Dec 16 2013, 9:46pm
Not a review per se, just a random assemblage of my thoughts.
First the good bits.
I think the quicker pace at the start was a good idea (if painful for me as a fan of Beorn) made it feel more like a film, rather than a reunion in Middle Earth i.e we launch stright into the action with new environments, and don’t get bogged down with talking or the slow start AUJ was critised for.
Smaug's design (though the wrong colour of course) and voice were BRILLIANT or at least the stand out of the film IMO.
The obvious enthusiasm the cast and crew had for the film-even if the film isn't tha memorable IMO, at least someone had some fun out of it!
Bombur was hillarious, the fat old uncle who's secretly a ninja, possibly my fave of the Dwarves, I think his silence adds to his comedic value.
Lee Pace, Martin Freeman, Jimmy Nesbitt, Ken Stott, Evageline Lilly and Ian Mckellen and gave great performances (even if some of them weren't well served by the script), proving Jackson is a great actors director.
Laketown and Thranduil's halls were fabulously designed and far enough from my own imagery to cause no issues for me.
The opening in Bree was a nice nod to The Quest For Erebor even if it rewrote all the dialogue for no apparent reason, and seemed to be pointless-all the dialogue as far I can recall only summarised stuff the audience could anticipate.
Even though it was arguably terrible as an adapation, personally I think we can largely agree it felt mostly consistent-i.e the same visual palette and tone throughout, instead of the hit and miss nature of AUJ.
The spiders sequence was well done, and rather creepy, though a little short, and I'm rather happy they found a way to make the spiders talk
The cinematography and scenery were gorgeous as always
Less Fork Monster (Azog) and Bunny Wrangler(Radagst-Mcoy was wasted in this)was a good thing on my part on first thoughts, but was detremental to the film-I'm not a fan of either character, but at least in AUJ they seemed to have a purpose
-The CGI is much less ropier in certain places (the liquid gold not being an example)
-The look of the film seemed much less fake, and at points I was able to forget that it was shot on a soundstage.
-The slapstick seemed less forced
-Bard was written very well, loved the Welsh accent and his expanded role, even if he isn't grim or old enough in the film for my liking, and the actor was kinda wooden. His children on the other hand smack of marketing, frankly I wish they had been hidden in the toilet instead of the dwarves.
-Balin, Bombur and Bofur continue to be very likeable very well written characters.
-Smaug looked and sounded BRILLIANT-but WHYwasn't he red gold to begin with!!!Just so Jackson could chuck in more mad visuals
-Azog looks slighty less like a Engineer from Prometheus-not a film I want to be reminded of.
-Tauriel as a character is surprisingly tolerable to this partial purist, and convincing in the cinematic world Jackson has built-even if her dialogue and 'I'm perfect' persona grates a little, that said she really only seems to be there to feel out a quota of female characters-not a bad thing of course, but I couldn't find a reason why she needed to be female-the cringeworthy romance aside of course.
The Action sequences seemed to be better choreographed and cinematic this time around-ok the barrel chase was still overblown but it did at least look like they storyboarded it, it moved at a better pace and was visually much more appealing than the Goblin Town fight.
-Lee Pace has the potential to be great, if only his material improves.-I’d MUCH rather see him than Legolas. He is perhaps the only Elf thus far who feels like Tolkien’s-arrogant, ancient, wise and powerful all at the same time, and shows every sign of being my 'Armitage' of this trilogy.
-The pace seemed less erratic, and the cast are great.
-Martin Freeman seemed more comfortable this time around, and he retains a wonderful sense of comic timing at all the right moments.
I'm loving the visual potential of Smaug burning Laketown down in the Snow.
Now for the bad points:
Smaug's fight with the Dwarves was...Awful, drawn out, boring, inconsistent, confusing, odd and very Crytsal Skullish, perhaps the only time in the cinema I wanted to walk out Utterly stupid and pointless, not a great climax for this viewer.
-Richard Armitage as Thorin continues to annoy me INTENSELY-sorry ladies!
-I may be be the source material, two films going to three, the added subplots or my own bias to the book, but still feels like an episodic rough cut, I'm still not certain 3 films was a good idea
-Too much filler, not enough Bilbo
-Beorn was very dissapointing, I didn't like his deisgn, new backstory or 'meh' appearance I was expecting more. Frankly I almost feel like I’d rather they leave him out entirely rather than make him into a revenge crazed Lovechild of the Grinch and a Swedish Rock Singer. Hopefully the EE will remedy this.
-Mirkwood and Beorn felt rushed like the filmakers wanted to get to laketown as qucikly as possible.
-Ham fisted dialogue in abundance-'This is OUR fight'. Sigh.
-The Love story –OK it was only hinted at but is screamed of Twilight/ Fan fiction, cringe worthy, not necessary and not very Tolkienesque IMO.
-Thranduil scar very silly and confusing
-Legolas seeming more prominent than Bilbo.
-Smaug turning into a slow paced idiot with bad hearing-We GET it! You are toying with your prey, but seriously you burn down a whole civilization but can't catch 9 dwarves?
-The cliffhanger ending, I'm not sure if I was annoyed or reliefed in any case it seemed a bit cheap, and certainly annoyed the audience!
-The rehash of the Healing scene from FOTR-we get it it's a prequel!
-Too many STUPID attempts to wring drama at the cost of character development-the dwarves walking way from the Door or Erebor-Thorin would not do that.
The High Fells came across as rather pointless and a poor excuse to get Radaghast and Gandalf together-if you are going to make up some fan fiction AT LEAST make it Interesting!!!-I wasn't really aware of this scene's specifics before hand so I was expecting more than some talking and sighing, the whole buired Nazgul thing still seems silly.
-Stephen Fry was Stephen Fry in a wig, phoned in his performance IMO, he just seemed to be a carbon copy of Melchett from Blackadder, granted that's maybe what Jackson was going for, and I mainly know Fry from QI, but Fry just seemed bored to me, all the humour seemed to stem from 'Oh look it's Stephen Fry in silly wig!' again hopefully this will be remidied by the EE.
-Alfrid was a poor rehash of Wormtongue, though I did like the actor and some of his dialogue.
-The Music was very underwhelming again
-No Billy Connoly, Talking Thrush or Christopher Lee
Some of the Dwarves felt like extras again.
Gandalf vs The Necromnacer was visually quite interesting but looked like something out of a star wars video game, didn't really gel at all with Middle Earth (well how I see it at least), weirdly abstract for Jackson and notnecesarily in a good way. I did like the Necromancer's design just not the fight.
-BUT most importantly it didn't feel like The Hobbit at all, nor was it an major improvement over AUJ, nor truly stood alone as a film. As I said above I did enjoy it more as a stand alone film... Once more I am on the fence with this film. WHY oh WHY did they have to make it into 3 films? I can't really rate it as a whole some parts rank as a 1, some as a 7...so maybe 'Good Enough I suppose providing I don't intend to bring my brain or sympathy to the film with me, I will watch it again but I don't really know what would draw me in-am I revealing in the failure or enjoying the experience?' could sum it up.
One thing I did notice coming out of the film...I no longer really care if it matches the book or not (ok a few exceptions)...I've finally realized Jackson dosen't understand Tolkien or at least the way I percieve him. It's a shame he dosen't completely understand how to make a good film either.
Maybe I had too high/low expectations, and yes some of the flaws are in the source material, but DOS though a very well made entertaining film left me underwhelmed as a cinemagoer, and very annoyed as a Tolkien Fan.
I don't have much to say.