48, Laguna Hills
Date Posted: 2013-12-20
Tolkien Fan Level: 5
Film Format Seen? Imax 3D 48 fps
Will view again in a different format? Yes
This film is set at a much faster pace and at times feels like we are on a roller coaster ride, probably because the Barrels out of Bond sequence is clearly set up like a water park ride. Because of the pace, we don't get as many character points, at least not with the existing characters, and Beorn doesn't get that much time. Although the time we spend with Beorn gives us exactly what we need from him and there is no question where he stands in the grand scheme of things. We do spend a lot of time with the Mirkwood Elves, at least with Legolas, Tauriel and Thranduil, but the Dwarves do not spend that much time there, and I have no idea how Bilbo is able to come up with his plan in such a short amount of time and eavesdropping. Instead, we spend time with Tauriel and Kili, which in this instance is not a terrible thing. Both are young and curious about other races and cultures, something many people can identify with and the sequence is well handled. What comes later when Kili is injured, not so much, it does get a bit silly. It is also clear that neither Thranduil nor Thorin can get past their distrust and stubbornness, but we do finally find out more of why Thranduil did not intercede during the destruction of Erebor, he's encountered dragons before and did not come out unscathed. But Thranduil did seem a little surprised at the level of Thorin's anger, clearly a sign that he's been hiding his head in the sands of Mirkwood for so long he has no idea of out to interact with other races at all any longer. The fact that the intel he gathers from the captured Orc should be acted upon rather than ignored as he plans to do is another sign. Somehow he thinks that as long as he protects his borders he can keep his Elves safe, but I think we all recognize the folly in that. Mirkwood already seems unsafe, and it's getting worse. Oh well, all that is left behind with the escape of the Dwarves and the ensuing chase by both Orcs and Elves. Fun ride, how is it that the only arrow to actually hit a Dwarf came when one of them got out of the moving barrels and the rest of the time the Orcs couldn't hit a mark to save their lives? Again with the not as dangerous as you think type of action, no consequences for the Dwarves. Same holds true when they get inside Erebor. How can a Dragon the size of a 747 not step on at least one of them, or burn any of them? Thorin gets singed a bit, and that's it. Heck, Thorin even dances on the snout of Smaug and escapes. As impressive as Smaug is, this downplays his danger level a lot as the Dwarves lead him on a merry little chase through the halls of their homeland. But let's backtrack to Lake-town for a moment, what a decrepit place, maybe it should burn down. Sure, there are people there, but it is long past it's prime, to be sure. Bard is delightfully grim, as he is supposed to be, but based on realism because he understands the situation in a way everyone else is willing to overlook. And Bard's family is wonderful and gives the character so much more depth. We will care as Smaug heads across the lake, we know the stakes now and this will be a very exciting start to the final film. Oh, and the fact we already hate the Master and Alfrid, just means we will relish them getting their comeuppance. Now back to that Dragon, and Bilbo's tete a tete with him. Pretty much all of it is straight out of the book, except of the fact that Smaug senses the Ring and can by sheer force of will get Bilbo to take it off. This really helps Gandalf's theory that the Dragon could be used by Sauron because he is already acting like a Servant of Evil. Which brings us to Gandalf facing off against the now revealed Sauron. That duel of Light and Dark was rather awesome, and was clearly Gandalf trying to get the Necromancer to reveal his true nature. Now to see if Radagast can rouse the White Council and what that is going to look like. So while I liked a lot of this film, and thought some of it silly or illogical, it did make me eager for how everything will be wrapped up in the end.
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