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Old 12-11-2013, 10:16 AM   #1
Aganzir
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Dark-Eye The Desolation

My initial thought was to title this 'The Desolation of Canon', but I want it to be more objective than that because I am sure not everyone even on this site shares my (and Lommy, Legate & Greenie's) opinion.

This thread is for discussing your second Hobbit film experience, so it will be rich in spoilers.

Did you know you need a ballista to shoot the Black Arrow? Neither did I, but I think it describes quite perfectly what Peter Jackson is doing to the Hobbit.

While I really liked the first film up until they met the trolls (and very little from then on), this one was different. The first half seriously made me wonder what I was doing there and what had happened to the story I knew.

You want to know the structure of the film? Orcs, a five minute bear, orcs, spiders, elves, orcs, orcs, elves & orcs, Smaug, orcs. Yes, I am speaking about the fighty scenes - there's little else.

The film opens on a flashback of a famous director chewing a carrot and moves on to an appendix story about a chance meeting in Bree. However, the characters are not quite how I've previously seen them. We have a reluctant Thorin, and Gandalf who basically sits down like "Okay see here, you have to go and reclaim your homeland, quiet now do as I say, also you need a burglar!"
I don't know what Peter Jackson is trying to achieve by taking away the dwarves' agency - I simply can't understand why he is portraying them as Gandalf's tools. (Help me?) Gandalf on the other hand is given a lot more knowledge and agency than in the book, and frankly, he uses the dwarves. He also shows Radagast the empty graves of the Nazgûl (conveniently buried in the same mountainside) as proof of Sauron's resurrection (which he obviously knows). Oh and did I mention he sort of duels Sauron in Dol Guldur in a way very reminiscent of him & Saruman; they probably used the same footage and stuck it to a different background.

However back to the beginning of the film, to the here and now. While running aimlessly from the orcs, Gandalf ushers the dwarves into Beorn's house - where they make it just in time to bar the door against the rabid bear who wants to tear them apart. But in the morning Beorn is there in his human form that looks a lot like this, serving them breakfast and delivering poorly written lines such as "I don't like dwarves............. But I like orcs even less! What do you need here take my sword take my bow my axe!" Aaand those five minutes of so that we see Beorn is all. All. There is nothing of the magic of his house, nothing. I can't see why he would ever come to the Battle of the Five Armies to save the day.

Mirkwood goes along the same lines. The dwarves wander around for a minute or two and get lost, then Bilbo climbs a tree and sees butterflies and the Lonely Mountain oh just there nearby, and when he comes down the dwarves have been taken by spiders. Cue a loong and messy battle. They have funny voices and they are nicely done and kind of creepy, and it feels like PJ was trying to outdo Shelob.

That's a big problem with the Hobbit films anyway - it feels like PJ wants to outdo LOTR; make everything bigger and scarier and more dangerous. Indeed when Sauron calls for Azog and the orcs of Dol Guldur assemble, it feels like the fate of Middle-earth is at stake more than during the War of the Ring. Doing an entire 6 film marathon would probably be a let down because most of the massive stuff would happen in the first three and the actual big things would look shoddy in comparison.

Alas even though the dwarves fight the spiders bravely they cannot win; there are too many! Elves to the rescue! They capture the dwarves and take them to the Elvenking's dungeons. And here is all that happens in Mirkwood. The magic was just not there - obviously because PJ didn't give it time. Because it's more important to fit 101 ways to kill a spider and 102 ways to kill an orc in the film than gives us a story, a real story.

Thranduil interrogates Thorin, who refuses to give answers, and then locks him up again. Fortunately for the dwarves, Bilbo is there and releases them the very same night (is how I understood it). However I'm pretty sure barrels out of bond would be more enjoyable if we didn't have both elves and orcs hunting the dwarves, throw in an occasional elf saving a dwarf or a dwarf an elf, all the while either riding a barrel or running downstream.

Legolas and Tauriel play a big part here, and I sort of like them both, compared to the rest of the film at least. Orlando Bloom's acting is hilarious because he's clearly making fun of his ten years younger self - and I would never have believed I'd praise his Legolas sincerely one day! Tauriel is alright as a character, and her first encounter with her romantic interest Kili is surprisingly okay, even if it's wrong on so many levels to have a romance between an elf and a dwarf. Thranduil is also okay, even if he's one of my least favourite characters. He just wasn't given very much canon time at all, and not a lot of fanfic time either.

After washing ashore, the dwarves run into Bard who is there collecting the empty barrels and also seems to work as a smuggler of sorts, agreeing to take the dwarves to Esgaroth. And here begins the part I liked best, even if little of it happens that way in the book. It's a little break from the running, and it appeals to my visual tastes. I find Bard a likeable character - different from the book yes, but here it works - and the Master is also interesting, even if he has a little mini-Grima (as Rune aptly named him on facebook) following him. And the Laketown theme is one of my favourite musical pieces in the Hobbit films. Also there are people of colour among the Laketowners, and while it shouldn't be a noteworthy thing, it's one of the first times PJ shows them as something other than villains. Generally though, I like what happens in Laketown, even if the dwarves' stay there is also really rushed (arrive in the morning, leave the next morning because Duuriin's Daay is at hand and got to get to the Mountain run run run).

Oh except not all dwarves leave! Here I forgot to mention Kili (who took an arrow to the knee), Fili, Bofur and Oin stay behind in Laketown and are attacked by Bolg's orcs who sneak on the roofs. But fortunately there are two unexpected elves who kiilll theeem aaaall! Legolas rides off after Bolg (who dared to hit him and give him a nosebleed) while Tauriel heals Kili from the poisonous wound that's killing him with athelas, and Kili starts a feverish ramble about Tauriel and "Do you think she could love me?" Well yes she probably could because she just took your hand.

Meanwhile the other dwarves get into the Mountain (even if there's a pun involved and 'the last light' actually means moonlight, clever Bilbo and even cleverer Peter Jackson), Bilbo sneaks off to look for the Arkenstone and up Smaug wakes. It's alright as long as they stick to the book dialogue, and Smaug is sort of cool. Then Bilbo runs away and Thorin throws a fit because he doesn't have the Arkenstone, and all the dwarves enter the mountain. Then we have a lot of running from Smaug (who, despite having a very keen nose and eyesight and hearing and all, is apparently too stupid to find them), and then a lot of running to Smaug as somebody gets the brilliant idea to try and kill him then and there. There's explosions and hot metal and dangerous deeds and dragon torture, and Smaug and Thorin exchange words ("The Mountain is mine" "No mine" "Mine" mine mine mine) before the dragon leaves the dwarves in the mountain and heads off to take revenge on the people of Laketown.

Basically here we have Peter Jackson Thinks He Is A Better Storyteller Than Tolkien vol. 2 (or vol. 5 depending on your point of view). It feels like he follows the book plot nominally, just for the sake of it, keeping canon parts short in order to indulge his own megalomaniac fantasies. Indeed if he'd stuck to filming The Hobbit at that pace, one film would've been more than enough.

All the running and fighting were an even bigger problem here than in the first film. In AUJ they'd sort of started to build interpersonal relationships and give the characters some inner purposes as well, but here it all is shadowed by the action. There's no character development at all, and even the script leaves no room for getting attached to anyone. Even though my expectations were low to start with, I am not impressed. Besides I primarily went to see the film for hot dwarves and they got very little screen time, and even when they did they were running around and you couldn't get a good look.
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Old 12-11-2013, 12:00 PM   #2
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I was already leaning towards not going to see the movie and I think your review just sealed my decision... maybe if I can find a cheap showing somewhere. I mean, I'm sort of curious, but I'm pretty sure I would hate it. At least I'd know what to expect now - this was the first I'd heard of the Kili/Tauriel thing, which just seems weird - I'd thought if anything they were putting her in there to be a love interest for Legolas.

Ugh. Thanks for the review.
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Old 12-11-2013, 12:41 PM   #3
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Boots If I could make a Nazgul shriek I would...

First, I want to thank Agan for kindly taking the trouble to provide a review for us.

Second...out of all the things that could be said, I would like to ask one small question...

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Originally Posted by Aganzir View Post
Here I forgot to mention Kili (who took an arrow to the knee)
Did they actually do a joke on this or did Kiligolas take an arrow to the knee and the writers left it to us to fill in the joke?
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Old 12-11-2013, 12:45 PM   #4
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Agan, my sincere thanks for this. I have no doubt of your objectivity, and this reinforces my decision to do something more worthwhile than line PJ's pockets: like cleaning the catbox or sorting all those old single socks in the laundry.


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Originally Posted by Aganzir View Post
I don't know what Peter Jackson is trying to achieve by taking away the dwarves' agency - I simply can't understand why he is portraying them as Gandalf's tools. (Help me?) Gandalf on the other hand is given a lot more knowledge and agency than in the book, and frankly, he uses the dwarves.
Especially when in the book, it was Thorin who sought out Gandalf for help.

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Originally Posted by Aganzir View Post
Alas even though the dwarves fight the spiders bravely they cannot win; there are too many! Elves to the rescue!
Now come on! Bilbo rescuing the Dwarves in the book alone was such a defining moment in his character! But no: not good or "cinematic" enough for PJ, I guess.

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Originally Posted by Aganzir View Post
Tauriel is alright as a character, and her first encounter with her romantic interest Kili is surprisingly okay, even if it's wrong on so many levels to have a romance between an elf and a dwarf.
Hopefully there weren't many PDAs. Those theaters would have some awful messes to clean up.

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Originally Posted by Aganzir View Post
After washing ashore, the dwarves run into Bard who is there collecting the empty barrels and also seems to work as a smuggler of sorts, agreeing to take the dwarves to Esgaroth.
Did Bard need money to pay off some old debts?


It seems to me that instead of taking any criticisms of the previous films seriously, and working to address them, Jackson is going out of his way to slap said critics upside the head with his "vision". Your vision is color blind, sir.
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Old 12-11-2013, 04:53 PM   #5
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Question Personal review: How Legolas Was The Best Part Of The Movie

This is another review, reflecting my personal perception of the film. By the time I'm writing this, I haven't yet read Agan's above (even though we've talked about the movie a lot yesterday), so apologies for some repetition, but you can take it also as a completely different, unaffected perspective. So...

...Let me start with reminding that I actually liked the first Hobbit movie. Yes, yes, I did, strangely and puzzlingly enough, while otherwise I am a strong enemy of the movie adaptations, as can be seen if you look at posts which I have made in this subforum (and there are very few of those). But, I had expected the first Hobbit to be crap, and it wasn't, it was at least as good as FotR, probably even the best of all the PJ movies. Because aside from ridiculous sliding stunts a la Ice Age in the goblin-town, it was pretty faithful to the book. Not atmosphere-wise - but in my opinion, that's what movies cannot be anyway - but in its own right... and knowing PJ. He managed to really do pretty well there, for himself.

Now I must say I had expected the second Hobbit to be worse than the first, in the same pattern as Two Towers was suddenly full of made-up nonsense (Aragorn's death...) and facepalm-worthy things (skating Legolases). In some way, I was right. PJ does exactly the same thing he did in TT: skipping important events (or, skimming over them in a couple of seconds) and filling in his own rubbish. Even though, here actually, and this is the strongest impression I brought back with me from that movie, PJ's invented scenes are actually better than the scenes which are taken from the book. Truly. (Except for a few exceptions, such as the start of dialogue with Smaug, which is pretty much from the book and is quite decent.)

In other words, I believe Peter Jackson has succeeded to show that he is a better writer than Tolkien. At least to an unknowing audience it must seem that way, because the scenes from the books are usually utterly ridiculed.

***

Now, let me make a short comparison of what is good in the movie, and the rest. The parts in the movie which I have enjoyed are:

- The scenes with Master of Lake-Town. There are three in total, the actor is of course brilliant, it is fun, but not in the silly way, there is some nice background, and even though my image of the democracy in Lake-Town was different, it's still nice: this is what I call good, inventive adaptation. Even though these scenes aren't really in the book like that (one of them not at all), it is a good adaptation.

- Actually, the scene where Tauriel and Legolas are talking to Dwarves when locking them up/when they are locked up. The eyebrow-raising romance aside, it is decent, a joke made by Legolas about Gloin's family is funny, and so is the dialogue. These moments have more characterization than 99,9% of the whole movie, or even of the first movie. That's also why Tauriel and Legolas (yes, I will say it again: Tauriel and Legolas) are possibly the two characters I liked the most in the movie. Yes, you heard right. Now think what it says about the rest of the movie.

- Thranduil is also pretty good, even though very, very, very different from the book. But he has a clear personality of semi-baddie, or semi-arrogant posh isolationist, not to mention pretty cruel, and I am fine with that. I am. Much more characterization, and much more entertaining than, say, Thorin, who is mostly just cycling around a few repetitive "epic" quotes with no substance (in the style "I have the ONLY right", "it is our ONLY chance", "this is the ONLY way", and so on), and would have spent the whole movie posing and chewing bubblegum, if he apparently hadn't run out of bubblegum. Still regarding Thranduil, I was not even that much disturbed by some very strange, vague hints that Thranduil is apparently a hero of the First Age, or coming from Gondolin (and so is Legolas, since the swords seem to belong to him by right) - that's maybe not so uncanonical, since originally Thranduil was, obviously, some sort of wannabe-First Age-maybe-Thingol-esque-figure, when Tolkien still wasn't sure what he's actually writing, or that he's writing in the same mythology. Likewise, Thranduil's weird intimidating moment where (my interpretation) an illusion on his face covering wounds made by some Glaurung briefly disappeared, only made me curious about whether there is some deeper idea behind this (if I'm not too demanding of PJ) and whether this will still be explained (one of the reasons for me to go to see third movie, perhaps).

And then a couple of what are rather small moments:

- PJ actually putting there the Bree "chance meeting", even though I enjoyed like the first few seconds of it - of the realization that it is there - and the rest was crap.
- Bilbo looking from top of a tree with butterflies flying around. Very beautiful scene, very well done - shows some geography to the viewer; also, I think for movie purposes, it's perfectly OK that the Dwarves disappeared when Bilbo was up there. Makes sense, good way to cut stuff. If only along with it 99% of the Mirkwood wasn't cut out as well.
- one of the drunk Elven jailers being actually called Galion.
- Bilbo realising (canon!) that he's too late to join his friends in the barrels.
- Lake-town looking nice.
- the Dwarves' tear-eyed entering into Erebor. Well acted.
- some of Smaug's dialogue with Bilbo.
- that's about it.

Worst moments:
Too many. There are not really "moments", you see. It's the whole movie, with some parts of it providing momentary relief - those I named above. Maybe I should rather mention some things which caused my greatest puzzlement. If so, I would shout out these questions:

- WHY bother with Beorn whatsoever, if he's there just to actually BE there (maybe a way to avoid the Tom Bombadil accusation, "Why wasn't Tom in LotR?" This way, PJ can't be accused by "Why wasn't Beorn there?" because he was, but he has like one line, looks like a werewolf from some 1920s movie, and ). Also, WHY to discard a perfect opportunity to explore the Dwarven characters deeper by making them come two by two, like in the book, and even possibly EXPANDING the dialogue (hear that, PJ?), so that we get some more characterization. The best opportunity to make more differentiation between 13 otherwise alike bearded guys, wasted.
- WHY skip ALL of Mirkwood? Aside from the fact that it's ugly and grey and not looking like Mirkwood at all (too light) - but that may be personal visual preference, fine; but WHY reducing to none great, adventurous journey... beats me.
- Why doing the "Dwarven metalurgic miracle aka how to battle the Dragon with technology for ten minutes" (and I half-expected the Dwarves to animate a gold golem there, it really looks like that at certain moment), and then copying the ending of Alien 3... (personal puzzlement, rather for those who know the movie)

***

Final score: minus nine out of ten. I would give minus ten out of ten, but I really liked the Master of Lake-Town. And even his mini-grima, who at least provided him a nice dialogue partner. And, oh! One really, really bright moment in the movie. How happy was I when I heard that one of Bard's kids, the boy, is actually called Bain! Isn't that great, to be happy about such thing in a three-hour movie?

All in all: How would this movie fare better? I believe it could be a very succesful general fantasy movie, if a few changes were made. Actually, pretty simple. Remove all reference to Tolkien and pretend that it is a stand-alone fantasy movie. Removing all reference to Tolkien would be difficult, you say? No, I don't think so. Simply change all the characters' names. If it weren't for that, and the movie's title, I bet many people wouldn't even recognize that it is based on The Hobbit.

That's All, Folks.
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Old 12-11-2013, 10:04 PM   #6
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For whatever reason, we here in Australia get it ridiculously late compared to almost every other country in the world (Boxing Day). Your helpful reviews are making me think I shouldn't see it, and I'm not sure I'll go out of my way, but at the same time, know thine enemy and all that. We should fight evil, not try to ignore it, etc.
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Old 12-12-2013, 05:21 AM   #7
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Yes! I'm also in Australia and now, after having read several reviews and seen the pandering, simpering praise the movie's gotten on TORN (as if you'd expect any better) I'm reconsidering my Boxing Day. Maybe I'll go to the Ashes Test after all..
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Old 12-12-2013, 07:44 AM   #8
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Yes! I'm also in Australia and now, after having read several reviews and seen the pandering, simpering praise the movie's gotten on TORN (as if you'd expect any better) I'm reconsidering my Boxing Day. Maybe I'll go to the Ashes Test after all..
I don't understand TORN. I've occasionally considered joining, but like equivalent major forums for other things it seems to me to be the kind of place where if you don't follow the herd you can expect to a) get ignored (if you're lucky) or more likely b) get metaphorically dragged out into the street and shot by people whose self esteem is so abysmal they can't tolerate people having different opinions to their own for fear that doing so will invalidate and annihilate their own identity.

There seems to be this sort of attitude I'm perceiving in reviews elsewhere that Professor Tolkien for all intents and purposes "didn't do a good enough job" with the source material in terms of description or characterisation and needed Peter Jackson to come along, chuck his life's work into the Hollywood meat grinder and produce something which conformed to the standards of the insidious neoliberal media so that it wouldn't ruffle any feathers.

But I digress...
As much as I dislike the films, I don't understand why we get them so late compared to the rest of the world. There must be some marketing reason, but it still strikes me as odd that Australia gets them substantially later than almost every other country in the world.
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Old 12-12-2013, 10:17 AM   #9
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There must be some marketing reason, but it still strikes me as odd that Australia gets them substantially later than almost every other country in the world.
Does that include New Zealand?
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Old 12-12-2013, 11:09 AM   #10
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The whole thing does get infuriating eh? Well I'm not really furious, I save that emotion to more worthy occasions, and I haven't seen DoS and doubt that I ever will, but I mean, PJ says that even two 3-hour films isn't enough to tell the story (that is a short novel), but then when the films screen it turns out that most of the story and characters that are in the book feature only nominally, if at all. Which makes 'the story needs three films' a ridiculous argument, unless it is PJ's story, loosely based on The Hobbit, that needs the added screentime, and not JRR Tolkien's The Hobbit. Of course we all know the real reason of why they made it a trilogy, and PJ would say something like that, what else could he say? Still it's sort of depressing eh?

It's been a while since I read the book, but as I remember it my enjoyment really started to go up from about the point when the party hit Mirkwood and that it was pretty excellent from then on. Too bad they seem to have changed those parts the most.
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Old 12-12-2013, 12:47 PM   #11
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I was telling a coworker about the film (as a matter of fact I've been telling a lot of my coworkers about the film and have received varying amounts of sympathy) and he asked, 'What's next? Maybe Peter Jackson will film a trilogy about Tom Bombadil.'

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Originally Posted by Kuruharan View Post
Did they actually do a joke on this or did Kiligolas take an arrow to the knee and the writers left it to us to fill in the joke?
Alas the correct physiological name for it would probably be 'thigh', so it's me rather than the film makers who is joking here.

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Originally Posted by Inziladun View Post
Especially when in the book, it was Thorin who sought out Gandalf for help.
Exactly! Their dialogue is beautifully written in the book, and I love the feel of it! I love their dynamics in the Quest of Erebor, Gandalf getting annoyed with the dwarves and all, but PJ and his crew have put it upside down. It's Gandalf checking things off his How To Save The World list, and Thorin sulking 'do not want!' When you put it together with his singleminded determination later, it just does not compute. It's like he's a slowly programmable robot.

Quote:
Now come on! Bilbo rescuing the Dwarves in the book alone was such a defining moment in his character! But no: not good or "cinematic" enough for PJ, I guess.
Nope. He cuts the web that keeps them in the trees, but they do most of the fighting - and the only reason he doesn't get captured along with them is, he's too busy further off fighting a spider that keeps him from his precious. All in all he uses the Ring very little - less than Frodo, even - and while I understand it's probably for cinematographic reasons, I think it would also have provided a brilliant visual challenge and would eventually have looked better too.

Quote:
Hopefully there weren't many PDAs. Those theaters would have some awful messes to clean up.
No just a lot of weird tender looks and that closing scene where they hold hands. Even if the healing scene looks like she was doing something quite different.

Quote:
Did Bard need money to pay off some old debts?
No, he just had hungry mouths to feed. Balin is actually very cute while negotiating the deal, and Gloin too when he tries not to pay his share.

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Originally Posted by Legate of Amon Lanc View Post
a joke made by Legolas about Gloin's family is funny
It's not, it's so cruel I can't even begin to describe it! My heart goes out to Gloin and his wife and little Gimli, and all the rest of the dwarves.

Quote:
Thranduil is apparently a hero of the First Age, or coming from Gondolin (and so is Legolas, since the swords seem to belong to him by right) - that's maybe not so uncanonical, since originally Thranduil was, obviously, some sort of wannabe-First Age-maybe-Thingol-esque-figure, when Tolkien still wasn't sure what he's actually writing
Yeah, apparently the Gondolin swords were made by Legolas's 'people'. I beg to differ here even though I can understand why they would write it in. And I must admit I like Thranduil against my will - he's certainly not a favourite in the book, but they did a decent job with him, awful as he is.

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There must be some marketing reason, but it still strikes me as odd that Australia gets them substantially later than almost every other country in the world.
Does Australia have a competitive relationship with New Zealand? Do the countries tell jokes of each other? Does NZ want to play a prank on Australia? Or do they count on the most avid fans flying to NZ to see it?
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Old 12-12-2013, 12:49 PM   #12
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White-Hand Time to throw in a couple of comments (including lots of spoilers obviously)

Alright, so I thought the movie would be bad, but it was awful. Greenie, who was sitting next to me in the cinema, can witness I was like shell-shocked. The core of the problem is that the film works neither as an adaptation of Tolkien's writings (it has hardly any of the plot or the atmosphere) nor as a random fantasy action adventure (badly written and directed).


I enjoyed:

+ Martin Freeman. That guy just nails Bilbo, plus he has the astonishing ability to surf through all the silliness with just about the right mix of comedy and drama. Without him the movie would have been unbearable.

+ Smaug. True, he's taken to the direction of the generic monster-villain, but he still retains a delightful amount of the original dialogue, plus at times he looks just gorgeous (like in the very last scene flying towards Laketown in the night and shaken molten gold off his scales. I also think the fire-breathing was done very neatly.)

+ The Elves. Orlando Bloom has been praised above and not without reason. Like Martin Freeman, he can actually pull off the silly stuff, plus he gets some of the funnier jokes. I also quite liked Tauriel/Evangeline Lilly, and Lee Pace's Thranduil was enjoyably awful. And Galion! I felt like cheering when I heard the name.

+ The Dol Guldur plotline. True, not much happens, but actually having some dialogue between Gandalf and Radagast was nice every now and then, and the "duel" between Gandalf and Sauron was visually amazing. (And really even not as cringeworthy plotwise as I make it sound!) Also they imply Thráin is still alive, which should make for an interesting scene in the next movie.

+ Bard. Bard, Bard, Bard. On the surface, the smuggler single dad is not the guy from the book, but he has delightfully the same character. Here is the pessimistic herald of doom, respected but not listened to, slightly in the outskirts of the Laketown society, and a very epic man. Also apologies to all the Dwarf fangirls and Thrandy fangirls out there, but Bard is the hottest man in the movie by far.

+ the Laketown part all in all. The plot gets more followable and interesting for a time there, and Laketown looked good compared to what I thought based on the trailers (Russian Winter Wonderland). Of course I could have complaints about Dwarves coming out of toilets and ocean's eleving around, but it was still (mostly) entertaining.

+ (kind of) the action scenes. I think they were less boring than in the previous movie!

+ cute Dwarf moments. We saw shamefully little of the Dwarves and their relationships with each other, but when we did, it was quite cute. I especially liked Balin's emotional return to Erebor and Fili big brothering over Kili.


I was disappointed with: (where do I even start?)

- the ridiculous triangle drama. I think a romance was totally unnecessary and made my feminist side cringe ("hey let's introduce a major female character so she can be someone's love interest!"). But the worst thing was that they couldn't keep it on the level of a romance, but they had to make a triangle drama out of it. Like, didn't they promise there wouldn't be anything romantic between Tauriel and Legolas???

- all the other plot installments by Jackson & co. Like Kili getting wounded by a morgul arrow so that he & couple of other Dwarves have to stay behind in Laketown, where they get attacked by orcs, and are then saved by Tauriel and Legolas, and then Kili is healed by Tauriel using Athelas? No, no, and no!

- the writing in general. The dialogue was bad and repetitive (as mentioned above, "it is the only way", "I have the only right", "this is our only chance" and so on.) The scenes were written thinking the audience gets bored is something doesn't explode after 50 seconds or so. It was incredibly tiresome. Lastly, 90% of the brand new plot twists were incredibly predictable. (Greenie and I kept saying to each other "and now Tauriel will appear and save them" and then that would happen 2 seconds later, and so on. Argh! Frustration.)

- the direction in general. With all the messing around, the balancing between a slapstick farce and an epic adventure, good actors like Richard Armitage and even Ian McKellen were occasionally losing their grip. It was awful to watch. Also, PJ continues in the line that everything has to be painfully emphasised. When Bilbo drops the Ring in Mirkwood and has to battle a giant crab to get it back, we get about 1,5min of Martin Freeman making pained expressions holding the shining ring to make sure we all understood Bilbo was afraid he had lost the Ring. Blaaaa....

- the music. Howard Shore seems to be as disinterested about TH movies as us old school 'downers. Here we got a new theme for Laketown, but that was it. Even the epic dwarf music wasn't utilised as much as it could and should have been!

- Beorn. As said above, his lack of screentime was ridiculous, and made his whole appearance rather pointless. He was given crappy lines and he looked positively awful, especially in the bear form. (The actor was fine, though, and I quite liked how his house looked and the giant bees and the spotted ponies.)

- the overload of action and stupid jokes. But this was to be expected, and both could have been worse, I guess.

- tired recycling of stuff from An Unexpected Journey and the LotR trilogy. Starting from the carrot cameo in Bree up until glow-in-dark Arw... Tauriel performing Elvish healing magic. A lot of the time I just had a feeling I've seen all of this before, and it was better the last time around (yes, even the carrot).


That's it for now, I guess, I bet I've forgotten something. I would have liked to enjoy this film, at least on some level, but the truth is that I was mostly either horrified, frustrated or bored. After seeing An Unexpected Journey for the first time I disapproved of a lot of stuff, yes, but I was excited too, my head full of epic Dwarves and the magic of Middle-Earth, and I wanted to see the movie again despite all of its shortcomings. It took me a while to figure out the movie was actually a lot worse than the LotR trilogy was.

The sad thing is that The Desolation of Smaug didn't hold even that meager amount of magic for me. When I left the cinema, the only thing I was enthusiastic about was complaining about the movie. And mind you, I had done my best to see the movie with an open mind and cast my puritanism aside and enjoy it just as an epic adventure. I hope and believe that the next movie will be better.
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Old 12-12-2013, 01:05 PM   #13
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The things you forget to mention

Also I'd like to add that it is unforgivable and completely against the spirit of the book(s) to introduce sexual innuendo into the dialogue.

Kili to Tauriel upon capture: 'Why don't you search my trousers? There might be something there.'
Tauriel: 'Or nothing.'

This said by me who has been likened to Captain Jack Harkness and not without a reason.
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Old 12-12-2013, 02:31 PM   #14
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Alas the correct physiological name for it would probably be 'thigh', so it's me rather than the film makers who is joking here.
I'm quite pleased to discover this...which is a pretty sad state of affairs if you think about it.

However, all I needed was to hear Thorin intone, "My nephew Kili used to be an adventurer. Then he took an arrow to the knee." and I probably would have totally lost it in a spectacular and most unfunny way.

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No just a lot of weird tender looks and that closing scene where they hold hands. Even if the healing scene looks like she was doing something quite different.
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Old 12-12-2013, 02:33 PM   #15
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In other news, now that more bad reviews have started to appear, all the loonier fans out there have started on the hysterical anti-critic ranting, conspiracy theories and the rest of the DRAHMA! that I’m sure we all fondly remember from last time.
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Old 12-12-2013, 02:58 PM   #16
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+ (kind of) the action scenes. I think they were less boring than in the previous movie!
I did not mention this, but they indeed were not as bad. Even the barrel-riding scene, which looked so awful in the trailers, was not that bad in the end. In general, I am rather fed up with the action scenes in movies nowadays, when on top of everything, they are absolutely confused and un-followable (just lots of random confusing shots with violently moving camera) and unrealistic (people falling from fifty meters, or giving each other blows which would kill them, but then just brushing it off and continuing), but compared to the first movie, this got somewhat better. Maybe except for the ridiculous "Final Level: Complete The Puzzle To Get Rid Of The Boss Monster" part.


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- all the other plot installments by Jackson & co. Like Kili getting wounded by a morgul arrow so that he & couple of other Dwarves have to stay behind in Laketown, where they get attacked by orcs, and are then saved by Tauriel and Legolas, and then Kili is healed by Tauriel using Athelas? No, no, and no!
Actually, I only now fully grasped the ridiculousness of it. Of course it is absolutely awful, but what worse, the audience not familiar with the books but only with the movies would easily draw the parallel (as it undoubtedly was meant to be) between Kili's "Morgul arrow" and Frodo's near-death by Morgul blade (interesting that the arrow didn't disappear in daylight...) - so it's not only "borrowing" the same name in utterly silly context, but now it makes one wonder, what would have happened had Kili not been cured in time? Would he have, *gasp*, turned into a Ringwraith?

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Also I'd like to add that it is unforgivable and completely against the spirit of the book(s) to introduce sexual innuendo into the dialogue.

Kili to Tauriel upon capture: 'Why don't you search my trousers? There might be something there.'
Tauriel: 'Or nothing.'

This said by me who has been likened to Captain Jack Harkness and not without a reason.
Hear, hear!
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Old 12-12-2013, 05:09 PM   #17
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I find myself wondering if the movies (including the third) turn out to be bad enough if it could end up turning people off of Tolkien.

The probable reply is "somebody who is turned off of Tolkien by the movies probably wouldn't have actually read him anyway."

However, since one of the things said about the films (no matter how bad they may be) is that "at least it will get people reading Tolkien" it stands to reason that the reverse might be true too.
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Old 12-12-2013, 06:23 PM   #18
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Kuruharan: I do think that there are many readers who would, if they read them, love Tolkien's books for all the right reasons, but be turned off of them by thinking of them as "what they based those dopey Dragonlance-meets-Transfomers CGI action-schlock flicks on? No, thank you, I want to read intelligent fantasy with grandeur, depth, dignity and moral profundity."

Seriously: can you really imagine the sort of viewer who actually likes THOS to have any use for Tolkien's gentle, whimsical original?
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Old 12-12-2013, 08:21 PM   #19
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Seriously: can you really imagine the sort of viewer who actually likes THOS to have any use for Tolkien's gentle, whimsical original?
That's the thing, isn't it? I can only imagine that reading The Lord of the Rings after first seeing the films might contain a number of surprises, especially in terms of the description, how the characters converse and so on in addition to alterations made to the plot. The Hobbit on the other hand would surely be almost unrecognisable to someone who'd seen the film first.

The excuses made by the filmmakers of "it's from the Appendices" (largely untrue or warped beyond recognition) or "it's in the spirit of Tolkien" (entirely debatable) just perpetuate a culture of misinformation about Professor Tolkien's work. I still regularly see people claiming in comments on articles and Facebook that, for instance, the Hobbit films include material from Unfinished Tales and The Silmarillion. That in my opinion is the biggest issue - not the changes/omissions/additions in themselves, but the PR spin that these modifications are in fact faithful, as well as how this has mutated (just as they hoped, I daresay) into a public belief that even books the filmmakers lack the rights to were sourced. It's the misrepresentation which irks me the most. And of course, surely logic dictates that anyone who thinks that the added material is from the Appendices (let alone The Silmarillion etc) must never have read said material, or else they'd know otherwise - so how can they derive any satisfaction from their inclusion? Because someone else told them this is what Professor Tolkien wrote?
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Old 12-12-2013, 08:57 PM   #20
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Seriously: can you really imagine the sort of viewer who actually likes TH-DOS to have any use for Tolkien's gentle, whimsical original?
Not really. As Zigur alluded to, they are two different types of stories that are meant for different types of people.
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Old 12-12-2013, 11:18 PM   #21
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And of course, surely logic dictates that anyone who thinks that the added material is from the Appendices (let alone The Silmarillion etc) must never have read said material, or else they'd know otherwise - so how can they derive any satisfaction from their inclusion? Because someone else told them this is what Professor Tolkien wrote?
Well, it serves as a stock defence against anyone who says the added stuff doesn’t belong– and perhaps in their own minds just believing it’s “authentic” gives it an added value. You know, like a collector’s item.
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Old 12-13-2013, 03:26 AM   #22
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Oh boy...that was a lot rougher than expected. Maybe I should have read this thread to get my head set on even lower expectations.

Even completely ignoring the disregard for canon, because I accepted before watching An Unexpected Journey (right around finding out they were doing a trilogy) this wasn't going to be portraying the story, The Hobbit on screen, but maybe I could see a good adventure flick.

The desolation of canon aside...it doesn't even work as a movie. Stories need to have conflicts and problems, and those conflicts get resolved. There needs to be some kind of story arc. Even if FOTR and TTT ended in cliffhangers, the characters faced conflicts, conflicts get resolved and it sets up for the much larger conflict with Sauron and the destruction of the Ring. I left this movie feeling...wow almost 3 hours and Jackson pulled it off, by accomplishing absolutely nothing in that amount of time. Ok, well not nothing, but what happens? Agan's opening description is quite accurate...orcs, dwarves running, fight, orcs, spiders, dwarves running, Gandalf stumbling around dark lairs, orcs. Gandalf finds out who the necromancer is Sauron, the dwarves just peeved off Smaug enough to go burn Lake-town. It has to be the worst spot I've ever seen a movie end. I don't even think an individual episode of Game of Thrones had that terrible of a cliffhanger.

Bilbo: "What have we done?" The end. The sad thing is if Jackson was able to cut out just half of his fanfic nonsense and ended it at a logical point (death of Smaug) I probably would have enjoyed this one too. But no...we get a brief moment with the best part of the film (Bilbo and Smaug). By brief I mean maybe 10 minutes with just Bilbo and Smaug...and the movie had to drag on for another half hour as the movie sends your mind to orc raid in Lake-town, Gandalf fighting Sauron, back to dwarves tormenting Smaug. Tauriel doing something with Kili, torment Smaug some more...

It's probably the big reason I thought The Phantom Menace was a failure. A New Hope is perfect...rebels have secret plans, Dark evil guy wants them back, rebels escape. One single space battle to end it. The Phantom Menace you have a battle out on the plains, then your mind is thrown to the space battle...and the battle in Naboo...and the battle between Obi-wan, Qui-gonn, and Maul...then back to space. I mean do people really like having their heads thrown around to 4 different battle locations every few minutes?

Positives though...positives

+I really enjoyed Lee Pace's Thranduil. He was probably my favorite from the film. Yes, quite a different characterization but he's one of the few characters that gets one in this film. I love that snobbish, high-born attitude, and mostly because he pulled it off very well.

+The spiders were one of the few things where, I bet you're right Agan, Jackson was trying to outdo Shelob. But it worked for me because they actually were creepy, I felt dread and felt while watching, the dwarves were legitimately threatened. That was one of the bigger issues with me in An Unexpected Journey, Azog's made up hunting down Thorin, the Goblin-King...they were all so ridiculous or contrived you can't feel any dread or danger. Dwarves run for a bit, slice off some heads and always manage to escape. Rinse and repeat. The spiders were creepy and legitimately threatening.
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Old 12-13-2013, 07:51 AM   #23
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Stories need to have conflicts and problems, and those conflicts get resolved. There needs to be some kind of story arc.
True. Jackson is forcing his story, and everything - characters, logic, realism - has to bend in order to accommodate the plot. It virtually feels like they don't care; you know when a big corporation with a good reputation can afford to sell lower class products for the same price because they trust people will buy anyway? That's what Jackson, Boyens and Walsh are doing here.

This review on TOR is one of the best I've seen (best as in most accurate), and there's one thing the writer Ostadan says that I'd like to emphasise:
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As in the previous film, Jackson’s ability to convey (or understand) matters of time and distance is extremely limited, and sometimes distracting; we are not even given visual cues to the changing seasons until it is suddenly winter in Laketown (Thranduil’s crown of fall leaves from the book does not appear here). The tag-team Orc handoff is one example of time compression; Gandalf’s ride to the ‘High Fells of Rhudaur’ (presumably back across the Misty Mountains) and then back again to Dol Guldur is another. I hope Gandalf’s horse got home to Beorn OK; I think the wizards are riding the bunny sled back from the high fells. Expect the arrival of Dain and other dwarves to be similarly mystery-timed in the next film.
That's part of the confusion. There's a constant sense of hurry, but the passing of time and distance isn't described at all. In LOTR we got huge visuals, panorama shots of the landscape, some scenes dedicated to moving. Here we just don't know when things are happening and how long they take, and that problem is present from the very first scene all the way to the end. I remember sitting there with thoughts such as 'How long does this take? It should be longer than that, but why are they not showing it? What's going on? When?' running through the back of my mind.
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Old 12-13-2013, 08:20 AM   #24
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This review on TOR is one of the best I've seen (best as in most accurate), and there's one thing the writer Ostadan says that I'd like to emphasise:
Things must be bad if people on TORN are finally starting to turn on Jackson.

I found this comment extremely biting:

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So, there is no point to reviewing this film as an adaptation. That’s not the movie that’s there, disappointing as that may be.
Edit: I also derived a certain morbid sense of amusement from Ostadan's specific predictions of the what, how, and why certain things aren't going to work in the third movie.

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Old 12-13-2013, 08:54 AM   #25
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The first Hobbit film was fairly enjoyable for me; I've watched it several times and come away thinking that the additional scenes and whatnot can very easily be overlooked and even cut if you had the patience to sit down and recut the film. What was from the book was fairly passable and the visuals were neat.

Not so with this second installment.
Book scenes are few and far between, twisted and ravaged in ways that made my head spin. It would be almost impossible to cut it down to anything even remotely resembling an accurate adaptation.

Now, I have come to expect very little from these films in terms of accuracy, but I did genuinely enjoy the Lord of the Rings adaptations, despite their flaws. I enjoyed them for pure entertainment and visual interests, as well as the great musical score. The Desolation of Smaug, however, holds none of those pleasures for me. The liberties are too vast, too overshadowing. With the changes in the LotR films, one could still see a lot of the main thrust of the story, but here the focus is very much on the new material.
I am a fan of Sylvester McCoy and Radagast, but even his brief appearance didn't leave me smiling.
The orcs hunting the dwarves really got on my wick. It feels like forced peril. Whenever things might have been slowing down enough for the characters to get some time together, OH NO ORCS!

The constant, unending orc deaths were frustrating. In the Lord of the Rings there were at least a few scenes where one got the impression that it was a difficult and not altogether throwaway act. But now, orcs fall like flies, Legolas and Tauriel just hop, skip and jump their way through a barrage of half naked bodies.

Within the film there is what I think is the perfect metaphor. A giant, golden statue that quickly falls to pieces because it cannot maintain its structural integrity. A hideously bloated budget has opened the floodgates onto gargantuan detours, set pieces designed to show off just what they can do with CGI these days.

Now, there were a few little details I was glad to see and hear.
The spiders seemed to be whispering 'Attacop' at one point (though why is a mystery as it is supposed to be an insult... Unless they are insulting one another??).
Balin being the only dwarf to follow Bilbo down the secret tunnel. My love for Balin grows every day and he is probably the best adaptation in these films so far.
The occasional book line in the Smaug/Bilbo debate was pleasant, though often buried beneath an avalanche of new material. Like the Arcenstone hidden under gold coins, Tolkien's words are lost under the promise of mounting wealth for the studios, I imagine in my more cynical moments.
But that's the thing. The inaccuracies and liberties take center stage so much that Tolkien is a best a cameo in this film. So when a vaguely accurate moment arises it gives you a little jolt. At least, that was the case for me up until now. In this film I felt like the sheer tidal wave of new stuff was too much.

I am going to watch it again, most likely, now knowing what to expect. I can then enjoy the bits I liked a bit more. Thranduil being hilariously over the top and fabulous. Erebor looking gorgeous. Lake Town looking nice. Richard Armatage looking majestic. Just go into it with completely shallow intentions. Eru knows the film makers seem to have.
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Old 12-13-2013, 12:09 PM   #26
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Now, I have come to expect very little from these films in terms of accuracy, but I did genuinely enjoy the Lord of the Rings adaptations, despite their flaws. I enjoyed them for pure entertainment and visual interests, as well as the great musical score. The Desolation of Smaug, however, holds none of those pleasures for me.~Hookbill
You know what, speaking about the musical score, I never paid much attention to it except for the recycled Minas Morgul theme anytime Gandalf stumbles into evil places or Bilbo fiddles the ring. And that's a problem.

I mean for the previous trilogy to give us a great score like with Rohan's theme, or the company travelling through Moria, or Minas Tirith's theme, or Lothlorien's....there's nothing about the music in Desolation of Smaug that stands out. Except, as I said above the recycled "there's evil moving near by" music and the super jarring song at the end of the film during the credits. I bolted out of the theater, that song just sounded really out of place.
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Old 12-13-2013, 01:50 PM   #27
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It really is a pity they have not gone with a new score, as Shore's music in the first trilogy was superb.
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Old 12-13-2013, 02:59 PM   #28
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I am quite behind the times at the moment, and I didn't even realize the movie is out. I wasn't planning on seeing it anyhow, at least anytime soon or without some social event attached to it, so I only briefly skimmed the thread. Legate's post title caught my eye, and I decided I'd rather not read the rest - or watch the movie.
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Old 12-13-2013, 03:06 PM   #29
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Iconoclastic. That's how it's best described in one word. Jackson has taken Tolkien's text and thrown it into the Cracks of Doom and used what was spat back out. This is the one film of all Jackson's adapts that you will love or hate. It has new characters and a new storyline and is thoroughly rip-roaring and grown up; it's everything I should despise but it was the best one since Fellowship.

I went to Sheffield IMAX early to bag my favourite seats in front of Europe's biggest screen (allegedly). Some had got there even earlier. It was full of geeks, and it got rammed full of even more geeks. The rest of the screenings were sold out and there was a queue outside camping (not in the Vicious way) in the corridors. I spent the first 5-10 minutes feeling a sense of outrage that this was not The Hobbit. And then had a word with myself that maybe I ought to forget I'd ever read the book and suspend reality as t'were. That was the right thing to do. If you make a habit of watching comic book films you will know that you need to do this quite often - remember the rewrite of Superman just this summer? Forget that Superman just doesn't act like this and enjoy the ride.

So, I just watched as though this was virgin territory. It's not at all a good film of Tolkien's text. However, it is a very good film. 8/10. It is mostly coherent, though parts get a bit baggy and overlong. It has outstanding performances - all of them. The characterisation is perfect The 'look' is beautiful. It has interesting detail thrown in. And because Jackson ripped up his copy of The Hobbit, it is full of surprises and you will get spoilers if you read about it. They aren't just spoilers in the sense of 'what have they done with x', but real spoilers.

I got the strong impression that with this film, Jackson simply decided he was never going to make us hardcore fans happy, no matter how faithful he tried to be, so he was just going to do his own thing in the quest for internal coherence. I kind of hope that Steven Moffat never, ever realises this and does the same thing to Doctor Who. Though what Jackson has done to The Hobbit is much the same as what would happen if Moffat suddenly cast a woman as the Doctor. He has quite simply turned the whole thing upside down. you will love it or hate it. It's revisionist. It's not The Hobbit. But it is a good film.

Now to get granular...the single most outstanding feature was Smaug. I was not overly keen on Cumberbaps voice interpretation though it wasn't terrible. But the CGI was awesome. That WAS Smaug. He looked perfect. There's something that happens at the end to him before he breaks free and it is simply beautiful cinema. The created storyline of the caper under the Mountain is a bit hokey and too long, but I didn't mind it because it meant More Smaug. And sorry to be spoilery, but we will have him in the final film, which I rather like because for the past 31 years I have always felt the Hobbit went downhill rapidly once Smaug was despatched. The Battle of Five Armies was always something I found a little tedious.

There were good set piece scenes such as the spiders in Mirkwood which was unpleasant. I also commend the Mirkwood scenes in general as wonderfully trippy. They must have used some Alan Lee designs for this part, too. It wasn't my internal Mirkwood, and it was the wrong story, but it was a bonkers one I really enjoyed. The Beorn scenes were simply not long enough, though what we saw was good, including some large bees I liked. And the barrel escape was enjoyable.

About Tauriel - I was dreading this, really not looking forward to it at all in an almost melodramatic fashion. Now I eat my words. Taken in the context of the new story Jackson created, she worked and was not a Mary Sue. I failed to see a 'love triangle' going on, rather that it was an echo of what Gimli loved about Galadriel. There was a puzzling use of walnuts as a pillow though. Was this some kind of smutty in joke? And where a red haired Silvan Elf came from...what exactly had Maedhros been up to?

Moving on from Tauriel of course brings me to Thranduil, who was superbly interpreted. Creepy, imperious, a bit horrible. Lee Pace ate up the celluloid every time he appeared. I detected a little bit of Hiddleston's Loki about his part, a little bit of Lucius Malfoy, and he beat Hugo Weaving's Elrond into a cocked hat (or tiara...). Stephen Fry was alright too; not his biggest fan as he's so ubiquitous and I'm tired of him, but he was good. I liked the choice of name for his greasy Grima-like assistant and that namecheck will please a small boy I know who has talked about little else than The Hobbit for days (but who had to go to school today, muahaha). Some more acting nods - Luke Evans and Bard's little family (great acting from the girls); Martin Freeman pulling an even better Bilbo this time around; and Orlando Bloom much more mature and experienced as an actor. The Lake Town populace are great, too.

I also need to work out from the conversation in Bree how much, exactly, was lifted from Unfinished Tales. I bet the Estate have been pulling their hair out. I quite liked this because it was bordering on naughty creative thievery.

Aside from this film not really being The Hobbit, there were other errors, though this time ones which could not be overlooked by suspending my expectations and prior knowledge. There is not enough of that trippy Mirkwood and no Bombur falling in the stream. There is a Gandalf side story which just did not work for me and I think was there purely to have more Gandy screen time. With repeat viewings I suspect I will get more narked at this as it was close to a bit of a hot mess. The only good bit of that was Gandy's meeting with Rrrrradagast.

And there are far too many Orcs again. We didn't need them, the Dragon to end all Dragons is more than enough Big Bad for one film!

Wasn't so struck on the end titles song, though whether that was more to do with my dislike of Ed Sheeran or my sore, stiff bum, I don't know.

Let's be frank, Tolkien will be rolling in his grave tonight. And if that thought disturbs you, then don't go and watch it. However, while Tolkien's story may have been stripped out, Tolkien's characters are there, very much big and bold and perfectly done. If you want to see them all in a story that's different, then fill yer boots.
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Old 12-13-2013, 03:41 PM   #30
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Things must be bad if people on TORN are finally starting to turn on Jackson.

I found this comment extremely biting:



Edit: I also derived a certain morbid sense of amusement from Ostadan's specific predictions of the what, how, and why certain things aren't going to work in the third movie.
Anyone else worried about Ostadan's safety given that ToRN on ths comments seems to be a pesonality cult about to enter into a twinning arrangement with North Korea I fear he may have paid the ultimate price for not clapping enthusiastically enough.
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Old 12-13-2013, 03:56 PM   #31
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Anyone else worried about Ostadan's safety given that ToRN on ths comments seems to be a pesonality cult about to enter into a twinning arrangement with North Korea I fear he may have paid the ultimate price for not clapping enthusiastically enough.
I did notice that Ostadan touched up the ending to his review so that it was rather at odds with the tone of his review as a whole.

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Old 12-13-2013, 04:12 PM   #32
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Another review in, The Hobbit2 Is Bad Fan Fiction

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There are two obvious ways a director can go wrong in adapting a work with a large and ardent pre-existing fan base. He (or she) can feel so constrained by expectations that he makes his adaptation too literal, a book-on-film. Or he can get carried away riffing on the original story, pulling in references from related works and assuming that fans’ appetites for additional material are, for all intents and purposes, insatiable.

As a general rule, I think the former temptation, over-fidelity, is the greater hazard. But Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is proof that when you go the other way—really, really far the other way—the result can be genuinely egregious.
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Old 12-13-2013, 05:27 PM   #33
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Seriously: can you really imagine the sort of viewer who actually likes THOS to have any use for Tolkien's gentle, whimsical original?
Yes. I can. Because I enjoyed it more than the first Hobbit film (see my note). I have also been enjoying the book for the past 31 years. It's nothing like the book, so you still very much have a need for it (not that celluloid is some kind of Kindle-esque 'upgrade' allowing you to turn your books into firelighters)! You have even more need of the book following the film release because this is a film which is brashly revisionist. Indeed in your analogy, all copies of Lord of the Rings might be binned forthwith, because they remain quite close kin to the film adapts, whereas DoS just shares characterisation and a general direction of travel.

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Another review in, The Hobbit2 Is Bad Fan Fiction
The Atlantic reviewer must have nipped out for a bucket of Coke halfway through because I definitely saw that rabbit sled! There was also bird poo, hurrah! Rrrradagast and the nice set design lifted that whole bizarre messed up diversion of Gandalf's, thank goodness. As a TS member has pointed out - the Nine buried in tombs? Er, no. They weren't dead!

It also wasn't a film that made use of loads of appendices extras, he is wrong. Jackson made most of it up. The weird thing is that this is better than the stuff he did lift from the appendices (namely that Gandalf Dol Guldur excursion).
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Old 12-13-2013, 07:00 PM   #34
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The Atlantic reviewer must have nipped out for a bucket of Coke halfway through because I definitely saw that rabbit sled! There was also bird poo, hurrah! Rrrradagast and the nice set design lifted that whole bizarre messed up diversion of Gandalf's, thank goodness.
I suspect that a two to three second shot (according to another Tolkien fan from the TS who has seen DoS) doesn't really count as a significant scene.

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It also wasn't a film that made use of loads of appendices extras, he is wrong. Jackson made most of it up. The weird thing is that this is better than the stuff he did lift from the appendices (namely that Gandalf Dol Guldur excursion).
I don't think the reviewer actually says that all the bloated stuff comes from Appendices etc. While his first paragraph talks about pulling stuff in from related works, he provides ample examples of stuff that Jackson invents such as the orc attacks ad nauseum, Legolas, and Tauriel.

In an interview, Jackson says, in discussing Del Toro's influence, that he can't work from someone else's script. It's an interesting comment on his own creative efforts but I can't help but also wonder if he can't work from someone else's book.

The interview is available here: Peter Jackson talks to fans about The Hobbit
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Old 12-13-2013, 08:05 PM   #35
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Anyone else worried about Ostadan's safety given that ToRN on ths comments seems to be a pesonality cult about to enter into a twinning arrangement with North Korea I fear he may have paid the ultimate price for not clapping enthusiastically enough.
Hey Ostadan, if it gets too hot on TORN you're always welcome here.

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As a TS member has pointed out - the Nine buried in tombs? Er, no. They weren't dead!
It's been talked about before, but I find it extremely problematic that they kill the Nazgûl as they please. There's nothing special about Éowyn doing it now.
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It also wasn't a film that made use of loads of appendices extras, he is wrong. Jackson made most of it up. The weird thing is that this is better than the stuff he did lift from the appendices (namely that Gandalf Dol Guldur excursion).
And, as Legate said, better than the stuff we lifted from the book. I think he just wants to get in as much of his own writing as possible, not really caring about the story he's supposed to be telling.

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In an interview, Jackson says, in discussing Del Toro's influence, that he can't work from someone else's script. It's an interesting comment on his own creative efforts but I can't help but also wonder if he can't work from someone else's book.
Hahaha! That is a very good point!

I remember looking forward to the Hobbit when Del Toro was still in for directing it, and the profound disappointment when I heard it was to be Peter Jackson after all...
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Old 12-14-2013, 02:16 AM   #36
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Hmmn. I really don’t know if I’m going to bother with “Desolation” when it does get released here. Not just because of what you lot are saying, but because though it’s been getting better reviews from critics than the last, so many of them seem to be wearing their hearts on their sleeves it’s hard to take them very seriously: “Sure, the film has a laundry list of flaws, but hey, it looks pretty and it’s made by PJ! 10/10!"

And what’s with the weird “please kick me” title, anyway? Didn’t anyone put any thought into that at all?
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Old 12-14-2013, 03:54 AM   #37
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I suspect that a two to three second shot (according to another Tolkien fan from the TS who has seen DoS) doesn't really count as a significant scene.

I don't think the reviewer actually says that all the bloated stuff comes from Appendices etc. While his first paragraph talks about pulling stuff in from related works, he provides ample examples of stuff that Jackson invents such as the orc attacks ad nauseum, Legolas, and Tauriel.
It does help if a reviewer shows he has paid attention though That and making the thrust of his argument that Jackson can either be faithful about detail or make use of supplementary material, when he does neither in this film, makes me think he decided on his point beforehand. Which of course, is what many reviewers do, both negative and praiseworthy ones, because reviews aren't about the products they are about the reviewers. I can say that without being accused of being a conspiracy theorist who only attacks reviewers as for this film, most of the reviews are positive and state this is an improvement on the first film.

And with that I will add again, it is an improvement because Jackson stopped worrying about being faithful to the books, stopped worrying about us, and just made the film he wanted to make. If that is going to upset anyone then don't go and see the film. It does raise interesting questions about Directors and their creative vision though.

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And, as Legate said, better than the stuff we lifted from the book. I think he just wants to get in as much of his own writing as possible, not really caring about the story he's supposed to be telling.
Indeed, is he supposed to be telling a particular story? I'm still a bit shocked at having enjoyed such a revisionist film. It gives me lots to think about.

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It's been talked about before, but I find it extremely problematic that they kill the Nazgûl as they please. There's nothing special about Éowyn doing it now.
I really need to look at the scenes with Radagast in Dol Guldur again. Did he despatch that wraith or not? Because that would be a terrible error. It's not as if the Necromancer has a spare few Rings lying around, nor, indeed, the Kings to tempt with them!
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Old 12-14-2013, 05:35 AM   #38
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Eurgh. Looking back, I think there were two major things that ruined the thing for me: the almost complete lack of character development and the amount (and style) of violence.

I loved Balin, Bard and Bilbo, Smaug was nice, and I thought Thranduil, Legolas and Tauriel were OK. But other than that - where were the relationships between the dwarves, for example? Apart from a ten-second scene of Thorin and Balin, and maybe a minute of Thorin-Fili-Kili drama, those guys could have been chance acquaintances for all the notice they took of each other. Their relationships didn't deepen or develop at all, which is an impressive feat for a two-and-a-half-hour film. Also, the general level of dialogue in the script was abysmal; it was like copy-pasted from a manual called 101 Emptiest Action Movie One-Liners. And all this is a shame, because the casting is mostly very good and they would actually have potential for great characterisation!

And why was there no time for character development and dialogue? Because they were busy killing something or other 90% of the time. I tend to dislike on-screen violence in general and I already thought it was getting out of hand in the first Hobbit film, but that was nothing on this one. It's not only the amount of it that I find disturbing; it's the way it's depicted. Violence is portrayed as fun and entertaining, something to laugh at. I've come to accept that as a part of today's cinema, but in this film it was just too much. The fighting scenes were there to entertain, not to show what danger the characters were in or to make the audience fear for them. Indeed, the characters didn't, at any point, seem to be in any danger at all, let alone frightened for themselves or the other characters. During the action scenes (ie. for most of the film) they were inventive, funny killing machines without any real emotion. So small wonder I had trouble relating to them, or believing they have any real relationships with each other.
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Old 12-14-2013, 09:25 AM   #39
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Indeed, is he supposed to be telling a particular story? I'm still a bit shocked at having enjoyed such a revisionist film. It gives me lots to think about.
Given the fact that Jackson is using the title and name of another artist as his supposed topic, I don't think it is unreasonable to believe that his film should indeed reflect said story.
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Old 12-14-2013, 10:42 AM   #40
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Given the fact that Jackson is using the title and name of another artist as his supposed topic, I don't think it is unreasonable to believe that his film should indeed reflect said story.
Hmmm, you should know how adaptations work. Very few are faithful, most are more revisionist than this was. I don't think it's an accident that the film critics have been enjoying this one, the first where he stopped worrying about what we think.

It does reflect the story. It has all the major plot points. And the story arc. The characterisation is perfect too, and we can't criticise that (no changed Faramir in this film). It's the additional storylines and characters that are the change. And they are a big change.
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