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Ringer Reviews - The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

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Ringer Review - NAME


Date Posted: 2014-02-02
Tolkien Fan Level: 6
Film Format Seen? 2D 24 fps
Will view again in a different format? No

I can’t say I’m disappointed: I had expected the film to hit a new bottom- which did happen. DoS is, to me, the worst film of all 5 adaptations by PJ. The first three were lovely, eventhough the FotR already contained a number of deviations from Tolkien.
As for The Hobbit- these movies retain virtually nothing of Tolkien’s Middle-earth. The magic, nobleness and deep underlying moral messages are gone, instead silly or crude lines are building up. Brave warriors are turned into ill-mannered oafs, violence and innuendos are thrown in just because. As a result, there isn’t a single character in DoS that I like or admire: at best, there are characters I don’t mind, but the others are plain annoying. The LotR trilogy had amazing music, cast, costumes and scenery; and only the script bothered me. All that’s left in AUJ and DoS is the scenery.
Apart from the loss of any moral value to the story (abundant in the book), what irks me the most is the representation of the Dwarves. Daring but polite characters became rude goons who can’t even eat like decent people, and none behave or look like Tolkien’s Dwarves. For reasons unknown to me, the Dwarves look hideous, except a few select fan-bait beauties, who don’t look like Dwarves either. Funnily, some would make good Dwarves (e.g. Balin or Dwalin) if the visuals weren’t pushed to the extreme (large noses, wacky beards and hairstyles etc). Add to that dumb lines and fondness of violence (Dwalin especially). Tolkien only mentions the Elves found Dwarves unlovely; they weren’t meant to be ugly, dirty vagabonds. Thorin himself is not much better than the rest – he’s oddly schizophrenic, half saint and half egotistic villain. Him abandoning a part of his company in Lake-town is just as absurd as Frodo abandoning Sam in RotK: a lord’s duty is to protect his folk, and the feudatories’ duty is to serve their lord. He has a limited set of facial expressions too – mostly a heavenward languish of a saint, or a ferocious glare.
The rest of the characters, I can’t bring myself to care about. Both Bilbo and Gandalf lack warmth or cheer. Bilbo looks like he’s seen it all rather than like a curious, cheerful hobbit. Gandalf is distant, with cheesy lines (‘show yourself, evil’). Sadly, I can’t bring myself to enjoy Smaug either. I cannot imagine such a klutz catching a single pony as he was supposed to do in the book, seeing as he can’t catch any of the Dwarves ambling right in front of him, and despite his boasting, cannot smell them either. Smaug’s CGI left me underwhelmed too; I hoped to see his scarlet eyes, not a generic reptile’s eye like in an Animal Planet video, and batlike crawling around. Don’t get me started on the silly slapstick that is the dragon chase finale in Erebor. The CGI scenes in general are silly and illogical compared to the book. I wasn’t happy about Beorn either, who in DoS most of all resembles a Harry Potter werewolf.
Legolas, Thranduil and Tauriel don’t have anything in common with Tolkien’s Elves. Apart from their appearance, they make quite revolting characters (‘funny’ insults of a Dwarf’s family, feeling pleasure at the prospect of killing a Dwarf he doesn’t know at all, deceiving a captured Orc and beheading him). I wonder if an adaptation of Tolkien can sink any lower than when an Elf king uses words uttered by Orcs in the books? Tauriel is for me the worst character in the entire movie, and not because she wasn’t created by Tolkien: if she looked and behaved like an Elf-maid, I wouldn’t have a problem with her being around the company and a Dwarf looking up at her admiringly. But she doesn’t look like an Elf (rather like an average woman), and why is she a redhead? Red hair was rare among Elves. But what takes the cake is her appalling, modern behaviour. Her fighting scenes are embarrassing to watch; it’s hard to believe the Elf King has no captains more capable than her, not to mention that Tolkien’s Elf women don’t fight. She also degrades other characters – e.g. Legolas has a change of heart at hearing her Galadriel-like words of wisdom: do we let them stand alone? I hated how schizophrenic she is, too: first she kills countless orcs and spiders like a seasoned warrior, and makes an obscene joke, only to suddenly babble something about stars like the epitome of innocence. Her healing scene where she’s glowing like Arwen, is wholly unacceptable: Arwen is a descendant of a Maia, and a High Elf; Tauriel is an insignificant Wood Elf.
I can’t even praise the music score, as I recall none of it (except the reused LotR bits) but for the final guitar song, about as Middle-earthish as a yacht on the Long Lake.
I have to say that so far, AUJ and DoS seem like a waste of money, technology and acting talent. These movies could have been good- all it took was to stick to the source material at least in characterisations and logic, instead of trying to have everything the largest and the most unique ever, and making the cast look and act like buffoons.

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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