41, Hopewell Junction
Date Posted: 2014-01-04
Tolkien Fan Level: 8
Film Format Seen? 2D 24 fps
Will view again in a different format? Yes
I would like to preface my statement by saying that, I've read The Hobbit three times. I've also read The Lord of the Rings three times (including The Appendices- but really, who hasn't read The Appendices?). I've read The Silmarillion twice, The Unfinished Tales, and The Letters of JRR Tolkien as well. I keep The Atlas of Middle Earth in my bedroom (but what woman doesn't?)But I must preface my statement by saying that it was Peter Jackson who inspired me to read mostly everything Tolkien has ever written (I haven't yet read The Letters of Father Christmas). So it was with considerable anticipation that I awaited the release of The Desolation of Smaug. With that in mind, I would like to start with some movie connections that made me smile (or as I would like to call them, Juicy Morsels that PJ throws in, to keep us repeatedly going back to the theatre to plunk down $40 a movie):
*The Gimli reference in Mirkwood: When the Elves were searching Gloin in Mirkwood, the smirk on Legolas' face when first glimpsing Gimli's baby picture was priceless. *Legolas mentioning Gondolin, when holding Orcrist: As someone who's read The Silmarillion twice, it was a treat for me to hear Legolas mention it. *How Peter Jackson uses chapter titles from the books as dialogue in the movies: For example, when Thorin and Gandalf say "out of the frying pan and into the fire" ( and also in LOTR, when the four young hobbits begin their journey on the road, Pippin's reference to "a shortcut to mushrooms" and when Gandalf is contemplating the ring in front of Bilbo's fire he mentions "riddles in the dark"). Another Nicety was Balin's heartfelt reaction to re-entering the mountain after so long. As viewers, it made us feel what they felt. The action sequences (particularly those involving Legolas) are like beautifully choreographed dizzying dances. Even Bombur showed that he was worth his salt (and that's a lot of salt) during the fight scenes. The acting, particularly that of Martin Freeman, was thoroughly engaging. Every word, every utterance, every facial expression, every time he loses his patience is a sheer delight! But while I'm completely enamored of Desolation, there were certain parts of the film that didn't entirely click into place. One moment was when Tauriel was tracking the orcs that were tracking The Company. When she turned around, Legolas already had his bow drawn at her. I know it was only a small moment, but Legolas would not have his bow drawn at Tauriel. To me, that was a bit of Hollywood melodramatics. Another such moment was when Thorin lands on Smaug's mouth- some compare it to that scene in Beowulf; to me, rather it's more like Fonzie jumping the shark in Happy Days. At best, it was unnecessary. Another thing: I understand that PJ has to establish the fact that Thorin will lose his mind over the treasure( due to heredity). But would he really have held his sword drawn against Bilbo, effectively blocking his path, to find out whether or not Bilbo acquired the arkenstone, while Bilbo was fleeing Smaug? We all know Thorin is troubled, but I think not. One last thorn in my side: Thorin's ride in the wheelbarrow down the molten gold rivulet that miraculously doesn't burn the flesh off his hands. But enough on the small flaws of an otherwise glorious movie. At this point, I must point out that Smaug was, in fact "as beautiful and terrible as the dawn". He was truly amazing- his voice, the sound effects, even his quixotic, exotic accompanying music held me in thrall. At this time, I'd like to offer some possible conjecture: I have a feeling that Peter Jackson gave us Tauriel, and Peter Jackson is going to take her away. I can only inference that Tauriel's death will be caused by Bolg, who will then be killed by Legolas. And because Legolas had feelings for Tauriel, PJ will use this to explain why Legolas remains a bachelor and sails With Gimli Into the undying west. I also have some questions: *Who saves Gandalf? Galadriel? Is that why she mentions that if he ever needs her she will come? But she is only an elf, while Sauron is a Maia. So then would it not take another Maia to save Gandalf? Then that would have to be Saruman. This would then fill in the puzzle piece of how Saruman and Sauron meet and begin their initial plotting and planning. Does Thorin get another oaken shield? And how does he get Orcrist back? Because right now it's in Thranduil's halls... At any rate, after seeing the film four times so far, I can only say Thank You to Peter Jackson for bringing these stories to life. I only hope he hasn't burned his bridges with The Tolkien estate, and that they give him the rights to begin his work on The Silmarillion. If the Tolkien purists find any fault with these films, they should consider this: If PJ was a Tolkien purist, the films would have ended up more like documentaries. Bravo, PJ, for bringing these timeless stories to the screen.
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