Date Posted: 2014-04-28
Tolkien Fan Level: 8
Film Format Seen? 2D 24 fps
Will view again in a different format? No
I will preface my review by stating that I am a long-time fan of J.R.R. Tolkin and his writings. I must express my disappointment in the movie The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, based primarily in two areas . . . first, the screenplay and secondly, the special effects. The screenplay, like the previous Hobbit movie and to some degree even the Lord Of The Rings movies, takes an "action-above-all" approach that leaves the real story of Bilbo, Gandalf and the Dwarves lost as if it were dropped somewhere along the paths of Mirkwood. I understand that a movie must use different methods to tell the story and that it cannot function as a straight narrative of the book. This is not my complaint. My complaint is that the story has strayed so far from the path that the heart of the story has been removed and bares no resemblance to the original story. So many actions of even the central characters are actually so opposite of the original characters from the books, it spoils that which is the real strength of the story. In its place, we have a hollow shell that barely conveys any of the real adventure. So very disappointing! My second disappointment is in the Special Effects, primarily the very fake and unconvincing CGI. This is most obvious in the Orcs and Wargs that are pursuing Thorin & Company. Instead of communicating any believability, I can't help but think of Gmork, from the Neverending Story, and even he seems more fearsome than these creatures. One of the things that worked in the Lord Of The Rings was the actually make-up used to create the Orcs. The Wargs didn't work well in LOTR either, but at least the live actors in Orc make-up countered that failure. Here, both fail . . . and worse they have been made such a central element in the story/screenplay. I am afraid these elements grossly out-weigh any positive elements that remain. Sorry, but this one really misses the mark!
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