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Movie Breakdown: The Hobbit – The Desolation Of Smaug (Noah)

December 11, 2013

Film

People are doing traditional-style reviews all over the web, so we decided to try something different.  In each “breakdown” we’ll take a look at what a film’s marketing lead us to believe, how the movie actually played, and then what we learned from it all.  Read on!

The Impression:

I might be one of the handful of folks who genuinely loved the first film in forthcoming The Hobbit trilogy. I found it silly (in the best way), adventurous, and thought Martin Freeman shat a steaming pile of second breakfasts on all other hobbits who’d come before him. I can’t wait to see that dragon singe his hairy little feet.

The Reality:

I’m pretty sure I’ll find myself in the minority yet again with my opinion, but I loved Desolation of Smaug even more than the first film. Gone are the extensive bits of character development through dish-washing songs and food descriptions, replaced instead with a bevy of set pieces involving orcs, arrows, barrels, fire and death. Though I loved the slowish pace of the first film, this film just rollicks right along, in a way that highlights just why I love this second (or first or … whatever) trilogy more than the boorish Lord of the Rings fare: these are adventure movies not epics. Don’t get me wrong, this is a fucking epic film and you get to spend almost forty minutes with a beautifully rendered dragon voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch amongst other things, but for the most part this is an adventure in the same vein as Indiana Jones. Yes, yes, there’s speeches and pontificating and a general sense that “something big is happening” but at the end of the day this is the story of a reluctant hero, his band of goofy friends, and the quest for buried treasure. Martin Freeman continues to run circles around his hobbit forefathers, somehow being both scared, conniving, intellectual, and a total badass all at the same time, and even the sprawling dwarf cast manages to pop as individuals. The film is laden with action, but I never found it to grow tiring, instead I couldn’t wait until Orlando Bloom and Evangeline Lilly got to smite some fools with their arrows. My one issue, as it as always been with all the J.R.R. Tolkien adaptations is that the CG is almost too all-encompassing. Jackson loves a green screen, and when used this much you can actually see its effects in the sort of weird greying of the visuals. It didn’t distract terribly, but I wonder more and more if this is less something to wait out, or just something to get used to.

The Lesson:

Haters are going to hate … mostly hobbits it seems.

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