Date Posted: 2013-12-24
Tolkien Fan Level: 8
Film Format Seen? Imax 3D
Will view again in a different format? No
What could have been otherwise a strong adversary to the original LotR movies. Smaug suffers from two fatal blows, lack consistency and too much reminiscence.
It is quite obvious from the editing of the movies and sets that the decision of switching to a trilogy had a bigger effect on this one than on AUJ. The movie is filled with scenes that just look that they were specifically added as fillers (I would even say the final showdown with Smaug was one of them). The movie's consistency and pace suffered a lot from these extra scenes. You have a movie with some great sequences and breathtaking sets, yet unable to utilize them to create a masterpiece, as it's forced to drag other weaker aspects along for the sake of screen time. I see some selective character development, mainly focusing on Bilbo, Thorin, Kili and Tauriel. Less focus on Bofur and Balin. Adding the Legolas/Bolg feud mostly feels like filling time. I did enjoy Tauriel (Except for the Arwen-ish scene) and Legolas' re-entry, I just hoped they would be better executed or at least receiving a bit more attention. Surprisingly, I did not have a problem with the movies ending, if anything, it at least guarantees a pretty busy movie in the third installment. Smaug was pretty damn awesome if you overlook the fact that he's not really as dangerous as he claims to be, failing to harm anyone in the last third of the movie, you kinda expect the dragon everyone has been waiting for to be a bit more decisive. On the plus side, Howard Shore's music this time is simply stunning, while it's questionable why the Misty Mountain's theme wasn't used at all. It's still pretty great. I would've like a more epic theme for Smaug instead of the overly eastern psychological one. Anyway, enough with the rambling, and nitpicking aside, This movie is definitely better than AUJ, in almost everything, and it holds a good promise that the third installment will be even better. P.S. I did not mind the detours from the original Tolkien story, I always felt The Hobbit was Tolkien's weakest link in the legendarium, and no matter how hard he tries, I don't think it will fit quite right.
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