Date Posted: 2013-12-24
Tolkien Fan Level: 7
Film Format Seen? Imax 3D
Will view again in a different format? Yes
Seen twice now, standard 3D and IMAX.If you can get to an IMAX theatre do so- the film looked magnificent well worth the extra money.
A long term Tolkien fan I generally I try to lay my hands on as many spoilers as possible so changes won't annoy me and get me thinking "that didn't happen"- similarly I have always enjoyed 2nd and subsequent viewings of PJ's Middle Earth movies more. My favourite part of the film was the visit to Thranduil's halls, and the king himself. In all of the previous films the only elves were ever get to know are Lords, Ladies,captains, princes etc and the others are an interchangable, etherial background fodder (esp LOTR Rivendell) Seeing the "grunts" and getting to know a more lowly elf character made the elves more beleivable. Lee Pace as Thranduil was everything I had ever imagined, haughty, wise yet quick tempered and fierce. Tolkien did not write much about Thranduil and Lee Pace seems to have done a bit of reading of the Silmarrillion as he would have made a perfect Elu Thingol. An imperious nature and lack of respect for Dwarves and men, he trusts and loves his people and no-one else. Martin Freeman does brilliantly again, particularly in the "ring" scenes where he starts to fall under its influence. Ian McKellan's Gandalf as twinkly eyed and grumpy as ever. The Dwarves: LOVE Dwalin, he just gets more and more Surly and Dwarvish- for him travel DOES NOT broaden the mind! Thorin is consistently driven though I disliked him giving up so quickly at the hidden door, it gave Bilbo a moment to shine but the drama was just not required. Bombur gets more to do (though still no lines). Thorin also seems to switch moods very quickly, though this is down more to editing than RA's performance. Gloin has a few funny moments. The Men. Beorn seems to have had his screen time chopped enormously hopefully we see much more of him in the EE. Bard and Esgaroth, liked the snivelly assistant to the Master lets hope Smaug fries him! Bard having more of a backstory works for me, in the book he just suddenly appears to save the day (maybe he is an Eagle in disguise). The laketown welcoming of the dwarves was well done, I like the Master letting his greed overcome his fears. Smaug. Awesome, what made the IMAX format so wonderful to see. WETA have done a great job with digital characters (Gollum) and monsters (Cave Troll, Balrog) but here is the apotheosis of their art a mind-bogglingly huge monster dragon who is also a character. BC's voice work is nop notch and shows how sly and cruel Smaug is, not just physically dangerous. The design change to a four limbed wyvern/dragon bothers me not at all and as a biologist it is more realistic as six-limbed vertebrates don't exist. PJ has tilted more towards out and out fantasy in TH compared to LOTR but this was a correct tilt towards realism. Bolg/Azog/Sauron. Liked rather than loved it all, though I am really hoping they don't merge the attack on Dol Goldur with the Battle of Five armies (ie Erebor attacked from the South rather than the North).I can see how this simplifies the plot for non-book readers but I would not like it, it is too similar to having the army of the dead show up at Minas Tirith.
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