Date Posted: 2013-12-27
Tolkien Fan Level: 6
Film Format Seen? 3D 48 fps
Will view again in a different format? Yes
Ahhhh here we are again, another Hobbit film, another review! I have seen the film twice now, first in 3D in 48fps and the second time in 2D. When I first saw An Unexpected Journey, those who have read my review know that I lambasted the high frame rate, citing it as the worst thing I'd ever seen. I swore to never see another film in 48 fps, ever. Well I am afraid I'm eating my own words: my curiosity got the better of me. I saw it first in 48 fps per second, and my goodness they've made improvements! The lighting issues have mostly been solved (things are still a bit too bright), the actors are now moving at a proper rate instead of slightly too fast, and I like the clarity, it's growing on me. The issues with make up and sets have been solved. The camera movements are still too fast and unnatural however, and the lighting still needs some work. Also, the backgrounds, how can I put this, look superimposed? There seems something fake about them in certain shots. I don't know how to describe it really.
As for the 3D and the CG, it's meant for the 48 fps. Whatever problems they had with the CG looking fake or like claymation in the first film are gone. Weta has outdone themselves! Smaug is simply amazing, incredible, I nearly thought he was real!!! He is worth the price of admission alone! And he deserves the higher frame rate! I will say that I think things look too dim and muddy in 2D, while they are too clear and bright in 48 fps. There must be a happy medium somewhere... Anyways, on to the script! My, my, my! Much too hasty with the creative licensing are we Peter? I will get my quams with the script out of the way: Elf-Dwarf love triangle is a no! Just NO!!!! This is in contradiction to even the spirit of Tolkien: we do not need this pointless sub plot, Legolas does not need Tauriel-Kili to strike up a friendship with Gimli! This is ridiculous! Phillipa Boyens, while I love your screenwriting, there has never been an Elf-Dwarf romance in the history of Tolkien, it just DOES NOT happen given their racial distrust for one another. A friendship I can see certainly, but a Romance? This whole thing with Kili and Tauriel, and Kili being poisoned by a Morgul arrow and needs to be healed by Aefalas wastes time!!!! And that's another thing: how does an Elf know how to use Aefalas? This was a generational secret passed down from father to son with the Rangers. It might make sense in FOTR for perhaps Aragorn to teach Arwen this secret since they are in love, that I'll grant you, but there is NO WAY Tauriel would know how to use this weed! This proves Ms. Boyens that you have not read, understood or respected the source material in this regard! And the Orcs attacking lake town??? And Ninja Elves hacking Orcs to bits in Lake Town??? Oh no no no! Sauron is supposed to be weak, not ready to reveal himself! Why on earth would the Orcs jeopardize their master's secrecy and vulnerability by trouncing into the world of Men and making themselves known? Absolutely not! This is just poorly thought out script writing, I expect better from Peter and Fran and Phillipa! Tauriel and Legolas should have stayed behind in Mirkwood. The Orcs should have turned back at Lake Town. This goes too far! My only other complaint is that while I don't mind the chase with Smaug inside the mountain, it goes on for too long. The entire final act of the film was filled with too much filler. Peter, Fran, Phillipa: there is nothing wrong with making a shorter film. There is nothing wrong with a two hour film. Every Tolkien film does not need to be a grandiose length, and I honestly feel this film could have been helped by cutting out the useless subplots. This film needs to be shorter. I don't think I've ever said that about a Tolkien film, but this one warrants it. Now, those four things aside, the script for the rest of the film was brilliant. I don't mind the Orcs attacking the Dwarves on the river, I actually like Tauriel as a character and think she's good addition. I just don't like the romance sub plot. Beorn, my God, why couldn't we see more of Beorn? He cries for an extended edition! Please PJ, more Beorn in the extended edition! The spiders were horrifying, perfect. Thranduil was great, and I loved the expansion on Bard's character, the Master of Lake Town etc. This is quite frankly improvement on the source material: having Bard just show up was quite frankly never one of Tolkien's greatest moments. I loved the confrontation between Gandalf and Sauron. The creative licensing with that was fantastic. The acting was solid, but the star of this film really is Smaug. I could not stop watching and listening to this dragon, Cumberbatch does an exceptional job! The entire cast does a first rate job, and the direction is of course superb. This is an excellent film, but I am afraid that while I enjoyed it immensely, it suffers from middle film syndrome and taking too much creative license, much like Two Towers did.
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