Ranger of Dunland
Date Posted: 2014-01-14
Tolkien Fan Level: 7
Film Format Seen? 3D 48 fps
Will view again in a different format? Yes
Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings films had their fair share of faults and blemishes, but they were nonetheless masterpieces in filmmaking. While I still cringe at some changes, I challenge anyone to find a 10 minute segment of those films lacking respect and care in the filmmaking. Every sequence of those films had, more or less, a sense of dignity to it. Those moments are few and far between in "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug." Frequently, moments came across as contrived, awkward, or even downright silly. They were moments that if written out on a web forum, one would think were part of a spoof, a How-Not-To-Make-The-Hobbit fanvid. For example, in The Fellowship of the Ring, Aragorn takes on almost 100 Uruk-Hai in the film's climax. It is a fantastic action sequence, and the scene scores a perfect balance between making the character believable and still amaze the audience with this warrior's ability to accomplish what they know they could. In The Hobbit: DoS, almost every action scene (elves are the biggest culprits here) loses the audience as this world looks less and less like Tolkien's and more and more like Marvel's (although that's an unfair slam to recent Marvel movies). This lack of dignity is the first major problem of the film, encompassing many more singular issues like some character changes, moments intended for comic relief, and aforementioned action scenes.
The second major problem was the lack of focus. According to the making-of featurettes, LotR used a rule due to the massive source material: Every scene must be A. about Frodo &/or the Ring or B. Have an essential part in the story (e.g. establishing Aragorn as the heir to the throne). "Desolation" obviously used no such rule. Despite the title, the hobbit in the story is really a secondary character and does very little. Even the comparatively better spider sequence makes him merely a helper to the dwarves and elves who tackle the spiders with him. I could go on about other problems. The overuse of special effects makes the 10+ year old LotR look more realistic overall. And Tolkien purist though I be, I'm not even getting into the dastardly changes from the book. Why not? Because I follow a rule from glumPuddle (from NarniaWeb.com). If adapting from a good book, the film must also be good by itself, or it is not a good adaptation. Analyzing the desolation of "The Hobbit" is not worth my time since the film is frankly not terribly likable. While it has a few truly great qualities (see how I scored it), and the acting is outstanding across the board, the film is okay. I suppose it's perhaps on par with or maybe more likable than the Pirates of the Caribbean sequels.
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