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Ringer Reviews - The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

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Ringer Review - NAME

Canada B.

24, Tupelo
United States

Date Posted: 2013-12-21
Tolkien Fan Level: 7
Film Format Seen? 3D 24 fps
Will view again in a different format? Yes

First, my short spoiler free review:
Though it deviates from the book just as Two Towers did, DOS is a great film and if you loved LOTR you need to see it.

To go into every detail of The Hobbit: DOS would take much more than 5000 characters, so I will break it up in to three sections and a conclusion:

Things I didn't like:

Surprisingly, of all the alterations made to the story in this film, the biggest problem I had with DOS was Smaug's wings. I'm an artist by trade and I have studied Tolkien's illustrations and Smaug ALWAYS has had two arms, two legs, and two wings. In DOS he has claws on his wings that he walks on. As soon as I realized that, I had a flash of disappointment and then I didn't care too much because he was so epic.

Beorn, Mirkwood, and the elven king's halls went way too fast for me. They were amazingly done and excellent, but short. The dwarves and Bilbo wander around Mirkwood for what seems like minutes, fight the spiders, be captured by elves, and the next thing you know they are going down the river in barrels. Perhaps it was the urgency to get to the lonely mountain that made these sequences feel short and rushed, but perhaps PJ will flesh those out in the Extended Edition. They also could have had more Bilbo and Smaug without so many cut-aways to other stuff happening. Actually if the whole film had just been them talking together I would have been happy :)

Things I LOVED!!!!:

Where do I even begin? The action was awesome (as always) and kept me on the edge of my seat. Mirkwood was just as I imagined it and I literally punched the air and yelled “YEAH!” when Bilbo stabbed the spider in the face. I wasn't sure I would like Thranduil's character, but he was perfect. The design of the costumes and the sets was superb as usual (well done Weta) and even though there were a lot of changes to the story, it was a very cohesive and entertaining film that I can't wait to see again in HFR. I actually liked the fact that Bilbo didn't wear the ring as much as he did in the book. It added more peril to the story and it matches with the evil nature of the ring established in LOTR. And Smaug... lets just say that I can't even remember what he and Bilbo said to each other because I was so overwhelmed by his awesomeness. He IS the best dragon that has ever appeared in ANY film. Period. I can't wait to see it again just for him.

Things I'm “ok” with:

I had heard rumors of the Taurel/Kili relationship and I didn't really have an opinion about it until after I saw the film. The whole concept of Tauriel and Kili had an air of Juliet and Romeo, which I didn't have a problem with because Tolkein WAS heavily influenced by Shakespeare's works (especially 'Macbeth'). Here's the bottom line: *Spoiler* Kili dies at the end. There it is. And Tauriel, while her character is not in the book, her character could have existed. I would not be one bit surprised and in fact I think it would be wonderfully romantic for Kili and Tauriel to die together in the Battle of the Five armies. I dunno. Mabye PJ has other plans. We will have to see. For now I am with the "shippers". I have no problem with it.

I know a lot of people were upset about the end. It was actually pretty funny in the theater to hear everyone's reactions when the screen went black and the credits rolled. BUT here are my reasons why I am actually really ok with it and why I think it was a good decision:

1) If they had killed the dragon at the end of the second film, all that would be left for the third movie would be Thorin's hoarding of the treasure and the Battle of the Five armies. Their whole mission was to kill the dragon and when it is done (from a casual movie goer's viewpoint) there isn't much left to do. In fact when I read the book years ago, I thought it was over after Smaug died and was surprised to find more chapters.

2) Cliff hangers are terrible, but awesome. BBC Sherlock anyone? After working in film and being close friends with screenwriters, I have begun to realize that in filmmaking no matter how the story goes, you have to make people want more and give them a reason to come back. Think about it: everyone, fans and non fans alike, wants to know what is going to happen. It's a perfect strategy for bringing people back to the theaters in 2014.


The Hobbit: DOS, despite some of it's disappointing alterations, is an excellent film. It will do very well in the theater I think, taking in more money from average movie goers though not so much from the fans. But really that doesn't matter because they made a billion on the first one :) I would however urge you to see this in the theater if you plan to see it at all. Movies are made to be seen in the theater and this one is no exception. While it is still not as good as the LOTR movies, it will still be one of my all-time favorites.

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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