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Ringer Reviews - The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

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Ringer Review - NAME


51, Palo Alto
United States

Date Posted: 2014-01-12
Tolkien Fan Level: 6
Film Format Seen? 2D 24 fps
Will view again in a different format? Yes

Finally saw the second installment. This time, I decided to see the 2D-24fps first since it wouldn't distract by the clarity/lack of depth of field of the 48fps.

When I compare these movies to LOTR, I always yearned for more in LOTR - things happened so quickly, character development had to be brief etc. And since so much had to be left out or simplified, the constraints generally forced the screen-writing to stay true to, the spirit of Tolkien.
Interestingly, there were so many characters to like and get emotionally engaged with. The challenge was doing justice to them.

With the Hobbit movies, I went in accepting that I would see a movie with a whole lot of expanding,
but what I want is that it simply be true to the spirit of Tolkien and provide a similar engagement
with the characters. Because the source material was so thin, and inconsistent with the LOTR version (e.g. the elves of rivendell), there was a much higher possibility for the screen-writer's limitations to
show through. It was going to be a tricky balance between capturing the charm/whimsy of the book
and the more serious tone of the movie LOTR.

So after hearing about the controversy over Tauriel/Kili etc I found myself surprisingly ok with the
character additions (I liked Tauriel). My read of Tauriel/Kili is not of a budding love affair but rather
a discovery of goodness and shared love of the world by "youth" of differing races. I like the depiction of Bard, and of Thranduil. Of the dwarves, Balin remains a fond grandfatherly image and shows signs of being a true leader. I would have liked to have seen a bit more Bofur.

I have nothing but praise for the cinematography, and depiction of the many settings - Dol Goldur,
Erabor, Laketown, Mirkwood, the Elvish Kingdom. So many worked very hard to turn these fantastic
places into reality. Smaug is wonderfully created. You don't spend a second thinking he isn't real.

The screen-writing/plot is where the movie has its flaws. Compared to the effort to create the visual world, only 4 people made the spoken. First, I don't think PJ understands whimsy - the sexual connotation in this movie and the toilet/drug humor of AUJ (troll snot, bird poop, weed, mushrooms) all seem cheap substitutes. Tolkien is not Cheech and Chong.

The part that disappoints is when the action goes beyond what suspension of disbelief allows. Middle earth allows magic yet follows its own rules of reality. I found the dwarf fight with Smaug taking me
out of the movie (what the h**l are they doing now???) with all the gravity defying scenes. Same thing
happened with Goblin-town in AUJ. Generally, LOTR didn't do this. I also think the fighting scenes
happen too often - they all look the same. The orcs are grossly incompetent at killing anybody it seems - all bark and no bite. We all know that by number 3, the orcs are going to seriously up there combat skills and do some serious killing.

I also feel that in a movie that pads so much, there was little reason to miss the enchanted stream,
and the chance to employ whimsy with Beorn was lost. Again maybe whimsy just isn't PJ's thing.

So I come out of this movie having generally enjoyed it (better than AUJ) but think it would be
better if shorter or scenes better distributed. Ironically because it was more loosely based on the novel, I was curious about what would happen next. I just think they have to work harder at retaining the spirit of Tolkien, and there are signs it will head this way. It is becoming clear that Greed will be the driving theme of there and back again.

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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