Date Posted: 2013-12-24
Tolkien Fan Level: 7
Film Format Seen? 2D 24 fps
Will view again in a different format? Yes
I really enjoyed the first film, but I thought this one was better in a number of ways, especially in terms of pacing and mood (though there were a few places where it felt as if scenes would be inserted for the EE). I loved Tauriel as a character and as a potential role model for young girl viewers, and I appreciated that she did not seem like a carbon copy of any of the (few) other female characters shown in Jackson's Middle Earth films so far. I loved Thranduil despite that I really did not expect to; I think Lee Pace did an amazing job, as he made his character clearly differentiated from other Elves we've seen. Beorn's design probably would have bothered me had I not seen it in advance, but since I'd had time to get used to it I wasn't fazed. The acting was uniformly great, I loved Smaug's design, and the score was fantastic. It had plenty of work with themes developed purely for this trilogy. The plot divergences from the book were interesting and in some cases unexpected, but I didn't find them jarring at all. Occasionally I had to suspend disbelief, as a few parts don't necessarily play out logically, but this isn't something that bothers me. The movie was fun, but I feel it had enough emotional weight thanks to how characters like Thorin, Balin, and Bard were portrayed.
If I have any complaints they have to do with taking certain characters and certain parts of the action scenes just...a little over the top, and with some parallels to LOTR which were maybe unnecessary and puzzling. These didn't ruin the movie for me at all, though! On the whole I definitely loved it a lot, and a few of the changes might sit a bit easier with me once I see it again--I'm planning to see it at least once or twice more in theatres, and then of course many times more once I own a copy.
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