Date Posted: 2014-01-06
Tolkien Fan Level: 6
Film Format Seen? Imax 3D
Will view again in a different format? Yes
What an amazing movie! In my opinion The Hobbit series is on par with The Lord of the Rings series- they are just quite different, and people need to realize that. I will not say it was an improvement over An Unexpected Journey because I loved the hell out of that movie, but this one's just as good.
First of all, the acting was brilliant. Martin Freeman again creates a mesmerizing Bilbo- a very believable character (he isn't a master swordsman as soon as he picks up a sword, and he relies on his wits more than his brawn), and his wit and humour really add some heart to the movie. His subtle, slightly humorous reactions to Smaug waking up are great! His funny little mannerisms and facial expressions and hand gestures really give his character a sense of uniqueness among the other hobbits we've seen. Also, his relationship with Thorin is very well handled, although the best of it will be seen in There and Back Again. Speaking of Thorin, Richard Armitage gives a truly magnificent performance. The right balance of determination, arrogance, and charisma. Thorin is a much darker, more complex character than Aragorn from The Lord of the Rings, and you can really see his arrogance and greed taking over his being once he reaches Erebor, and just the slightest hint of madness (the scene where he holds Bilbo at sword point), which will come into play more in the third movie. In regards to Gandalf, we really didn't see much of him, but he was as amazing as ever, and his duel with Sauron was incredible! As for the dwarves, it is Ken Stott and Aidan Turner who shine this time, and much to my displeasure James Nesbitt's Bofur falls to the background a bit (but he still has his moments- "Bless my beard, is that the time!"). Stott creates a very memorable Balin, bringing depth, kindness, and heart to his role. Aidan Turner was great as the young, dashing Kili, and his hero moment at the river scene was very well done. Some of the other dwarves fall into the background a bit, but Dwalin, Bofur, Fili, and Gloin all are given some time to shine. As for the new characters in this movie, they were all excellent and well integrate into the story. Mikael Persbrandt had a short but memorable role as the Skin-changer Beorn, and his performance was very powerful (and he had a really epic Swedish accent). Lee Pace was excellent as Thranduil, who is a very interesting character. Pace provides regal arrogance and a slight unsettlingness to the character, and his scene with Thorin was very powerful. Orlando Bloom is back as Legolas, and this time he provides more three-dimensional acting, as his personality and personal life are fleshed out more here, and we get to see a meaner side to him as well as a softer side. And his fight with Bolg at the end was badass! Tauriel, as played by Evangeline Lilly, was a very good addition to the story. Her character was even more interesting and in depth than I thought before the movie came out, and she was acted very well by Lilly. The romantic subplot with Kili was very well handled and not over done. She is a very interesting character- curious about dwarves, determined, and sticking up for what is right (which means going against her king). In Lake-town we are introduced to Bard and his family, and Luke Evans did a great job as the "Robin Hood of Middle-earth." His family was a nice touch and makes the audience care more for him and adds depth to his character. We also meet the Master of Lake-town and his conniving servant, Alfrid, played by Stephen Fry and Ryan Gage respectively. Both were very good characters. Stephen Fry was hamming it up as the sleazy master, and he was a joy to watch. And now on to Smaug. What can I say besides that he was the best dragon, cgi character, and villain ever to hit the screens! Perfect vocal and motion capture performance from Benedict Cumberbatch, seamless visual effects by WETA, and some great dialogue. The scene with him and Bilbo was one of the best scenes I've seen in a very long time! Freeman and Cumberbatch were great together. His epic fight with the dwarves was great too. The writing in this movie was very good. I thought each character was developed enough, and the side subplots, like Gandalf's investigation of Dol Guldor and the Kili/Tauriel sublot, were woven into the story smoothly. Also, the decision to split up the company was one of PJ's best deviations from the book. The visual effects, costumes, makeup, and art direction were flawless as usual- no point going into details there. But they were truly top notch. The score was also amazing (I particularly like Tauriel's, Smaug's, Thranduil's, and Lake-town's themes). Howard Shore is a genius. Special mention should be made to the Barrel scene. It was awesome- the best action scene of 2013 for sure! Legolas and Tauriel were badass, and Bombur's orc-anihilating barrel run was hilarious and epic at the same time! The movie was action-packed and fast paced. It was dramatic, intense, and fun. It was perfect!
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