Date Posted: 2013-12-21
Tolkien Fan Level: 8
Film Format Seen? 2D 24 fps
Will view again in a different format? Yes
Disclaimer: I come from a very Tolkien rich background, ever since Jackson's trilogy I've immersed myself in Arda from The Silmarillion to the Histories of Middle-Earth and beyond. Note that I mention Jackson's trilogy, so I will be a little biased on how I tackle this, given that I owe a lot to the man that might have changed my life for the better with those films.
To make this as short as possible, I'll give you what it is. An adaptation, one which is not very true to the books but is not entirely outside the realm of possibilities. This chapter of Jackson's Trilogy introduces a number of subplots which are not in the books. Whether these are of any relevance is subjective, I personally feel they add a much needed depth to the narrative which was missing in the first film. However, do not fret. These sub-plots are minor and do not take away from the spirit of the main plot, they actually add things nicley as it will (eventually) tie in comfortably with the Lord of the Rings. So expect more backstory and more Middle-Earth. There are things that these sub-plots will cut short. So I might have to take back from my previous statement, it all depends on your taste. Beorn is given very little time and that was dissapointing as he's perhaps the best side-character in the Hobbit. But Jackson choses to sacrafice this in turn to give far more focus on Mirkwood and Laketown, a sacrafice I feel was necessary. The scene with Smaug is what you will want, but it carries on into a very well done action sequence that lasts at least fifteen minutes. It was the highlight of the film, in my opinion. What I love about this adaptation is that is shines the light on many other characters, not just Bilbo, and so you will actually care for these Dwarves, Men and Elves and everything that happens to the world. Their quest is not just a cool adventure, it is given the weight it deserves as we are shown the consequences of what would happen if it were not to be. So don't worry about Bilbo not playing his part of the story, I think he does much more here than he does in the books, action not included. I enjoy each and every character in here far more than I ever did in the Hobbit. They are given personalities and are brought to life with amazing acting. Since I'm on about backstory, the whole thing with Dol Guldur might piss off a few people. The Istari aren't supposed to battle Sauron head on, yet here we have a confrontation between Gandalf and the Necromancer. Though, to be fair, it was more an act of self defence, though someone might argue Gandalf's wisdom by 'going in alone.' Overall I loved this film. It cut the river into streams which all joins together in the end. And though it does deviate from the book, I think they are changes for the better and do not take away from the spirit or message of the Hobbit. You'll care for characters more, Thorin shows signs of his madness and the Dwarves are awesome as always.
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