loved that sequence in the book.

    And they cut out the sequence where the starving mad Dwarfs are chasing through the night woods trying to crash into the Elven party which just magically disappear only to reappear a little further away. I thought that was a great and creepy introduction to the Elves. And since they're dragging this out to nine hours I'm shocked they cut out an entire sequence from the book like that :lol:

    Positives:

    The lake barrel chase was absolutely amazing, fun, and hilarious. That was a brilliantly constructed sequence. My favorite part of the entire movie was Bombur single handedly taking out about fifty Orcs while still wearing a barrel :lol: And Legolas and Tauriel were absolutely bad ass in it as well.

    I really enjoyed the added scenes of the Dwarves fleeing and fighting Smaug. I never realized this before, but in the book Thorin and Dwarves never actually encounter the dragon that they set out to destroy! This works much better. And I love the plan to drown him in molten gold.

    The spider sequence was totally creepy and disgustingly good. Particularly in HFR 3D!

    Gandalf fights Sauron! Yes! Awesome!

    I saw Stephen Colbert in Laketown! That really made me smile.

    And we got a name drop for Gimli!
     
  14. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    Re: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - Grading & Discussion (Spoile

    Ah, I see now. I just read the quotes.
     
  15. Emperor's Prize

    Emperor's Prize Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - Grading & Discussion (Spoile

    Though Gandalf wasn't in the film as much as I would have liked, I thought his scenes in the High Fells, and especially in Dol Guldur were incredible - my favorite parts of the film. The Bilbo-Smaug scenes give the Bilbo-Gollum scene a run for its money. The Tauriel-Legolas scenes gave the movie a depth and purpose. Lake Town (especially its theme) were nicely reminiscent of Rohan. I liked the continued erosion of Thorin's character, too. Nicely done there.

    All in all, this was a fun movie. No, it's not on the same level as the LOTR films. But that's hardly a serious indictment.

    Oh, and count me in as someone who absolutely LOVES the decision to make three films. While some of the sequences ran long (the barrels out of bond and dwarves vs. Smaug), I'm thrilled that we're getting an extended look at Jackson's vision of Middle Earth.
     
  16. Mr Light

    Mr Light Admiral Admiral

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    Re: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - Grading & Discussion (Spoile

    Ah yes I forgot about Gandalf going to the tomb of the Nazgul. That was a neat little scene, but the construction of that tomb was absolutely baffling :lol: Who built that, the Dunedain? Why did they make it so insanely dangerous, so bad guys couldn't visit the grave? It boggles my mind how they constructed those things safely. How did they make those rock steps going up the mountain side? Did they take separate rocks and hammer them in there?

    While we're talking construction... I was also confused by the golden statue at the end of the film but I think my friend and I worked it out.

    My interpretation: there was an empty statue mold sitting there. They lit the furnaces to melt the gold sitting in the pots and they poured that liquid gold which went into that empty mold. It sat there long enough to partially congeal but not retain structural integrity. So when they blew apart the mold and Smaug walks up to it, it managed to stay solid for a few moments before the weight of the liquid inside burst through the thin solidified exterior.
     
  17. Davros

    Davros Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Re: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - Grading & Discussion (Spoile

    It almost seems like I was watching Middle Earth slash fiction, and I thought battle barrel mode was really dumb.

    that said, Smaug was fantastic.
     
  18. timothy

    timothy Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - Grading & Discussion (Spoile

    After all the action leading up to smaug which awesome loved the barrel sceen but smaug him self stole the show :) I am fire I am death next the battle of five armies :)
     
  19. Allyn Gibson

    Allyn Gibson Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - Grading & Discussion (Spoile

    Agreed. The ideal place to end movie 2 was, in my opinion, with Smaug dead and Bilbo steeling out of Erebor with the Arkenstone. It's a good turning point.
     
  20. Mr Light

    Mr Light Admiral Admiral

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    Re: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - Grading & Discussion (Spoile

    They have their victory and you might think the story is over... and then they see the gathering armies on the horizon and flee back into Erebor.