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Thread: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug: A Purist's Review

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    The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug: A Purist's Review

    Ranking: 4/10

    *SPOILERS AHEAD*

    Well folks, many of you know this is my custom to review the movies like this and has been since they first came out back in the First Age of the Tolkien forum. Before the FADs (Film Adaptation Defenders) come out in full force and knock me for my review, know that I DID give Unexpected Journey 7/10 despite the grievous changes in it. I tried with this one. I really, really tried to separate the book from the movie but I found it impossible to do with DOS compared to UJ. There was so much wrong with this installment that I barely recognized the book short of a few locations and the linear story line. So without further ado, let's get on with it.

    THE GOOD
    1) Smaug - Looked great, sounded great and said (or said out loud from his thoughts) what Tolkien wrote.
    2) The Spiders of Mirkwood - Looked good even if it didn't follow the book very well.
    3) Fight sequences - Despite that most of them were fabricated, Jackson definitely made them exciting and enjoyable.

    That's about it. Sorry folks but this was even worse than The Two Towers theater version in regards to the LoTR series for a lousy adaptation. There were almost no redeeming qualities to this movie as an adaptation.

    THE BAD - (Oh where do I start?)

    1) Lack of Beorn - You think with all the fleshing out, additions, gratuitous changes that PJ makes to the movies, he would have done it with this. Like the Ents in the theatre version of TTT, Beorn was pretty much useless. I was expecting PJ to have a field day with this, showing him skinning the warg, fighting the goblins and what not. He might as well have not even been there. Definitely dropped the ball on this one and I hope that there is more of him in the EE.

    2) Prolific and gratuitous changes to the Elven kingdom of Mirkwood - From Thorin being captured with everyone else to Thranduil and Thorin both talking about the dwarves' quest and Thranduil offering his help. Sheeesh. That was way too many changes from the book. Nevermind the invention of Tauriel and Kili and her interaction

    3) Lack of Mirkwood time - It was so rushed. Where was Bombur falling in the river and falling under a spell? What about the crashing of the Elves' camps? Jackson whipped through Beorn and Mirkwood with damn near a passing nod just so he could waste half the movie's time in Laketown and extended scenes in Erebor. Which brings me....

    4) Laketown - I understand that having a bit more of a part for Bard is necessary. He really can't just show up out of nowhere to kill Smaug. Wouldn't work from a cinematic point of view. But was damn near an hour of time needed to be spent in Laketown with completely made up events? Kili being wounded and 'dying', having Bard running all over the place, Legolas and Tauriel fighting. Never mind having the orcs attack it. It was just a boring waste of good screen time that could have been used elsewhere.

    5) Kili, Fili, Bofur and (Oin?? - the 'deaf' one) being left behind in Mirkwood and Kili being wounded. Come on...what the hell, PJ....

    6) Orcs and Elves chasing the barrel riders - Despite the exciting fight scenes and seeing Legolas and Tauriel do some great fighting (and of course good old fat Bombur. ), I felt this was really just Jackson indulging himself. Where was the secrecy? The deception of the Elves by Bilbo and the dwarves?

    7) Erebor - Just when Jackson gets it good with Bilbo and Smaug's palaver, he goes and extends it with complete nonsense and extended footage of Smaug and the dwarves destroying the hell out of Erebor and all the mining materials. The gold statue at the end of that??? What the hell??? That whole section was such an utter travesty of epic proportions. Plain awful

    It is such a pity that Jackson spent damn near over half the movie in two locations (Laketown and Erebor), with so much added fluff and nonsense while places like Mirkwood and the House of Beorn were so grossly neglected.

    THE NEUTRAL

    1) Tauriel and Legolas - Obviously if there are any elves fighting or taking dwarves captive, Legolas as the prince of Mirkwood would probably have been a part of that. I had no problems with him being there and given a bit part. Even Tauriel as one of the elves of the king's guard didn't bother me so much. They probably gave us some of the most exciting and stylish cinematic fighting out of all PJ's adaptations. Had PJ left it in Mirkwood, it wouldn't have been so bad. But noooooo...he has to have them show up in Laketown to save the day, heal Kili, seduce Kili, and fight orcs that shouldn't have been there to begin with.

    2) Gandalf in Dol Guldur - I know the Council of the Wise does eventually drive the Necromancer out of Dol Guldur and obviously PJ is setting up the army to go to the Battle of the Five Armies (despite the fact that it was goblins from the Misty Mountains and from the North at this battle and not orcs from Dol Goldur) I have no problems with PJ showing HOW this 'driving out takes place' and I know he has to set it up, but I felt Gandalf fighting there and his capture was just plain dumb and stood out awkwardly from the rest of the movie.

    I really felt that Jackson gave WAY too much time in Laketown and Erebor with complete fabrications that the rest of the locations and exciting things that happened there, were basically glossed over. That is Jackson's forte though: Skip Tolkien to add in his own creations. It was just a sloppy handling of the material. Overall, despite what the critics have said comparing the two installments, I felt that Unexpected Journey was a better movie AND adaptation than Desolation of Smaug. I hope PJ does the final installment the justice that the book deserves.
    Last edited by Thorin; 12-17-2013 at 08:51 PM.

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    Re: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug: A Purist's Review

    "Sorry folks but this was even worse than The Two Towers theater version in regards to the LoTR series for a lousy adaptation."

    Thank you to Thorin for summing up my thoughts in a nutshell about this movie. I was prepared for a fairly big departure from the original material, but wow, this exceeded my wildest fears!

    The Tauriel-Kili thing saw me developing tics right from the off and I really wasn't sure how to react to Thranduil. Yes, he was graceful and handsome. Yes, he was arrogant and above himself. But what was the face disfigurement about? I was both drawn to him and repulsed by him at the same time. Kudos to Lee Pace for creeping me out!

    Smaug, of course, was breath-taking. 'Nuff said!

    It was a little sad that Legolas looked older than his father, at least to my eyes.

    One of the many things that made me go, "hmmmm?" was Tauriel (well, anything to do with a non-existent character, really) healing Kili. A waste of time since he dies later on anyway! Wasn't getting the logic behind that one, I must say.

    Overall, let's just say I'm looking forward to next year, when hopefully PJ will redeem himself.
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    Re: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug: A Purist's Review

    In my ever so humble opinion, Jackson is not, nor has he ever been a fan of Tolkien, he is simply an instrument of the studios whose aim is to generate income. This film seemed doomed from the start to become a romp for idiots (either that or a video game franchise), nothing more. It was genuinely terrible and much of it was too awful to watch. Smaug the 'Golden', dear me.
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    Re: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug: A Purist's Review

    ...Legolas battling Bolg in Esgaroth...
    horrible adaptation, not a very good movie in general, what a massive disappointment

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    Re: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug: A Purist's Review

    i would echo some of the criticism of the film - too much laketown, not enough Beorn etc... but i have some sympathy with PJ when it comes to the Elves, and to the Dwarves, who - and who's stories - he has changed significantly in the Hobbit movies from the book: if he follows the book he has comic Dwarves who are more garden Gnome than Dwarf - coloured hats, no plan, and bumbling incompetance - and the Elves are just singing fairies, all twinkle dust, nice bread and singing. the problem PJ has is that these traits don't match the same peoples traits in LOTR just 80 years later - he either changes the story and produces Dwarves and Elves that fit with the LOTR versions, or he produces a story which is radically different from the tone of the LOTR stories.

    the truth is that the purists are a pretty small proportion of the population - he either offends the purists, or he makes 80% of his customer base say 'WTF?' - when it costs $600 million to make the three films, he has to make a film that won't just appeal to 90 people on the internet.

    i enjoyed the films, they are - for me - just another version of the hobbit, in the same way that i get one 'version' if i read the book on a grassy hill on a warm summers day looking out over Herefordshire, but a very different 'version' if i read it on a winters night with the rain lashing against the windows and a fire crackling away.

    i prefer PJ's Dwarves - and Elves - and i prefer Tolkiens Beorn, Spiders, and Laketown...

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    Angry Re: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug: A Purist's Review

    I really really went into this movie, knowing full well PJ was going to massacre the original story, but expecting a decent movie all the same. After seeing the original LOTR trilogy and how much it was changed from the story, and understanding that a book can't be 100% adapted in most cases, I didn't expect this movie to be that bad. But it seemed way too rushed.

    I really am not going to go into specifics for what I hated because I just really hated this movie. I mean as I said above, I knew PJ would change things, but I didn't know he would change things THAT much, it was just ridiculous. From the existence of Turiel to visiting the Witch King's grave chamber thing (which we knew was coming from the way it was brought up in the first film). I did like the way Gandalf fought Sauron, I thought that was cool even if it wasn't in the book, though PJ likes to get Gandalf captured a lot it seems, maybe he'll talk to a moth again to get free.

    All in all, if you're a Tolkien purist, you really won't enjoy this movie. I talked to a lot of people I know who have never picked up the books and they loved it, but pretty much everyone I know who's read the book really didn't like it at all.
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    Re: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug: A Purist's Review

    I didn't much care for The Hobbit #1, so when my spidey sense tingled about The Hobbit #2 I decided not to see it in theaters. I'm glad I waited to watch it online; I saved myself $10 that I would sorely have wanted back.

    The Hobbit #2 was such utter and disappointing dreck that my girlfriend and I were openly MST3King, starting about 15 minutes into the excruciating and endless runtime. I wasn't expecting anything at all like the book, I just wanted a fun movie, and I was utterly disappointed.

    Just as an idea how low my standards have gotten: earlier that same day, we watched A View To A Kill (James Bond versus Christopher Walken) and I enjoyed it pretty thoroughly.

    I'm definitely not seeing The Hobbit #3 in theaters. Too much other great stuff is coming out this year to bother - Guardians of the Galaxy, X-Men: Days of Future Past​...
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    Re: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug: A Purist's Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Troll View Post
    I didn't much care for The Hobbit #1, so when my spidey sense tingled about The Hobbit #2 I decided not to see it in theaters. I'm glad I waited to watch it online; I saved myself $10 that I would sorely have wanted back.

    The Hobbit #2 was such utter and disappointing dreck that my girlfriend and I were openly MST3King, starting about 15 minutes into the excruciating and endless runtime. I wasn't expecting anything at all like the book, I just wanted a fun movie, and I was utterly disappointed.

    Just as an idea how low my standards have gotten: earlier that same day, we watched A View To A Kill (James Bond versus Christopher Walken) and I enjoyed it pretty thoroughly.

    I'm definitely not seeing The Hobbit #3 in theaters. Too much other great stuff is coming out this year to bother - Guardians of the Galaxy, X-Men: Days of Future Past​...

    What sucks is, even LOTR wasn't THIS bad. So far, the Hobbit is a huge disappointment to me.
    “Mortals. I envy you. You think you can change things. Stop the universe. Undo what was done long before you came along. You are such beautiful creatures.”
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    Re: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug: A Purist's Review

    I think what PJ did to The Hobbit was far worse than what he did to LOTR. I tried to seperate the book from the movie while watching The Hobbit, but I just couldn't do it.
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    Re: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug: A Purist's Review

    I agree Starbrow. To me, it doesn't seem like he made as many huge/radical changes to LOTR as he did The Hobbit. What with Nazgul buried in underground tombs and dwarves and elves romancing and bringing a dead orc back to life as a protagonist. I know he made changes to LOTR and omitted a lot but it was still closer to the books than The Hobbit is.
    “Mortals. I envy you. You think you can change things. Stop the universe. Undo what was done long before you came along. You are such beautiful creatures.”
    -Macon Ravenwood

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