Date Posted: 2013-12-28
Tolkien Fan Level: 5
Film Format Seen? 2D 24 fps
Will view again in a different format? No
I came into this film as an ardent fan of An Unexpected Journey and from the viewpoint of one that is not a "purist" in any sense of the word. While I thoroughly enjoy the books (The Hobbit perhaps considerably less than the Lord of the Rings, to be honest), I was more than willing to embrace any changes that might take place so long as (what I consider to be) the heart of the story remained intact. To that end I believe the Peter Jackson has done remarkably well. While the changes might be glaring to some and perhaps unforgivable to others, I found that they enhanced the story considerably. I found Tauriel to be a welcome addition to the story, fitting in quite nicely with what I imagined an elf of the Woodland Realm might be like. Bilbo once again proves to be the heart of the story, his journey from reluctant adventurer to unexpected hero is a delight to see, and Martin Freeman shines in every scene. Balin is quickly becoming a favorite of mine as well, as we get the welcome chance to see his friendship with Bilbo gradually developing. Thorin is fast becoming a character of near Shakespearean tenor, with his story building towards tense and dramatic heights. The third film should be an excellent opportunity to see just how good Richard Armitage truly is in this role, even more so than we have seen already. Of the changes that took place within this film, I was most excited with the additional material involving Gandalf and the Necromancer. The battle between the two was nothing short of epic and I relished the chance to see the threads being laid that will lead us into the story that already unfolded in The Lord of the Rings. And last, but most definitely not least, comes the dragon known as Smaug. He was nothing short of stupendous, magnificent or any other word that Bilbo might have conjured to describe him. From his stunning appearance to that menacing voice, he was everything I could have wanted in a cinematic dragon and more.
In short, I loved this film, even more than I did the last and it left me eager to see the concluding chapter... even if the cliffhanger ending did annoy me just a tad. It is important to note, however, that any annoyance at the ending is only the result of the incredible film that preceded it. While the truly hardcore purists might vehemently disagree, I believe that this adaptation of the story is better than I could have hoped for.
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