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Ringer Reviews - The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

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Ringer Review - NAME


24, Columbia
United States

Date Posted: 2014-04-26
Tolkien Fan Level: 7
Film Format Seen? 3D 48 fps
Will view again in a different format? Yes

As a fan of Tolkien and the LOTR films I eagerly waited for the Hobbit films to be made. Sadly, I feel that Jackson has take too many pages from George Lucas' book on how to ruin a prequel trilogy, instead of taking pages from the actual source material (and for those who will say, "you just need to read the appendices!" don't bother, I have...and he even got that stuff wrong). My qualms with the first two Hobbit films are twofold: 1. Deviation from book, 2. Lower quality of filmmaking.
First, I recognize the need change some aspects of the story, to translate from a written story into a visual and compelling narrative. However, some of the deviations are pointless and have no grounding in Tolkien whatsoever. Two examples, the new narrative of the Witchking, and the tension between Fili and Tauriel. The witchking is now believed to have been killed and buried, and resurrected by Sauron. But in the appendix, all that is said is that he fled the battle and wasn't seen or heard from for many years. No need to waste time with Gandalf and Radaghast wandering through tombs. This new narrative adds NOTHING to the story of Bilbo and the Dwarves (and don't get me started on Azog...cause he was DEAD!!). Second, Fili and Tauriel. I have no real qualms with Tauriel as a character. But if they wanted a strong female character, why did they simply resort to using her as a writer's crutch to fall for the bad boy who is off limits? She seems rather cliched and unoriginal. Also, the banter between the two feels contrived and out of place in Middle Earth. Plus, it's just another time waster that does absolutely nothing for the main story, except provide a character to mourn the loss of at least one of the dwarves who doesn't survive the battle (which I'm sure will be a drawn out dying monologue with a teary eyed Tauriel holding Fili in her arms and whispering sweet Elvish nothings as he passes beyond the world).
Now, for my second problem-the quality of film making. The LOTR trilogy was groundbreaking for its time. The use of special effects was astounding, with a combination of miniatures, cg elements, matte paintings, live action set pieces, etc. All was done to create an environment of realism, and for the most part they accomplished this goal. For some reason, Jackson (or maybe the studios) have decided to take the opposite route and turn the film into a teaser for an upcoming ride at Universal Studios. The cg effects are overused, and abused! I appreciate the foray into 48 frames 3D. But shooting digital (rather than on film) has decreased the natural physical quality of the look of the films. Also, many shots and angles are clearly contrived to serve the effect of 3D instead of the story. This makes many scenes feel more out of a video game cut scene, than a feature film. Also, the action pieces are so ridiculous that the "willing suspension of disbelief" is drug out into the street and shot dead. The worst example is the Barrels Out of Bond sequence that takes nearly 10mins of screen time, and includes and bouncing Bombur who turns into a barrel-tank and defies the laws of physics. The films seem to be more interested in pandering to the action and thrills seeking, ADD audiences of 12-14year olds (but I've even met 14year olds who didn't like them!), than telling an epic story.
I could continue for hours (which I have done), but I shall leave my ranting at that. I'm not arrogant enough to say that I could have done better, but if that's all that I could do...I wouldn't have done it.

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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