Date Posted: 2014-01-14
Tolkien Fan Level: 8
Film Format Seen? 2D 24 fps
Will view again in a different format? No
I learned about Middle Earth through Peter Jackson's adaption of LoTR. It was those films that made me read the books, then all of Tolkien's other works. I went into the theatre with high hopes. I had on the whole enjoyed An Unexpected Journey, despite the resurrection of Azog, the scene inside the goblin caves, and a few other nit-picky details.
The Desolation of Smaug was nothing like the first movie. For that matter, it was nothing like the book. Beorn looked more like the bear from Brave than a king. Beorn the Human looked nothing like a noble king, and more like a werewolf that could be killed by a silver bullet. The elves of Mirkwood were off, somehow. Legolas' character in particular felt stunted, as if he didn't belong there. Tauriel I was prepared to accept. I had every intention of liking, if not loving, her. She would not be canon, but neither was the death of Haldir at Helm's Deep. I thought maybe she would help the movie along. She didn't. If not for the ridiculous love triangle between Legolas and Kili, I would be far more accepting. If not for the fact that it took Lord Elrond three days to heal Frodo, but only took her three minutes, I would also be more accepting. It bothers me that Peter Jackson added a female that was supposed to be strong, only to have her fall in love with the first prisoner she met, as it were. Bard... oh my. He was a disappointment. I thought at first Will Turner had wandered into Middle Earth by mistake. Bard, instead of being Captain of the Archers was Smuggler in Chief. Smaug was wrong. The whole sequence with Smaug was wrong. If ever there was a ridiculous deux es machina it was that sequence. There is no way on Earth (Middle or otherwise) that that would happen. Smaug felt weak and unoriginal. He looked... little. He, the Chiefest and Greatest Calamity of the Third Age, couldn't capture a few measly dwarves. Gandalf (Ian Holm) and Radagast (Sylvester Mccoy) went to Angbad to oust the Witch King, or something. That was one of the more confusing parts of the film, mainly because the Istari were forbidden from matching their power against Sauron's, and that is exactly what Gandalf did. The book was better than the film. I can think of many books better than this film. I will see an Unexpected Journey, but only because I no longer know the story. This is not Tolkien's world. It is Peter Jackson's, with a few familiar characters.
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