Sunday, December 29, 2013
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug review
As some of you may know, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug was my most anticipated movie of the year. I've been a fan of the Middle Earth universe ever since I was twelve(having read the books and watched the films), so I was, of course, excited to see the next installment in an amazing(and the best fantasy) franchise.
And it delivered! :D This movie definitely has a very different feel- both in comparison to the original trilogy and to it's predecessor, which I hadn't been expecting. The tone is a little hard to explain in words, since you have to watch it to get it, but it was an interesting and good one and this film definitely held my attention.
The beginning was also a nice touch, what with going back in a flashback to show Gandalf and Thorin meeting up and basically showing us the start of the journey that will be taken to Thorin's homeland. Not only was it a nice bit of continuity, but it was cool to see Bree and the Prancing Pony again :).
The story, while containing parts of the book, definitely embellishes it, which, for the medium of film, was a good thing(for the most part). I was happy to see that they included the memorable spider scene(which had really good animation) as well as several things which reminded me of descriptions in the book(such as the part where Bilbo climbs up into the tree and the part where they first enter Mirkwood). It was also nice to have the Bard, and Laketown get more development(at least, from what I remember from the book, it's been over five years since I read it). I don't really think I had an opinion of the Bard when I read the book but now I really, really like him and I can definitely understand his motivations and I can't wait to see more of him. Gandalf's side plot was as well executed as his in the first film, but it was still a welcome addition and it was cool to get to learn more about the Ring Wraiths and Sauron.
Overall, the plot was amazing, and even though there were a couple of parts that were a little odd, there wasn't much that I disliked, which is always enjoyable(seriously, this has been a good year for movies! :D).
Basically, once I walked out, I wanted to watch it all over again! :D XD
The characters were even better this time around! :D Several of the other dwarves got even more development in this film and there were several things added that will make certain deaths even sadder(readers of the book will know who I am referring too); I also appreciated that every dwarf character had his moment to shine- from Kili climbing up to open the gate(and with a wounded leg to boot) to Bombur taking out a bunch of the orc with his spinning, sword-wielding barrel of doom XD.
Bilbo surprisingly isn't in TDoS as much as he was in AUJ, but he still has several really great character growth moments and Martin Freeman is still just as perfect in the role as he was in the previous film(he definitely nailed the part). One thing in particular I enjoyed was the showing of the Ring beginning to corrupt Bilbo, beginning with him keeping it a secret from Gandalf to when he kills the spider viciously and rasps "Mine" possessively(right before covering his mouth in horrified disgust at his violent, unlike him, behavior). Bilbo also has several other great moments, such as when he solves the riddle at the door when no one else in the company can(which is in the theme of the 'unimportant' people being the heroes that is prevalent in J.R.R. Tolkien's works of Middle Earth), as well as when he releases the barrels without getting himself into one, and when he faces the great Dragon Smaug. Bilbo really is one of the cleverest characters in this film and I can't wait to see more of him in the upcoming film.
Of the dwarves that got more development, I'd say the ones that got the most were Kili, Balin, Gloin, Fili, Ori, Bofur, and of course, Thorin Oakenshield. I especially enjoyed the larger amount of development of Kili since, after the last two movies, it will be harder for people to claim that he's just 'the hot dwarf'(though, I do think Thorin is nice looking as well), as we learn more about him and his family, such that his mother worries about him as well as the bond between him and his brother(like how Fili would rather stay with Kili in Laketown than travel the rest of the way home, since he's so loyal). His part in the escape from Mirkwood/the barrel chase was awesome and, in fact, this entire sequence was among my favorite parts of the entire film! It was epic, the fighting was very exciting and a joy to behold, and I literally was smiling the entire time at how excellent it all was! :D
One of my favorite parts of the film, one that, in fact, I'd been a bit worried about, was Tauriel. I love well done female characters, and I should have trusted Peter Jackson to do an amazing job, but when I saw and heard hints of a love triangle, I was skeptical, since I hate it when that's the only point a girl is there for. Thankfully, that was not the case because Tauriel was AMAZING!!! She literally never needed saving in this film- not ONCE!! She is definitely extremely skilled and I loved that she was Captain of the Guard(also, we got to see several other female elves in the army, which as also great! More girls in action roles, please! :D) While watching the film, I kept wanting to see more of her and even though there was romance in it, I didn't feel like that was her reason for being there- she just seemed to fit seamlessly into the story and wasn't only there to be eye candy(though she is quite pretty), which I greatly appreciated.
As for the love triangle, it really wasn't that terrible- in fact, it was very much down-played(especially the Legolas side of it), which I'm thankful for, since, not only because love triangles are annoying, but apparently Evangeline Lilly really didn't want it in there in the first place and the producers were the ones that made it be added(since Peter Jackson originally wasn't going to have the triangle part in it). While watching, to me anyway, if you took out Thranduil's comment about Legolas liking her and the brief segment of Legolas watching her talking to Kili, it would have appeared to me that they were either just friends or comrades(thank you Evangeline and Orlando for down playing it so much!). In fact, even the part with Kili, where it is obvious he has a crush on her, in regards to Tauriel, her feelings towards him actually are quite a bit more ambiguous, since her helping him at the end could be taken as her knowing about how his mother worries about him and showing empathy/caromg because of it(though she does like him, since it's obviously going to happen, which, really, I don't mind all that much since it bizarrely works); the same can be said for when she goes after the orcs- yes, part of it was that she wanted Kili healed, but she also wanted to stop the orcs because she didn't want others to get slaughtered. Another thing of note, which I thought was cool(especially if her and Kili do have a romance) is that SHE is the one who rescues Kili(in fact, she rescues him three or four times), instead of the other way around, which I, as a feminist, immensely enjoyed seeing. Now they just need to show her dramatically carrying an unconscious Kili through smoke or something XD
Now I want to know what her character will do, and what will happen to her, in the third installment "There and Back Again".
Besides characters, it was also interesting to see the setting and races explored in more depth. For the first time, we really get to see a different kind of Elf than we have previously in the films. The Mirkwood elves are a bit looser, more vicious, and more wild than their counterparts- shadowy like the starlight that they love. Looking through my copy of The Hobbit the other day, I found a description of the Elves of Mirkwood which was exactly how they were portrayed in the film, which wasn't surprising, considering Mr. Jackson's love of the lore, but was nonetheless awesome. I mean, I never thought I'd see drunk Elves XD.
And, of course, the dragon Smaug was magnificent; his animation was flawless and he really, truly looked real and fearsome- nothing about him looked like CGI at all. And, of course, he was artistically played by the wonderful Benedict Cumberbatch. And, as always it was nice to see Sherlock and John-excuse me Martin and Benedict- working together in another fictional story(even if one is a giant, evil fire-breathing dragon).
Before I finish this review, I want to make a remark about Legolas, his character development, as well as a little humor. First of all, it was very neat to see him before his appearance in the LOTR and how he used to hate dwarves(which shows what a powerful bit of growth he went through, since he's best friends with Gimli later on). It was also brilliant to have him questioning Gloin on who the people in the pictures were and having Gloin mention his son Gimli XD(little do you know, Legolas, little do you know...XD).
I also loved the fight scene of him at the end. When the orc makes him bleed, I was literally making lines for him in my head, which basically were - "You made me bleed and get stuff on my perfect face. I'LL KILL YOU!!!". The elves are almost always clean so when they get something on them, like blood or dirt, it's quite humorous(my sister and I always laughed when Legolas gets a smudge of dirt on his forehead in the LOTR).
Overall, this was my favorite movie of the year, and I definitely recommend it to all!!! :D
The last film(and it's trailer) can't come soon enough!!!! :D
She walks in starlight in another world. - Geez, Kili, you are very poetic. But I like it :)
I see Fire