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Monday, January 06, 2014

A Quick Word on The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

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Before viewing The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, I expected to see an overlong, terribly adapted film. Those expectations were correct. However, I did not expect to see a pretty great film about personal responsibility, selfishness, and greed. Boy, did I get one. This is a movie--let's stop there and bunny trail. This is a movie. I can look at it as a very loose adaptation of Tolkien's work, but in the end, a movie stands alone, and that is how I am viewing it, even it is based on a book that has been one of my favorites since George H Bush was in office.
Anyway, this is a movie where the heroes are actually the villains. At the beginning of the film, someone tells the heroes that the heroes don't care about anyone they view as less than themselves. Sure enough, the protagonists end up putting their own goals and dreams ahead of the lives and well being of a group of people less "important" than they are. Thus, the final words of the cliffhanger ending are "what have we done?" In between those two scenes are the greatest barrel-ride ever-filmed, enough orc heads to fill the Superdome, and one awesome-looking, awesome-sounding dragon. I've seen it twice, and it was even better the second time. Great characters, great theme, great action.
On top of that, the end-credits song is really great--beautiful work, even if it is sung by a ginger--and sums up the plot and theme of the film.

5 comments:

laurenthevampireslayer said...

A BRITISH GINGAHHHHH!

Courtney Elizabeth said...

Thank you. I don't think I can thank you enough for this post. :) I have been kind of ticked at all my friends who having been constantly bashing this movie for it's accuracy with the books and hating it for that. While it doesn't follow the books I also thought it was an excellent movie. I'm glad I'm not the only one out there!

Nicholas said...

Glad that you liked it! I checked out your blog, and it is awesome that you are a big Dr. Who fan, and that you have friends who also watch. When I was a teenager watching Dr. Who in syndication in the Wholess '90s, I only had one other friend who watched it, and if one of us was out of town, we'd have have to tape it for the other. Keep it up.
More importantly, it also appears that you are strong in your faith. Keep that up, too!

Neal said...

I didn't hate it, but... I didn't like that it had a "cliffhanger" ending (seriously, with how long it was and that extended scene at the end, it should have had an ending).

I also think PJ and his crew are having too much fun turning things to 11. Legolas and a certain part of the barrel chase come to mind... there's this fun thing and then they keep going with it. Kind of like the difference between Legolas in Fellowship of the Ring and Return of the King where he turns into some crazy unreal ninja. The less overkill versions appeal to me more.

But there were certain elements I liked and I rather wish they had played with the theme you picked up on more. You actually helped me see that more, which is good. :)

*sighs* Just not as invested as these as I was with the LOTR ones. Oh well, I still have Paris with that one. ;)

Nicholas said...

Neal, can't believe I missed this comment.
I'm a sucker for cliffhangers, and I thought Bilbo's final line was particularly powerful on top of the silence of Smaug flying unhindered toward Lake-town.
I also didn't mind PJ taking things to 11, as this has been a pretty consistent trait in his film-making. I loved his King Kong remake, and essentially any scene where he thought, "first we'll have dinosaurs, then a dinosaur stampede, then other dinosaurs will chase those dinosaurs, then the whole path will fall off a cliff" was my favorite.
That said, I wouldn't want the whole film dialed up to 11, so I enjoyed that the river chase was the only scene that went that high.
Legolas killing approximately 1,000,000 orcs at the end of Return of the King did bother me a bit, in that Gimli was supposed to be his equal in combat.
That said, of course nothing is going to be as good as that original trilogy. I thought this film was a huge step in the right direction, and I might actually like it a bit more than the original cut of The Two Towers, but I would be shocked if even an incredible third film would bring this trilogy anywhere close to LOTR. Those films were a miracle.
Finally, I did think they were pretty consistent with the theme. Essentially every major character outside of Beorn, Bard, and Kate had an agenda that put them first. At least I think they did...I waited to long to respond, and now things are foggy...I'll probably pick this up on Blu-Ray, and I'll watch it again to see.