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Ringer Reviews - The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

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Ringer Review - NAME

Georges Fadel

52, Beirut

Date Posted: 2013-12-28
Tolkien Fan Level: 8
Film Format Seen? 3D 48 fps
Will view again in a different format? Yes

The Desolation Of Smaug (DOS) establishes the Arkenstone as the real objective of the quest. Thorin must get it to have the allegiance of the other dwarve houses. It seems that the main protagonists, such as Thranduil, Smaug, Azog and even Bard, are aware of this objective. Although it is a big divergence from the book , I think it enhances the context and scope of the events and makes the Hobbit trilogy a true prequel of the LOTR trilogy. The remainder of the post will focus on specific characters of the movie.

Beorn: Beorn looks wild and menacing in both his human and bear forms. Everything is large is Beorn's house which makes the dwarves look really small. Beorn's part is very small compared to the remaining events of the movie, but I'm sure we'll see more of him next year.

Spiders: Getting to hear the spiders talk is a real treat. Using the Ring as a mechanism that allows Bilbo to hear the spiders is just ingenious. The voice of the spiders strangely resembles that of Gollum (is it another exploit of Andy Serkis?). However I felt that these spiders are less scary than Shelob in Return Of The King, maybe because they're her children.

Thranduil: Despite his eye brows, Lee Pace's portrayal of Thranduil as a psychotic maniac Elevenking is outstanding. We get to see where Legolas got his hot temper from.

Bard: After seeing the trailers, many people considered Bard to be a clone of Will Turner (from Pirates of the Caribbean). The similarities go beyond the looks: Bard is a boatman who lives modestly and takes care of his children. When he accepts to help the dwarves, we discover that he has important ancestors. He is thrown into a series of events that will, in the next movie, transform him from a boatman into a bowman (but not a pirate).

Legolas: As expected, Legolas is awesome. In a single scene, we see him use all the tricks he already used in the Lord Of the Rings movies. He finds a formidable opponent in Bolg but the game is not over yet between those two. Since we are familiar with his hot temper, it feels awkward to see him being more reasonable than his father.

Tauriel: Tauriel is the love interest of Legolas, but Thranduil doesn't approve of it. The scene where she saves Kili from the poisoned arrow, is almost an exact replica of Arwen trying to save Frodo from the Morgul Blade wound. Tauriel is an interesting character who is wiser than her elven compatriots. Her character does not exist in the Tolkien legendarium. It was created to be the prominent female protagonist of the second Hobbit movie. For this reason, don't be surprised if she dies in the third movie.

Smaug: Smaug, the chiefest of calamities, is really stupendous. He is not a direct incarnation of Tolkien's drawings, but he is no less scary. The most important characteristic of Smaug is his voice. The choice of Benedict Cumberbatch to play Smaug is fully justified: nobody else could have been more cunning and menacing. During his conversation with Bilbo, Smaug refers to Thorin by his epithet, "Oakenshield". I find this hard to accept. The battle of Azanulbizar, where Thorin got his famous nickname, took place after the dwarves left Erebor. Smaug occupied the mountain and never left it. He couldn't have know about Thorin's nickname.

Dwarves: The dwarves continue to be more "dwarvish" than ever. With the exception of Balin, they still don't have much faith in Bilbo. They prove to be as skilled as elves in fighting orcs (Bombur has a wonderful scene using a barrel to fight orcs). It was fun to see Legoals make fun of Gloin's son Gimli, especially that we all know that they become best friends in LOTR. Thorin has his heroic moments but we can see the madness getting to him. The romance between Kili and Tauriel is a bit far fetched in my opinion. It will surely contribute to the dramatic fate that awaits Kili in the coming movie. Another far fetched matter concerns Bombur: despite his weight and unlike the book, he is part of the company that climbs the mountain and reaches the hidden entrance. The reason to keep four dwarves in Laketown will be revealed in the coming movie.

Bolg: Bolg replaces his father Azog as the chief villain of the movie. He may seem less scary than his father but he still is a tough fighter who stood up against Legolas. I can't wait to see what will happen to him in the next movie and whether or not he will fight Beorn.

Gandalf: Once again, Gandalf is made prisoner. Not by Saruman, but by the Necromancer who is revealed to be none other than Sauron. But this time there's no need to ask a moth to fetch help. Radagast will take care of it.

This movie, of course, doesn't focus on a single character. I think it is wrong to consider Peter Jackson's movies as movies inspired by the works of Tolkien. With such a premise, the question to ask is whether or not the movies respect the guidelines set by Tolkien in his books. My answer is: they most certainly do.

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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