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Ringer Reviews - The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

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Ringer Review - NAME

Fancy Rat

20, Olympia
United States

Date Posted: 2014-04-04
Tolkien Fan Level: 1
Film Format Seen? 3D 48 fps
Will view again in a different format? Yes

I’ve written about my feelings about Peter Jackson’s handling of The Hobbit before, and they are strong.

To me, the biggest disappointment of the first film was the visual look and stylistic execution of the special effects. From what I’ve seen, this seems to carry over into the latest film, The Desolation of Smaug. I do understand that the pre-production of The Hobbit was disastrous (between studio entanglements and one-time director Guillermo Del Toro dropping out of the project).

The Hobbit was never going to have quite the amount of time, investment, or care put into it that The Lord of The Rings film trilogy put into it. It’s a very different kind of story, and similarly has a different feel, but there is very little physical or tonal continuity between the film trilogies.

Peter Jackson has always been a big advocate of CGI, but the reason his Rings films feel so real and grounded is because they implement a mixture of practical effects, miniatures, and well-blended CGI. In The Hobbit, CGI is used whenever possible. Many of the Orcs, Goblins, and other creatures were completely generated with pixels and whirs. The bigatures which brought locations like Helm’s Deep, The Tower of Orthanc, and Minas Tirith to life are gone completely.

This mentality and style of special effects can be summed up in the senctence “We will put it all in in post” propels the movies into the uncanny valley. Some of the effects are probably improved on a technical level, but the realism of these movies have tanked to levels that seem unreal.

The biggest problem here, is that The Hobbit does not seem to be set in Middle Earth. It feels much more like a digital Narnia, with artificially bleached colors, popping visuals, and cartoony creatures. I do think that Jackson is displaying lazy film making with these movies, but not out of malice or bitterness. Wherever his heart is these days, it sure isn’t Middle Earth.

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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