Date Posted: 2012-12-17
Tolkien Fan Level: 6
Film Format Seen? 3D 48 fps
Will view again in a different format? Yes
Now that this is "officially" released, I'm going to post my review. I saw this almost 2 weeks ago at the Weta Crew Screening and overall, I did really enjoy it. Martin Freeman is perfect as the young Bilbo, he is everything I was hoping he was going to be and more. Again, of course, Ian McKellen IS Gandalf, I can't think of anyone else playing that character, ever. The 13 Dwarves are all excellent, each one is an individual and has a distinct personality, which is lacking in the book. As their leader, Thorin, Richard Armitage is very good, he embodies that bitter, angry person who must succeed in his mission at all costs.
Peter Jackson has again created a world that these characters inhabit perfectly and it was great to see Middle-Earth on screen again. This film follows the novel pretty much page for page, but there are "added" sections from other sources and for the most part, these work really well. The scenes with the White Council are very good and as are the scenes with Radagast the Brown and the introduction of the "Dark Forces" that have invaded Mirkwood. But, the true highlight for me was the Riddles in the Dark scenes with Bilbo and Gollum. Gollum is still one of the best digital characters ever on screen and he is even better here. Andy Serkis has just stepped back into the feet of Gollum and at times his performance is heartbreaking. The shot when he realises he has lost the ring is incredible. Now, down to the things that did not work so well for me, there aren't many, but they did pull me out of the film. Firstly, the Azog character. Great concept, not that convincing. He his either a fully digital character or an actor in body prosethetics with a digital "make-up". His head was an obvious computer generated effect, he suffered from my two big "no-nos" when it comes to CGI, too smooth skin and whats called the "Nutcracker Mouth". He is onscreen with characters shot onset and beside them, he does not quite look right. Secondly, The Goblin Town. This was always one of my favorite parts of the book so I was really looking forward to it. I did like the idea of the town itself, but I was not happy with the goblins themselves, especiially the Great Goblin. After the cool Moria Goblins in FotR, these ones just felt too cartoony. The Great Goblin was too big and too silly. I have also taken off 1/2 a star for the fact I felt there was far too many fight scenes, it felt like one fight after another in the second half, it got a bit exhausting. When it came down to the 3D and HFR, I had no problem with these, its the best use of 3D I've seen and I couldn't even see the HFR at all. So, overall, a totally enjoyable film, a great addition to the series and a really exciting new advance in filmmaking. Don't let the critics put you off, see it in 3D, see it in the HFR, make sure you see it in a theatre with a great sound system, just sit back, let yourself be emersed in the world and the characters and be totally entertained. Bring on December next year.
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