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Ringer Reviews - The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

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Ringer Review - NAME


14, Thorndale (London)

Date Posted: 2014-03-03
Tolkien Fan Level: 8
Film Format Seen? Imax 3D
Will view again in a different format? No

I went to DOS expecting another LOTR/AUJ and was hugely disappointed. Not in every respect, but in most. Peter Jackson made a wonderful LOTR, but it's been 12 years since then and he's a very different director now. As a fanfic DOS might be all right, but not as an adaptation of The Hobbit.

Beorn was a huge disappointment, since he didn't look at all like the Beorn of the book with a bushy black beard. The best thing about the whole sequence with him was having the 3D bees fly straight at your face, which made me cringe. =) But Mikael Persbrandt did a great job playing the character anyways; his accent is sort of mysterious sounding which suited.

The main digression, of course, is Tauriel. I was expecting to be shaking in my boots the entire time she was onscreen, but ended up liking her as a character, though this opinion depends on my not having felt very much like I was in Middle-earth. The chief issue I have with her is the implied romance between her and Kíli. I do not understand why people are saying that it’s simply a friendship, since everyone I know who has seen it has interpreted it as romantic. Worst, however, is that she absolutely should not have been able to heal Kíli’s ‘Morgul wound’, much less with athelas, since only the Kings of Númenor and their descendants, such as Aragorn, could use it as a healing herb. It took both Aragorn and Elrond (who was at least 3000 years older than Tauriel) to heal Frodo's wound.

I was thoroughly disappointed with Thranduil. Although the Elves in The Hobbit are vastly different from those of LOTR, and this may be part of Jackson’s reasoning behind the portrayal of the King of Mirkwood, Thranduil is simply awful and is nothing at all like an Elf from either book. The best part with Thranduil was when he offered to free the Dwarves if Thorin would give Thranduil part of Smaug’s treasure hoard. Even so, it wasn’t Thranduil who enthralled me, it was Richard Armitage’s AMAZING performance as Thorin. The whole dragon-fire scar on Thranduil's cheek was pretty disgusting too...

I was looking forward to seeing Legolas again. I have no problems at all with his addition, since it seems pretty obvious he would have been somewhere around. I do, however, have problems with the way he’s portrayed in DOS. I thought Orlando Bloom’s performance in The Lord of the Rings was one of the best in that movie trilogy, but I’m not so sure about the current one. It seems like Legolas is just there for killing Orcs. The final straw is when, almost at the end, he fights with Bolg, then as Bolg is riding away on a Warg, Legolas finds that his nose is bleeding and appears to decide a nosebleed merits revenge. This behaviour is quite un-Elflike, if you ask me; way too hot-headed.

The Elves were the most irritating thing, but the storyline with the Orcs chasing Thorin and Co. was also a source of annoyance. I can’t decide if the fact that Azog the Pale Orc was long dead by the time of The Hobbit was the thing that aggravated me the most or the least. Azog’s company of Orcs seemed to be pretty scared of Beorn, which is just a little fantastical considering the number of Orcs.

But I must mention Smaug before I reach the 5000-char limit!

Smaug was AMAZING. Benedict Cumberbatch was the perfect actor for him! The thing about Smaug which is quite unbelievable, though, is that, though Bilbo had taken off the Ring Smaug didn’t get all the information possible from him and then eat him. The narrow escapes from him which Bilbo keeps having are just a little too narrow. The entire end of the movie including the fight with Smaug required suspension of belief. The only time one of the Dwarves is affected at all by Smaug’s fire is when Thorin’s costume catches fire. I didn’t even notice anyone sweating in the heat! But when Smaug got covered in gold which then sprayed from his wings in droplets was epic.

Has anyone noticed that in FOTR Ian McKellen said "AZG nazg" instead of "ASH nazg" in the Ring inscription? I thought it might just be an oversight, but when Gandalf approaches Dol Guldur there was a voiceover and they still said "Azg"!

However, the biggest problem is the way the point of the book no longer seems to be the same thing. TH was about how Bilbo grows throughout the months of the quest, but PJ has turned it into a story about the growth of Thorin at best, a revenge fest at worst. Thorin's determined to get revenge against Smaug and I'm sure he'd love to avenge himself on Thranduil. Also Bilbo is too enamoured with the Ring and killed a spider for TOUCHING it. The Elves seem to be in the film only for silly stunts. Simply put, The Hobbit is no longer The Hobbit whatever I can say in its defense, and I can't say I like The Hobbit Version 2.0 very much.

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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