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Ringer Reviews - The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

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Ringer Review - NAME

Maja Lisac

21, Zagreb

Date Posted: 2013-12-30
Tolkien Fan Level: 8
Film Format Seen? 2D 24 fps
Will view again in a different format? Yes

Being a long-standing, avid fan of both Tolkien's and Jackson's works regarding Middle-Earth, I find it very difficult to concede that the film has any faults. Fighting the urge to say that it couldn't have been done better, I came up with many excuses for things I felt did not fit. I would love to expand on all of this with more AND less bias (since I have gone through quite a thorough analysis) but I will try to sum up both sides of the argument within this limited space:
What I really love about both movies is the fact that they were atmospherically related to LOTR, making them closer to a real epic adventure than to a children's story. This way, all the Jackson's movies become new, unifying devices of bringing together the pieces of Tolkien's legendary. Still, there are moments in the movie when it becomes closer to a fairy tale consisting primarily of longish sequences of fighting with orcs – which apart from being redundant, sometimes had no logical justification. Although it can be argued that these were necessary to at least cater to those who are not familiar with the original, I believe they could have been replaced by including some things that were missing. Tolkien made it very clear that most of the events lasted long, and things were relatively clumsy and not always predictable, which makes the story more akin to our own actual reality. Related to this is the fact that Hollywood is pretty visible in this movie in particular. Some altered scenes were turned into what one would expect from such a high-budget movie, which I believe has reduced the uniqueness of the experience one gets when entering the world that is Middle-Earth. We need it to be a ‘feasible’ alternative to our reality, but with elements of idealism to ‘right the wrong’. I am not an advocate of ‘verbatim translation’ of Tolkien into movies, but I believe that some moments should not have been used only to fulfil all the expected requirements of Hollywood action. Still, I have been more than thrilled to see more of the Necromancer, for example, which really gave depth to the whole temporal setting of the story. When it comes to shaping the world, I definitely never get tired of repeating what a great feeling Peter Jackson has for the world that Tolkien built. I am always surprised to find that his visualisation almost always surpasses my own (and for any avid reader, this is a big thing). I could not have thought of a better actor to play Bilbo Baggins, nor could I have shaped Thranduil’s character so stunningly. And I believe I do not even have to mention Smaug. It seems to me that most people agree that the quality of his ‘performance’ is unimpeachable. With his character, for example, I am able to find justification for deciding on the more expectable deviation from the book, because all his force had to be shown. Smaug is what everyone was waiting for, so we had to get the most of him. Although for the story’s sake, I find it far more intriguing that he is dealt with so easily in the book, in the movie it would have been unfair to lose him so soon, without getting to know him and all his abilities.
On the other hand, there is the character of Tauriel. I do not mind the fact that she is not explicitly mentioned in the book, because sometimes it can prove useful to rely on additional characters in order to shape the story more easily or in accordance to one’s own emphatic preferences. However, the introduction of her character is followed by expected roles. She seemes to fulfil all the typical elements that the book seemingly lacks – a strong, independent female fighter (although in the instance of Galadriel we do not lack anything, quite the contrary, if only more subtle) and a love story. Although at first I expected her to get together with Legolas, her fondness for Kili was not as surprising as it was probably intended to be – everyone expected a love story, and not many thought it really fit.
There are many more possible examples to discuss these things on, but, once again, I would like to accentuate the most important aspect of Jackson’s movies. If we take a step back and observe his movies as a single whole, I truly believe that he has done a marvellous job of presenting us with a rounded and beautiful story, within an even more rounded and beautiful world. It is difficult to match Tolkien in linking all the intricacies that make up Middle-Earth stories, but Peter Jackson has found a way, and a very good one, too. This way, even those who are not familiar with the books are capable of understanding the relatedness and brilliant complexity of Tolkien’s world and from what I have seen, people begin to want to know more about it.This is an important contribution and in my opinion, all the criticism can only serve as a possible reminder that originality should come first. Despite some setbacks that were difficult to escape anyway, the movie does not fall short of it.

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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