Date Posted: 2013-12-24
Tolkien Fan Level: 9
Film Format Seen? 2D 24 fps
Will view again in a different format? No
Demonstrates everything that is good and bad about Hollywood. Huge budget, high production values, and all the CGI/modeling/attention to detail that that buys on the one side, juxtaposed against the philosophy that bigger is better, action is more important than characters, and exposition trumps nuance on the other. As a fan of fantasy, I thought the movie was excellent, though the Smaug chase/golden statue sequence seemed random and required more than the normal suspension of disbelief. As a fan of Tolkien, I thought it a self-indulgent, commercially-driven travesty. PJ's arrogance and genius is bared for all to see, from making himself the very first person you see to a Laketown so detailed you can smell the fish. PJ said he changed the story to make a better movie, and that explains his entire approach. This is not The Hobbit, it's PJ using certain set pieces and characters from the book to tell his own story. I wish he would have left those set pieces and characters out of his movie, but I am also thankful for a great fantasy movie that was worth the price of admission. Perhaps he did make a better movie than the book would if a director were to generally follow it, we won't know until somebody does make that movie. But until then, this was a very enjoyable film that, setting the book by the door (and from time to time swallowing the bile that might come up), can be appreciated in its own right.
Bottom line: better than the last movie, still a far cry from his LOTR movies. The biggest casualty of this movie, more so than some fans feeling that their beloved story has been hijacked by Hollywood, is that the Estate will no doubt use this film to buttress its arguments that Hollywood should never get the rights to The Silmarillion. The entire breathtaking, heart pounding, riveting Smaug fiasco alone guarantees that.
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