Date Posted: 2014-02-05
Tolkien Fan Level: 5
Film Format Seen? 3D 48 fps
Will view again in a different format? Yes
Let me start off by saying that I am a LOTR fan-boy. I love everything about middle-earth and the original trilogy are my favourite movies of all time. This movie is not as good as those. That being said, this is entirely understandable as The Lord of the Rings books are inherently better than the the little book called 'The Hobbit.'
With that out of the way, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is extremely well-made and is one of my favourite movies of the year. The sets and costumes are some of the most well crafted I have seen, as well as the make-up on the characters. One thing though, that caught my eye was the CGI, which varied from excellent to lackluster . An example of this would be Smaug, who looked menacing as well as magnificent; certainly the best Dragon ever put on the silver screen. Some of the CGI proved to look a little fake or cartoonish though; the digital stunt doubles of Legolas or Dwalin in the Barrel scene for instance. They looked unfinished, and took me out of the experience for a few seconds. You may not notice them the first time you watch though, as Peter Jackson does a decent job of not overusing them or putting them in places that won't draw the eye. Despite a stronger showing of practical sets and props than in AUJ, there still seemed to be a little to much of an over-use of CGI, which inevitably stemmed from the many production troubles or the sheer complexity of the action sequences that these movies had. On the narrative side, DOS is much stronger than AUJ. It is a lot more swiftly paced; You will certainly never get bored. And as much as I do not like the some of the story divergences, I do feel that they will all tie together neatly by the end of the third movie. The Hobbit (book) of course, was never actually a proper prequel to LOTR (books) anyways. It was written before; and therefore, would have had many continuity errors with the movie adaptations of LOTR. Most people would argue that the plot contains mostly filler, as Peter stretched a short novel into a trilogy of 3 hour movies. These people are inherently wrong, as they have been to busy pointing out the number of pages, instead of looking to see what is actually inside the book. There is little to no detail in any of the settings or sequences, as well as no character development given to anybody other than Bilbo and Thorin. If Peter were to make a straight adaptation of The Hobbit, it simply could not be a proper movie in the Middle-Earth that he established in his previous rings' movies. Instead, he decided to make a prequel to his LOTR movies, with the events of the hobbit as a backdrop, and I commend him for it. In the entirety of the movie, I could only find one example of filler; which was unfourtunatly, the climactic action sequence. As much as it was exciting to watch and a visual wonder, I couldn't help but feel that it was a waste of time, and that it was shoe-horned in so that they could save the death of Smaug for the third movie. My main reason for thinking this is that the plot is progressed in no way. We knew already that Smaug was going to lake-town before the sequence. None of the characters under-went any significant changes, nor were any killed-off or even injured. It was also detrimental to the character of smaug as it portrays the serpant as dim-wittted and easily distracted through-out. This though was just a minor gripe that I had, and did not really take away from any enjoyment that I had watching the film. Finally, I would like to note that even though I don't really enjoy all the changes they made to the book, I still love how Peter made the films faithful to the book in tone. It is a lot more fun and cartoonish in nature than LOTR, and is seemingly self aware of all of the conveniences in the plot and in the unrealistic-ness of action scenes. I do hope though that the third film does not choose the latter in the Death of Smaug or the Battle of the Five Armies scenes. In conclusion, this film is an incredibly exciting joy-ride from beginning to end, as well as a wonderful treat for any fan of the books or middle-earth in general(unless you are one of those stuck up Tolkien worshipers.) It has a generally fun but involving story-line that may turn off the people who were hoping for a a more darker and serious prequel to LOTR. Smaug is well worth the price of addmission and just as well makes up for some other lackluster CGI. The actor's are great, the effects are great, and most importantly of all, the story is great. A beautifully crafted movie that no movie-goer should miss. Oh, and the Score was tip-top as well. My rating: A (p.s. apologies if this review is poorly written, i'm to lazy to do a draft or even proofread!XD
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