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Ringer Reviews - The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

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Ringer Review - NAME

Old Took

Date Posted: 2013-12-24
Tolkien Fan Level: 5
Film Format Seen? 3D 24 fps
Will view again in a different format? No

First of all, this is from a Tolkien fan since I was 12 years old (back in 1978). I have waited a long time to see a non-animated movie of The Hobbit, but sadly have to say that as cheesy as Rankin/Bass can sometimes be, it’s the far superior and preferred version if you ask me.

As always, for the Peter Jackson sets, locations, costumes, effects, etc., are dynamite. It’s the story deviations, improbable scenarios, and way over the top action sequences that kill me. The spider sequence was the best part, though too short, and Bilbo really didn’t get his hero moment that he gets in the book.
I just can’t forgive this movie all of its indiscretions, as I think they could make a movie that would please many (aka The Fellowship of the Ring) and still make plenty of money. This version makes it seem all about the money, but there is a real dichotomy here as I really do think Peter Jackson and crew all have their hearts in the right place, they just went off the rails with this one. He tries so many times to parallel the LOTR trilogy moments where they just don’t need to be. The similarities between Tauriel and Arwen make them seem basically the same character, and the part where she is healing Kili is just like the Frodo moment at the Ford.

I couldn’t believe they would split up the dwarves between Laketown and the mountain, and all that stuff at the end with Smaug vs. dwarves was just totally out there to me. Again, someone dances on the dragons mouth and no one gets hurt? I saw amusement park rides and Lego sets all over the place.
And why doesn’t Bilbo ever put on the ring? He looks like an idiot most of the time seeming to always just remember at the last moment that he has a magic ring that makes him invisible. At this point, he doesn’t know it has the potential to corrupt him, so why not use it all the time? Since Jackson has no problems deviating from the original story or establishing any other continuity (aka Sauron being revealed), why not just do away with ring-vision in this trilogy so the ring can be used once in a while? I would even be fine if we (audience) could see Bilbo, but others could not, or do some transparent thing kind of like in the movie “Predator”. The audience doesn’t have to see everything out of Bilbo’s “ring vision” eyes.

And Gandalf – what an idiot he appears to be in this film! “Never mind Radagast, I’ll go it alone into Dol Guldur even though I know it’s a trap!” So Sauron easily breaks Gandalf’s staff and imprisons him. Why not just kill Mr. Bond if you can, Dr.Evil??? Also, though readers know that the Necromancer is ultimately revealed to be Sauron, the White Council group supposedly had no clue. If Jackson wants to establish continuity with the beginning of Fellowship, it’s totally filled with nonsensical inconsistencies now.

But here I go, applying logic to Hollywood where none exists. Oh well, I’ll always have the books. I just need to get these visions out of my head! Don’t think that I didn’t go into these movies with an open mind though. I can understand and appreciate different interpretations, it’s just unfortunate to me that we live in a time where I’m very excited that these movies can be made, yet very disappointed that the studios push almost EVERYTHIHG out there that’s “fantasy”to be a superhero movie. Take a note from the creators of “Game of Thrones”. It doesn’t have to be filled with adult material, but just smartly written and presented – so you can believe this world exists. I remember first seeing AUJ and watching the “bunny sled” chase, thinking, who on earth pitched that idea to Peter Jackson? Then I see in the appendicies of AUJ that it was Peter Jackson himself! The crew even says they thought it was a joke, but just like George Lucas finally being too big for his britches when he created, “The Phantom Menace”, no one can stand up to these guys once they’ve made it this big and say, “You know Peter, this bunny sled idea is incredibly lame, it’s way out of the Tolkien realm and I suggest you change it.”

I do understand now though that these movies are not being made for me as I am way too old of a demographic for them to shoot for. This movie is mainly for 8-12 year olds who have either not read or have any investment in the books. It will make a ton of money, and sadly, I’m partially responsible for that as I rushed out to see it on opening day at the IMAX –even though I was disappointed in AUJ, I thought, if I get a good Bilbo/Smaug sequence, I can forgive a lot. I will not however be rushing out to see the 3rd installment. I feel no compelling reason to watch Bard shoot a ginormous harpoon into Smaug, and then sit through 2.5 hours of Legolas shield surfing at “The Battle of Five Armies”.

Better titles would have been: “The Hobbit: Die Harder” , “Hobbit of Steel” , “Bilbo: First Blood Part 2”, or “The Amazing Legolas Man”.

The Ratings
The Other Ratings
Martin Freeman 's performance as Bilbo Baggins?
How would you rate Luke Evan's performance as Bard??
The Overall representation of The Dwarves ?
How would you rate Benedict Cumberbatch's' performance as Smaug?
Ian McKellen's performance as Gandalf?
How would you rate Lee Pace's performance as Thranduil?
How would you rate Orlando Bloom's performance as Legolas?
How would you rate Evangeline Lilly's performance as Tauriel?
How would you rate Stephen Fry's performance as Master of Lake-Town?
Did you think Tauriel was a welcome addition to the film?
How would you rate Beorn?
How would you rate the scene with the Spiders?
How would you rate the imprisonment/escape sequence?
Did you like the Necromancer being discovered by Gandalf as Sauron?
Did the movie fairly portray the character arc of Thorrin?
How would you rate Lake-Town?
How would you rate the burglar interchange between Bilbo and Smaug?
How would you rate revisiting Bree?
How happy are you with the attempts to tie The Hobbit back to the Lord of the Rings?
Did you enjoy seeing Gandalf visit Gol Duldor and The Tombs?
Did you like the splitting of the company of Dwarves?
Did Smaug live up to your expectations?
How would you rate the ending of the movie; in regards to leading well into the next film, and serving as a good ending point.
Is DOS a better film than AUJ?
The overall pace of the film.

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