Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Peter Jackson, what have you done?)

Going beyond two movies for a 300-page book... lies the greatest danger of all.

This may be actually the first time that I'll complain of an adaptation (of a book that I love) being unnecessarily prolonged. Seriously, a trilogy? Of one little book? While the first installment was enjoyable though in a juvenile way, it becomes apparent in Desolation of Smaug the fillers that Peter Jackson has to add just to make the main plot last all the way to the third installment. And that irks me. It really does. It would have been kick-ass if it was a two-part adaptation, but a trilogy it never should have been. 

The dwarves, along with Bilbo Baggins and Gandalf the Grey, continue their quest to reclaim Erebor, their homeland, from Smaug. Bilbo Baggins is in possession of a mysterious and magical ring.
Directed by:  Peter Jackson
Screenplay by:  Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, Guillermo Del Toro
Music by:  Howard Shore (LOTR, The Aviator, High Fidelity)
Cinematography by:  Andrew Lesnie (LOTR, I Am Legend)
Editing by:  Jabez Olssen (The Lovely Bones)
Running Time:  161 mins
Budget:  $225 million
Box Office: over $600 million

First of all, great cast! Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins is perfect! He adds that much needed humor for this trilogy and he doesn't fail to make me laugh with his hobbit-like goofiness. Aside from the comic relief he brings to the franchise, Bilbo is also one of the characters in DoS with character growth. To see him slowly getting corrupted by the ring with his sometimes subtle acting is just awesome to see.

One word, and yet it showed so many things. I miss Gollum in this scene :)

this scene made me LMFAO! 

Kili (Aidan Turner) is so freakin' cute for a dwarf.

While I may not agree with some of Jackson's decisions (making The Hobbit into a trilogy), I'm so glad that he added a much-needed female character with a rebellious streak that balances off an otherwise male-dominated Middle Earth. Tauriel (played by Evangeline Lilly), adds charm to the movie. Her tandem with Legolas especially the action sequences are some of my favorite scenes in DoS.

Lee Pace. I used to fangirl over Legolas in LOTR, but Lee Pace as Thranduil, the king of sass, made Legolas look like a warty goblin in my eyes - seriously, mouth open, still drooling! LOL. I don't need to say more about his character or acting. I only need to post this.

AND THIS! hahahaha!

Orlando Bloom as Legolas also surprised me in DoS because he has "acted" more than he did in the LOTR trilogy & is one of the highlights of the film (together with Tauriel, and however cheesy & over the top their scenes are) with his sassy mouth, meme-worthy expressions, and acrobatic skills. 

"You say my dad's hotter than me?"
Lastly, we have Benedict Cumberbatch. The main event. I absolutely love him as Sherlock, and I love him all the more as Smaug especially upon reading that he insisted on motion capture even though it wasn't needed. Now that's one cool dragon!

Finally getting to Smaug's scenes snapped me out of my stupor. He was amazing. His dialogues, his expressions, his voice. Everything. I have been irritated at the lagging second act (fillers I tell ya!) but it's definitely worth the IMAX ticket price just to see Smaug and his smugness. Although I would have preferred it if they did less of the fire-breathing stunts and all that crap and added more of Smaug's cunning which is one of the book's highlights. He's a majestic Tolkien dragon, not a simple-minded lab rat clumsily trying to chase dwarves. 

Smaug's expression when he sees the statue - I was emotional. lol. 

The visuals, the musical score, the cinematography I don't have to comment on. It's decent enough for me, but not as good as the original trilogy. Maybe it was intended that way because The Hobbit is basically a fun adventure story, unlike LOTR's darker, more elegant tone.

In conclusion, I still think that a trilogy is unnecessary (Or that the way Jackson executed The Hobbit isn't worthy of a trilogy). If this film was trimmed down, it would have been infinitely better. I don't have a problem with movies with extra long running time. I have loved every minute of Gone With The Wind and that's almost four hours long. All three LOTR movies I have watched several times without any complaints of it being dragging or too long. I don't know where DoS went wrong, but I guess I just wasn't as invested to the characters as I was in LOTR. It's ironic because The Hobbit is my favorite book as it was never boring - and I wouldn't have had any problems if it was three films (as the book was rich with interesting little stories that could be great material for a plot), in fact I was excited the first time it was announced that PJ is making this into a trilogy. But after seeing this film with all its fluffy grandeur and drawn-out crowd-pleasing action scenes, I stand by what I said - this shouldn't have been a trilogy.

Jackson and his band of writers has changed the story and has strayed so much that the movie felt unevenly paced and disjointed. I don't care if a lot was changed, movies & books aren't meant to be similar to the letter but what I am not amused about is the fact that there was so much tinkering done it has affected the essence of the characters and plot. The Hobbit is the story of the dwarves and their journey to reclaim their mountain - there was so much fluff that the dwarf story was thrown into the sidelines. There's barely any interaction amongst the characters, and Smaug at some point was depicted as some half-wit easily lured by some kind of "chase-me-into-a-trap-na-na-na-na-na-na!" tactic (come on). The Hobbit is a story about the Dwarves. What we got is an Elf-driven plot. Most of the the dwarves (with the exception of Thorin) simply became caricatures serving as the comic relief for the movie. That's a shame.

Still, the film makes up for whatever weaknesses/shortcomings it has with some amusing entertainment. I'm glad I watched this in the big screen. But unlike LOTR which I have seen multiple times, this is something I'm not too keen to re-watch habitually.

Pshaw! Thranduil, so gay! lol

MY RATING: 3/5 - Despite my issues, I didn't regret seeing it (you should too, if only by principle) and I would still watch the last installment. Imagine us audience being Radagast The Brown when he asked "What if it's a trap?" and Peter Jackson as Gandalf The Grey replying "It's undoubtedly a trap." The Hobbit trilogy indeed is a trap disguised in more or less 9 hours of CGI-fest, beautiful elves, cute dwarves, an amusing hobbit, & a majestic dragon set up by PJ to make us say "Shut up and take our money!"

YOUR POINT OF VIEW: What do you think of the Kili-Tauriel angle? 


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  1. I recently read The Hobbit, but I haven't seen either of the films. I thought it was only going to be two films, but to my surprise, it's going to be stretched out into three films. For a book that took me two days to read, of course I don't think that's necessary! I am glad that these films are entertaining, though. I do hope that Peter Jackson start working on other projects. He's proven in the course of the three LOTR films that he's a very talented filmmaker and I'm sure there are far vaster horizons for him to conquer.

    I like how you spotlighted each of the performances. I didn't know so many famous actors were in this!

    1. I really would have tolerated three films if the story/characterization was done as magnificently as LOTR and if there were character development/interaction with other characters. Meaning, we should have experienced an epic story about dwarves and bilbo, INSTEAD, we got a typical hollywood film intent on giving us more action (and legolas) than a solid screenplay.

      I have enjoyed part 1 - it was entertaining. Part 2 could have been REALLY better, like I said, most fillers were put here. I think Part 3 would be the best installment, I hope PJ redeems himself in 3

      thanks for reading! =D

    2. oh and I agree on what you said about PJ, he's already proven himself with what he can do in LOTR.. So I would love to see him tackle another project, where there are no hobbits involved. or gorillas.

  2. I haven't read the books (The Hobbit and LOTR) but I've seen the movies. (I know! Shame on me!) The Kili-Tauriel angle is really something. It's nakakakilig, for lack of a better word. And Legolas! Gosh, he's the main reason why I love the LOTR trilogy. I was ecstatic when I saw he's in The Hobbit, too. (Though I've read somewhere that he's not really in the The Hobbit book. Is that true?) Anyway, I'd give anything to watch Orlando Bloom play Legolas again. Hihi.. ^__^

    1. hehe well you have lots of time to pick LOTR/The Hobbit up =D If my memory serves me rights, I haven't read about Legolas sa The Hobbit. Maybe he was mentioned, but since it's before Frodo's time, the book was focused on Bilbo and his adventures with the dwarves.. I think the decision to include him here is purely for box office reason. To draw the audience in. And yeah, i agree hahah ang cute nina Kili & Tauriel kahit na medyo awkward yung height difference LOL. Also yung "racial" difference - since Dwarves & Elves aren't really chummy chummy.



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