January 4, 2014

The Desolation of Smaug Was Entertaining If Not Amazing

December meant Middle Earth returning to theaters, and The Desolation of Smaug showed the promise of being entertaining. Excited as I was for it, I didn't rush to the theater on opening day. There were scheduling issues and holiday to-dos like wrapping presents, and next thing I realized, it was a week later. Not a big deal but considering I saw the first installment of The Hobbit at midnight on opening day, I knew I was dragging my feet. It wasn't that I didn't want to see the film, but given the length and that I was worried about how padded it might be, it was a commitment to set aside the time.

But, I'm happy I saw it. While The Desolation of Smaug didn't blow me away, it was enough. It was very definitely a middle, not handled as well as The Empire Strikes Back or Catching Fire, but still packed with action and interesting characters and forward movement in the story. In fact, it may have had too much of all of those things. The movie jumped around to the different arcs abruptly leaving my head feeling as jarred as if I'd just ridden a rough roller coaster.

Spoilers after the image.

Fans of the book knew to expect certain story milestones in The Desolation of Smaug: dwarves in barrels, Beorn, Mirkwood elves, Laketown, and the glorious dragon Smaug. Listing the mini-adventures within the bigger one like that makes me stop for a moment and consider maybe splitting The Hobbit apart isn't the worst sin. Given how choppy this movie felt, what would it be like if all of those elements were squished into the first movie? An Unexpected Journey did leave plenty of room for editing, but I can see the argument for two films.

As happens when you watch a movie based on a book, I kept a mental checklist in my head of where we needed to go and what we needed to see. Watching the dwarves roll down the river in barrels was absolutely fun and is destined to be a ride at a theme park in the future. Beorn was not at all what I expected but not in a bad way. My only sadness there is that we spent so little time in his house. He sort of gets lost in the battling story arcs.

The portrayal of Thranduil pushed perfect. I do have a weakness for Lee Pace (see Thranduil the PieMaker), and he carried the elf-king role with grace and nailed the formality and ego and rudeness. I was equally impressed with Evangeline Lilly as Tauriel. She wasn't on my checklist since she was invented for the film adaptation, but I knew she was present. The path of Thorin continues to be my favorite, but I believe Tauriel was one of the most interesting people to watch in the film.

Could I be gravitating to her because she is a female in the sea of men in Middle Earth? Maybe. Okay, probably a little. However, she is far more than “insert lady character” here. Yes, she is physically strong and capable, but it didn't feel forced. As a balance to that, she is compassionate in a stark contrast to Thranduil's coldness. Though I could do without her being an object of love for both Kili and Legolas, I'd rather her character be well-rounded instead of only being a capable warrior. In this light, she gets to show multiple kinds of strength.

Tauriel wasn't the only character not present in the book - Jackson added those as well as new scenes. Such changes are a given. The alterations should still fit with the tone of the story.* I liked the additions of Legolas and Tauriel, the tweaks to the Bard's place in the story, gold-covered Smaug, and I didn't mind Kili's injury. The movie could have done without Gandalf's visit to Dol Goldur. Sure, it shows the seeds of Sauron's return and it was referenced (barely) in the book The Hobbit, but it felt like an unnecessary diversion.

Then again, what would I have rather done with the minutes from that plot? They certainly don't need to be added back in – I think they could have been cut altogether and saved for the Extended Edition. And even though Benedict Cumberbatch was delightful as Smaug the Magnificent, man, that whole bit in the mountain seemed to take forever.

At the end of the day, I can complain or applaud all I want, but the fact is that even if Peter Jackson split The Hobbit movie into five segments, I'd pay to see all of them. And so would many other fans. Sure, a few might drop out if the first one or two aren't amazing. Maybe. But for the most part, I know I'm so excited to see world like Middle Earth portrayed on a giant screen and brought to life that I'm willing forgive a lot of mistakes. And I'm not the only one.

* If you want to read a list of comparisons between the book and movies, I recommend this one.


  1. شركة نقل عفش بالدمام الشرق الاوسط متحصصه فى نقل عفش واثاث بالدمام ونقل العفش بالخبر كما انها توفر شركة نقل عفش بالجبيل والخبر وشركة نقل عفش بالقطيف والاحساء وجميع خدمات نقل العفش والاثاث بالمنطقة الشرقية بارخص اسعار نقل عفش بالدمام وتقدم ايضا شركة تخزين عفش بالدمام والخبر
    نقل عفش بالدمام
    شركة نقل اثاث بالدمام
    شركة نقل اثاث بالخبر
    شركة نقل اثاث بالجبيل
    شركة نقل عفش بالخبر
    شركة نقل عفش بالقطيف
    شركة نقل اثاث بالاحساء


  2. شركة تنظيف خزانات بالمدينة المنورة وشقق بالمدينة المنورة شركة غسيل خزانات ومكافحة حشرات بالمدينة المنورة ونقل عفش بالمدينة المنورة مؤسسة صفوة المدينة
    شركة تنظيف خزانات بالمدينة المنورة
    شركة مكافحة حشرات بالمدينة المنورة مؤسسة صفوة المدينة انها الاولى فى مكافحة ورش الحشرات بالمدينة المنورة رش البق رش الصراصير مكافحة النمل الابيض بالمدينة المنورة
    شركة مكافحة حشرات بالمدينة المنورة

  3. This is one of the best pages I've visited glad to be in your yard this amazing I find your site from gogole. Thanks for sharing, and I would be very happy and happy if you are also willing to visit to our website and read them to share information and knowledge about health, disease and treatment. Thank you and may be beneficial for all.
    Obat Amandel Paling Ampuh dan Efektif | Obat Herpes Genital Paling Ampuh | Obat Penghancur batu Empedu | Obat Asidosis Tubulus Renalis (ATR) Yang Alami dan Efektif | Obat Tradisional Gagal Ginjal | Obat Infeksi Tulang Paling Ampuh Dan Efektif | Obat Keloid Atau Bekas Luka Yang Alami

  4. Thanks for sharing information very interesting and useful. Do not forget to visit our website to share information and knowledge about health Obat Rakitis Alami & Ampuh | Pengobatan Alternatif Syaraf Kejepit | Pengobatan Tradisional Paling Ampuh Dan Efektif

  5. thank you very useful information admin, and pardon me permission to share articles here may help :

    Khasiat buah alpukat untuk menurunkan berat badan
    Cara menyembuhkan kista ovarium
    Obat flek paru herbal

  6. Thanks for sharing information very interesting and useful. Do not forget to visit our website to share information and knowledge about health Obat Infeksi Tulang Belakang Alami

  7. Thanks for sharing information very interesting and useful. Do not forget to visit our website to share information and knowledge about health Obat Ruam Pada Tubuh, Selangkangan Dan Area Kelamin | Produk Walatra Original

  8. Thanks for sharing information very interesting and useful. Do not forget to visit our website to share information and knowledge about health
    Cara Mengobati Tendonitis | Sheva Herbal | Produk Walatra Original | Obat Sakit Saat Kencing


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...