61, West River, MD
Date Posted: 2013-12-24
Tolkien Fan Level: 7
Film Format Seen? 2D 24 fps
Will view again in a different format? No
As with "An Unexpected Journey," the first of the Hobbit films, I found myself entering a world I know from the very first frames of "The Desolation of Smaug." I felt as if I was returning "home," in a sense. I loved that we got to see more of Bree -- the overview shot of the village was wonderful -- and "The Inn at the Prancing Pony" retained its familiarity.
In a word -- I loved this film. I loved all of the information Sir Peter added from the appendices of LOTR, the further development of the characters, and the additions/changes to the basic plot/storyline of the book. I also loved the addition of Tauriel -- and how Sir Peter is using her as a means to explore further character development for Legolas, and the relationship between dwarves and elves. Smaug is everything one can hope for in a dragon -- Benedict Cumberbatch's performance is superb. The meeting between Smaug and Bilbo also is everything one could hope for -- Martin Freeman's subtle performance is incredible. In fact, I cannot find fault with any of the performances from any of the actors -- each is perfect for the role, the character, they have been cast to play. Richard Armitage gives Thorin Oakenshield the right amount of nobility and sense of dwarvish honor and pride -- while also signaling the flaw that will eventually lead to his downfall. I found myself totally and joyfully immersed in Middle Earth yet again. And, as with AUJ, I was sad to reach the end of the film, which came all too quickly, and will be counting the days until "There and Back Again" is released in 2014. I also look forward to the release of the theatrical version of DOS and, of course, the extended version on DVD. I will go see it a second time, but not in the 3D or 3D HFR version as I am not a fan of either. I am well aware of the debate over the additions, in both character and plot, that Sir Peter has made to the story of "The Hobbit." I found neither the least bit objectionable -- we have to remember that J.R.R. Tolkien did not write his stories, his books, with movies in mind -- no good writer ever does. So while the stories he has written flow well for the reader -- they do not necessarily translate well to the medium of film and story-telling through film. Sir Peter did the same thing with the three books of "Lord of the Rings." There are elements in the movie versions of the books that are not in the books themselves -- and additional character development that is not in the books. When I first learned that someone was going to attempt a "live action" version of LOTR -- I was very, very skeptical that it was possible to do the writing justice. The hair literally stood up on the back of my neck from the first frames of "Fellowship of the Ring" -- as Gandalf guides his cart down the roads of Hobbiton. It was like watching my imagination come to life on-screen -- and I knew then that this series of films was going to be something special. Trying to adapt Tolkien's work to film is a massive undertaking -- and I am so very thankful that Sir Peter and everyone involved were concerned with doing justice to the book and the story it tells. They also, in the process, have provided two Hobbit films that are a joy to watch -- just as with the LOTR movies.
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