If This is to End in Fire, Then We Will All Burn Together!
Fans of my reviews may remember that last year I was extremely upset by The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. I went into the movie unaware of the fact that Peter Jackson had split one book into three movies, leaving me angered over the fact that nothing had been resolved by the ending of the movie. Going into today’s movie, I was aware but was perhaps still a bit sore about the perceived deception. We’ll see how that worked out for this movie as I review The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, based on a novel by J. R. R. Tolkien, adapted for screen by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, and Guillermo del Toro, directed and co-written by Peter Jackson, and starring Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Benedict Cumberbatch, Evangeline Lilly, Orlando Bloom, Luke Evans, Lee Pace, Stephen Fry, Graham McTavish, Ken Stott, Aiden Turner, Dean O’Gorman, Mark Hadlow, Jed Brophy, Adam Brown, John Callen, Peter Hambleton, William Kircher, James Nesbitt, Stephen Hunter, Manu Bennett, Cate Blanchett, Mikael Persbrandt, and Sylvester McCoy.
We still Hobbitin’, y’all! Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) accompanies a group of Dwarves lead by Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) to try to recapture the Arkenstone from the Lonely Mountain where it’s kept by the dragon Smaug. The Arkenstone will somehow help Thorin become a king again or some shit. On the way, their time is wasted by a skin-changer named Beorn (Mikael Persbrandt), some elves named Tranduil (Lee Pace), Legolas (Orlando Bloom), and Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly), and some Orcs. Also, they meet Bard (Luke Evans) when they go to the cleverly named Lake-town, led by Stephen Fry.
If Thorin decided that he wanted to share his kingdom and he wanted to divide the Arkenstone amongst the other Dwarves, do you know how he would cut the Arkenstone? With an Arken-saw! I thought of that joke during the movie and, though I have told many of the people that I know read these reviews, I just want it to be available to cause pain throughout the entire internet. As far as this movie goes, I again found myself angered by my expectations for it, but that anger was tempered with the experiences I gained from the first movie. When I saw the first Hobbit, I didn’t realize that Jackson had split one book into three movies, leaving me angry. I expected this movie to have me see Smaug desolated. Turns out they mean the desolation CAUSED BY Smaug. Youse is a tricky bitch, Jackson! But going into the movie knowing the history of anger I had with the series allowed my expectations to compensate for it and I would say that I ultimately enjoyed the movie. I still felt like there was a lot of wasted time with walking over mountains, stumbling through the woods, and conversations between Dwarves and Elves about the moon, and still don’t feel like there’s anything beyond a financial reason for this to be three movies, but it was still pretty entertaining. Though he was a small part in the movie, I also appreciated the “skin-changer.” Well, I guess it’s more accurate to say that I appreciated that they called him a skin-changer. “Were-bear” would have sounded odd.
The look was good as you’d probably expect it to be, but there were some parts that didn’t feel like they held up as well. Mainly parts of the white water rafting scene, and mainly just the parts of those scenes that appeared to have been filmed with a GoPro for some reason. But I liked the scenes with Smaug. Dragons are awesome. And those scenes were visually spectacular. Not just was the dragon awesome, but the constantly spilling gold coins added a level of difficulty to the rendering that I respect. And Smaug looked scary as hell through most of his scenes, but I have to imagine that there was no way he looked anything but adorable when he was burrowing down into the gold where he was sleeping. I imagine it looked like a little puppy burrowing into a pile of blankets with his nose.
The action was also pretty good in this movie. I particularly liked the fat dwarf barrel fight because it was pretty funny and all of the fights involving Legolas and Tauriel because elven fighting is pretty awesome. It’s like martial arts mixed with Hawkeye from Avengers bow and arrow action.
The cast also did find jobs in this movie. I thought it was dangerous of this movie to add Luke Evans to the cast, though. Not because I don’t expect him to be good, but because he is so easily confusable with Orlando Bloom, who was already in this movie. Thankfully, Evans looks more like Will Turner from Pirates of the Caribbean and Bloom looks more like Legolas in this movie, so it was easy to keep them separated. But his character didn’t give me any problems. Other people in relation to his character did. What the hell kind of logic is it to not pay attention to his ideas because his great great grandfather had a shitty aim? Thank God no one that I know ever went to the gun range with my ancestors or I’d have even fewer people reading my reviews.
If the Necromancer in this movie had a puppy that needed to go to the bathroom, would it have to use the doggy door of Dol Guldur? Sorry, that was another terrible joke I thought of that I wanted to punish you with. The Desolation of Smaug was another good Hobbit movie whose greatest problem is the fact that I don’t feel that they need to be 3 (or possibly even 2) movies. There is enough wasted time and side stuff that could’ve been cut out, but it still looks great, has some exciting action, and a great cast. So I’m still going to recommend you watch this movie, but I personally won’t be purchasing a Hobbit movie until they come in one package. I would’ve given this movie series enough money by then. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug gets “I merely wanted to gaze upon your magnificence, to see if you were as great as the old tales say” out of “I did not believe them.”
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