So I did a blog a year ago on recent reboots (X-Men: First Class, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, and Star Trek) and the first installment of The Hobbit, for me, fell squarely between the other two franchises, in terms of awesomeness (granted it’s not a “reboot” but it was a revitalization of a franchise).
The second installment though, I’m not completely sure how I feel about it. I’ll try and lay out some pros and cons, and maybe by the end of the blog I’ll have a better sense of where I’m at on it. Also I know that this story either on page or screen that’s near and dear to several nerd hearts, so I’ll tread lightly.
When I watched The Desolation of Smaug (TDoS) I enjoyed it, a lot (except for a couple moments I’ll get to). Visually it was awesome, and I mean the actual definition of the word AWESOME. As I sat in the theater I found myself in awe at the special effects and scenery, as well as tiny details in places like Beorn’s huge cottage (why didn’t we get more time there… oh yeah because we spent all that time with the elves…). But as I recollect my thoughts, overall I was kind of underwhelmed… maybe that’s too insulting, it was in many ways a masterpiece… so let’s say that I was just whelmed. Perhaps it’s due in part to the fact that audiences seeing either LOTR (Lord of the Rings) or The Hobbit (any of the 3 films) already expect the visual stimulation, so at this point, even the wow factor is a bit standard.
Where was I, ah yes, I’m supposed to have a list of pros and cons… Here they are, and I’ll save what I thought was best for last (since it seems that’s what Peter Jackson is doing… I hope)
Pro: More Gandalf
So I was actually really happy to see more of where Gandalf went and why. I remember reading the book and thinking… “gee that’s nice of you Gandalf, send them off on this epic journey, then leave halfway and show up at the end missing all of the tough stuff”. Now I know that what we saw of Gandalf wasn’t in the book, and that’s the sort of thing that can be annoying if it was distracting, which this didn’t seem that way all that much. However…
Con: More Elves
Now don’t get me wrong, I like the Elves, and this may seem weird that I’d therefore put them in the Con section… well, let me start with the fact that I always wanted more elves in the book… because I like the elves. I also wanted more of the elves in the animated version of the Hobbit (by the way, next July expect a comparison blog… yep I’m serious). Also it probably goes without saying, but yes, I confess in high school I definitely swooned over Legolas (and Will Turner… but that’s a whole other movie). The unfortunate part though is that unlike Galdalf anything extra with the elves not in the book feels like it’s unnecessary. I mean, why do we care about Legolas and Tauriel (nothing against Evangeline Lilly, I’ve loved her acting ever since LOST). Also, why are Legolas’ eyes blue now… did something cause the color to change between now and him joining the fellowship? Yeah try not noticing that from now on fellow nerds. Anyway, the point is the extra elf storylines were kind of pointless. And it feels like Kili’s wound was just a plot device so that we could see Tauriel’s healing at Bard’s house in Laketown.
Speaking of Laketown, I’m going to declare Laketown as actually in between the pros and cons, simply because even though there was extra, I felt like getting more of Bard (who looked more like Orlando Bloom, than Orlando Bloom did) added a human element, and none of what was extra felt distracting.
I thought that as far as dragons go, they made him terrifying and there were times when I read the book that Bilbo’s discussion with him felt cheesy but it never seemed that way watching it on screen. The only problem though was how the dwarves dealt with him. Why in all of Middle Earth would they think that molten metal (that took Smaug’s fire to melt) would really cause any damage? And quite frankly, while I knew that Peter Jackson had made the choice to make these films a trilogy, I was still one of several people in the theater thinking “WHAT?!?!?!” when the screen went black.
One of our other bloggers set up his own rating system for films, and so I decided to have one as well, I’m basing it on the same rating system that I used to illustrate how I felt about the big reveal in Iron Man 3, if you want details on the rating system you can look at the About Page for a list of the different ratings, but The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug gets a solid “That was nice” and a “Huh”. Though even if it’s just for the visuals (and the acting) I still recommend seeing it in the theater.
So what were your thoughts on The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (also is it just me or did it feel like we saw more desolating done in the first installment…) Leave a comment below!