Date Posted: 2013-12-24
Tolkien Fan Level: 8
Film Format Seen? 3D 48 fps
Will view again in a different format? Yes
'The Desolation of Smaug' is an excellent part two of 'The Hobbit!' The movie proved to be more true to the book than many are making it out to be.
When analyzing the scenes in the movie with Gandalf and Radagast at Dol Guldur, with Azog and Bolg at Beorn's house and at Dol Guldur, with Thranduil, Legolas and Tauriel in Mirkwood and in Laketown, and scenes with Bard, many people are complaining that the characters or scenes are not in the book. This true - partially. "The Hobbit" eludes to Gandalf going on a separate task while the dwarves head through Mirkwood. There are also references in the Silmarillion and in the Lord of the Rings indexes that mention Gandalf, Dol Guldur, and the Necromancer/Sauron, all fitting the timeline of Gandalf's departure in The Hobbit. So, in fact, these scenes are accurate partially to "The Hobbit," but are mainly derived from other Tolkien books - so true Tolkien fans would/should not criticize the movie for including them. There is also mention of Azog, the White Orc/The Defiler in The Hobbit, and he and Bolg are also mentioned in other literary works of J.R.R. Tolkien and Christopher Tolkien. Once again, true Tolkien fans would/should not criticize the movie for including these scenes. The scenes with Thranduil, Legolas, Tauriel and Bard are a different story, but when analyzed and considered, the criticisms they are receiving are not justified either. J.R.R. Tolkien wrote "The Hobbit" from Bilbo's perspective - that is, "The Hobbit" is supposed to be the first section of Bilbo's 'Red Book,' 'There and Back Again, A Hobbit's Holiday.' This means that everything included in "The Hobbit" by J.R.R. Tolkien is only what Bilbo himself experienced or was made aware of at some point. With that aspect of "The Hobbit" in mind, the scenes with Thranduil, Legolas, Tauriel and Bard are not wrong or deviating from the story - they are simply characters and events that Bilbo was not aware of, and hence did not record in "The Hobbit" aka 'There and Back Again, A Hobbit's Holiday.' In the movie, the only major deviation from the book that cannot be explained by other works of Tolkien or by Bilbo's lack of awareness is the extended time Smaug spends in Erebor. Not only does Bilbo have direct interaction with Smaug, but the dwarves enter Erebor before Smaug leaves, and there is an action packed sequence in which the dwarves try to escape, then try to kill Smaug. Though this extension is not in the book, it is not necessarily a negative addition/deviation. Peter Jackson's Smaug is a masterpiece, and the extra time in Erebor with the dwarves gives him more screen time. If the scenes with Smaug played out in the movie as they do in the book, Smaug would enter and exit the movie far too quickly. The creative license Jackson took with the added scenes opened the door to Smaug's character development. Ultimately, 'The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug' is an outstanding second film in 'The Hobbit' trilogy. If you are a fan of "The Hobbit" by J.R.R. Tolkien, and of his other literary works, this movie is sure to thrill!
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