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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
My (HeadingSouth's) Review Of The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug (Spoilers)

HeadingSouth
The Shire


Dec 18 2013, 7:25am

Post #1 of 3 (1007 views)
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My (HeadingSouth's) Review Of The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug (Spoilers) Can't Post

After reading spoilers before seeing the film and expecting a disappointment, the film turned out to be better than I expected.

I feel that most of the film up to Lake-Town feels rushed and then begins to drag from then onwards. I was really disappointed by how little Bilbo is in the film with dialogue, nowhere near enough, particularly when you have Martin Freeman who is so good in the role.
Beorn felt rushed, Mirkwood and Spiders felt rushed. The Spiders sequence is my favourite in the book and because Bilbo found his courage in the first film, the importance of this scene is greatly diminished, plus naming sting could've been done so much better. The elves fighting off the spiders was disappointing too. I am not keen on Thranduil's scar either, but otherwise I thought he was portrayed well. I was expecting a disaster with Tauriel and while I wasn't keen on the romantic elements, she was a bit better than I expected (Evangeline Lily did an okay job). The fight scenes are still way over the top and too long. I enjoyed the expansion of Bard and was genuinely impressed by Luke Evans. I wasn't satisfied with the way they found the secret door and wished there was more time spent outside the mountain. The scene between Bilbo and Smaug started out well (although changes to dialogue were not appreciated) until the Dwarves came storming in and it became a ridiculous hollywood action scene. This scene was a disaster and was the major weakness of the film. Smaug though is by far the best CG Character I have ever seen and Benedict does an incredible voice and motion capture. The fighting in Lake-Town was also unnecessary and boring.

I wasn't bothered too much by the Dol Guldur storyline, though Gandalf is again defeated without trouble.

Overall the film feels very far from the book. It is more inspired by than adapted from the book.

As a Film itself it is decent, but it is disappointing that the book I love so much has been cut and changed so drastically.


(This post was edited by HeadingSouth on Dec 18 2013, 7:28am)


moreorless
Rohan

Dec 18 2013, 9:18am

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The problem with adaptation... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
After reading spoilers before seeing the film and expecting a disappointment, the film turned out to be better than I expected.

I feel that most of the film up to Lake-Town feels rushed and then begins to drag from then onwards. I was really disappointed by how little Bilbo is in the film with dialogue, nowhere near enough, particularly when you have Martin Freeman who is so good in the role.
Beorn felt rushed, Mirkwood and Spiders felt rushed. The Spiders sequence is my favourite in the book and because Bilbo found his courage in the first film, the importance of this scene is greatly diminished, plus naming sting could've been done so much better. The elves fighting off the spiders was disappointing too. I am not keen on Thranduil's scar either, but otherwise I thought he was portrayed well. I was expecting a disaster with Tauriel and while I wasn't keen on the romantic elements, she was a bit better than I expected (Evangeline Lily did an okay job). The fight scenes are still way over the top and too long. I enjoyed the expansion of Bard and was genuinely impressed by Luke Evans. I wasn't satisfied with the way they found the secret door and wished there was more time spent outside the mountain. The scene between Bilbo and Smaug started out well (although changes to dialogue were not appreciated) until the Dwarves came storming in and it became a ridiculous hollywood action scene. This scene was a disaster and was the major weakness of the film. Smaug though is by far the best CG Character I have ever seen and Benedict does an incredible voice and motion capture. The fighting in Lake-Town was also unnecessary and boring.

I wasn't bothered too much by the Dol Guldur storyline, though Gandalf is again defeated without trouble.

Overall the film feels very far from the book. It is more inspired by than adapted from the book.

As a Film itself it is decent, but it is disappointing that the book I love so much has been cut and changed so drastically.


I can certainly understand the disappointment with the changes but I'd argue some of your other points highlight why changes were needed.

Tolkiens book for me is a much more obviously "literary" work than LOTR. A great deal of what makes it an entertaining read for adults and children is IMHO the charm of the prose, the sense of an old storyteller with a keen wit telling the tale. The style of the prose also of course means that it can keep the story moving along at fast pace.

Carrying that onto the screen is I'd say next to impossible and leaves your with a story that's much less obviously cinematic. Almost all of the events of LOTR serve a very clear purpose in devolping the characters involved, within the Hobbit though "Bilbo learning to be a hero" is really the only theme for most of the first 2/3rds of the book. Theres only so many times you can go back to this theme before it starts to become dull.

Now Jackson has taken Tolkiens strongest scenes from the book such as the unexpected party, Gollum and the conversation with Smaug and has pushed them for all there worth giving them room to breath. Elsewhere though I actually think the scenes he's invented(Azog, the Smaug confrontation) carry more emotional weight that much of what he's adapted from the page. Within Thorin especially I do find it hard to be too critical of any changes, to me Jackson has created a very "tolkienesque" character, he actually reminds me a good deal of book Denethor in that his obvious bravey and intelligence are damaged by arrogance and hubris.


(This post was edited by moreorless on Dec 18 2013, 9:25am)


Hun200kmh
The Shire


Dec 18 2013, 1:31pm

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Re: HeadingSouth's review [In reply to] Can't Post

almost 100% agree with the OP. I've been tempted a few times already to write my own review here but I decided to wait, because I almost got out of the movie in full hot blooded anger at PJ and what he did. I needed time to get distance and perspective. So I think I have it now.

The Good:

- Thranduil being a prick. And a merciless killer, even against his own word. The hint to us all that he is the only one that fully understands what the doomed orc has said. There's a glimpse of First Age elve in him. Finally there's darkness in elves, they're not all like wise-Elrond, ethereal-Galadriel, goodguy-Legolas or slowtalker-Celeborn.

In a way, this portrayal shows us yet another glimpse of the world Tolkien created.


- Tauriel - I don't mind her at all, quite the contrary I think she was a fine addition to the story. She helps us understanding that there is a class / caste system within the elves. And that's another glimpse of Tolkien's secondary world.

- Bard - I think PJ's crew found a brilliant way for us to connect with such an important character. Again, I don't mind at any of the "invented" stuff about him, because it solely expands. Him having a family is nice, him being the one that smuggles the dwarves into LakeTown, him being tortured by a "supposed failure" of his ancestor, him keeping the last black arrow. No problems too with it not being used with a bow. Grim character, and I liked his portrayal.

- Master of LakeTown and Alfrid - Considering childrens's books nowadays "en vogue", it almost is a shock to read Tolkien's Hobbit and find "politics" in it. If anything I think it's a bit overdone (they're too dirty and too obviously despicable), but I guess blockbuster makers think youth these days doesn't get subtlety very well. And dirty characters "a la" Pirates of the Caribbean got trendy I suppose. Anyway, overall I enjoyed seeing the Master of Lake Town being brought to life on screen, and didn't mind Alfrid (a counselor with a name is better than a few nameless ones, like the people we see in Elrond's Council and have no clue what they're doing there).

- Scenery and CGI - A great improvement over AUJ, where CG characters had just the quality of top end video games. This time Azog, Bolg, Spiders, Wargs, Beorn in bear form and, of course, the mother of all CGI characters, Smaug were all much more believable and "in" the movie, rather than obviously juxtaposed to it.


The Bad::

Story - Everything that happened with Bilbo/Dwarves/Dragon after the last great moment in the movie, which in my opinion is when Balin keeps Bilbo company up to halfway into his descent to the Dragon's lair. And the way Balin says that "Hobbits' courage will always amaze him".

Kili -Tauriel - Gimli's enchantment with Galadriel and his audacity to ask for a single golden hair of her to build a jewel around it is old school I guess.

Gandalf - I can only guess PJ wants to make him look stupid. "It's Undoubtebly a trap. Only Sauron can summon the Nazgul. Now go on to warn the others because I will walk straight into it. Alone. And forget stealth, that's too TOLKIEN for me. I'm not a thief trying to enter the Necromancer's dungeons unnoticed. I am Gandalf and even though I think it's probable that Sauron is here, that the Nine are here, that orcs are here .... I will tell them all to come forth. And then we'll see what happens.

Result? Nothing much, Sauron is merciful, spares his life and ... oh ... that another staff gone. No wait, this is the first.

I will not see this movie again, and that's the first time I do this with a movie based on the characters Tolkien created. With AUJ I had also a first (first time I didn't buy an extended version), but this time I really felt ... bad.

getting home I fired up my copy of the Rankin-Bass's Hobbit, just to watch "steallth" Bilbo's conversation with Smaug, and the way he reacted to the word "Revenge". Still the best Hobbit movie ever IMHO.






PS (about CGI and action scenes) - The "physically impossible" stuff remains happening, and the computer made actions scenes keep taking to much of this movie (and taking me away from it). Also, it was laughable the way those heavy, fully armored CGI orcs were silently jumping from rooftop to rooftop in Lake Town. Oh the graciousness of old school orcs ... I guess Saruman went backwards when he created those heavy Uruks, if Lurtz ever tried to walk over tiles I'm sure the downfall of a full home would follow.

(This post was edited by Hun200kmh on Dec 18 2013, 1:36pm)

 
 

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