Friday, August 22, 2014

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

I came late to the party, or at least it seemed that way. By the time I first saw the Rankin-Bass version of "The Hobbit" on television, which I learned about from posters in the English classrooms at school, many of my friends were already into JRR Tolkien. I really enjoyed the animated film and later sought the book out, which I also dug.

Then I moved on to the Lord of the Rings trilogy. This was dense and not written in the light manner of "The Hobbit." I got through "Fellowship" and started "Two Towers," then gave up on it. I put Tolkien in the same category as H.P. Lovecraft and George Lucas, great conceptualists, but lousy on the follow through. Over the next quarter century I did finish the trilogy and even re-read it, but Tolkien's style was not for me.

I did enjoy the LotR movies by Peter Jackson however, but I wasn't gaga over it. My brother-in-law was. He convinced me to watch the ten-hour DVD set of it, and it was all right, once. He also got me to watch The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, which I was a bit more excited for. Until the middle of the film, it seemed to go on forever. However once it got rolling it was pretty good, the bits with Gollum, and the Orcs on their trail had my interest.

I recently got a chance to finally see the second installment of The Hobbit, The Desolation of Smaug. First, three parts? Really? This couldn't be one, or two at most? This one had the same problem as the first, it dragged, was even boring in parts. I know Peter Jackson, and a majority of his fan base are in love with Middle-Earth, but it's gotta end some time, and you can't make other people love by making these movies longer.

Has anyone thought of possibly making a TV series, new adventures set in Middle-Earth, to possibly fill this need? Will Jackson be filming "The Silmarillion" or "Tom Bombadil" and making them six to nine hours long? There has to be a stop point, folks. I could see new tales (and there's been a little of that here), but stretching one book to match the trilogy made from three?

Lord of the Rings is a major problem here too, even though those events happen almost a century after The Hobbit. So much is put into setting up LotR that this is more like parts 1-3 of Star Wars rather than The Hobbit. All the bits with Legolas and Sauron, were they really needed, or was this continuity minutiae like what Roy Thomas did with World War II in the All-Star Squadron comic book series?

That said, the Legolas fight scenes were among the best in the movie even though none of it occurred in the book. It also occurs to me why isn't Orlando Bloom in a Marvel movie yet? He is action hero material, and he would be heaven sent casting as Quicksilver, even though that ship has left the dock. I also liked Smaug as voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch. He was very good, except for when he was filling LotR continuity holes. I also disliked the weird love triangle, what the hell was that about?

I liked the movie okay, and it had slow spots as well, giving me a few quick cat naps. I look forward to the third and hopefully final Hobbit film, but I'm not sure I'll see it in the theater, after all, I waited nine months for this one. Your mileage may vary.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous5:28 PM

    Like you, I'm not the biggest fanboy when it comes to Tolkien. I loved reading The Hobbit, but LOTR was a chore because, dry, dry, dry.

    I very much enjoyed the LOTR movies. I'm not as rabid as some people (or many, I should say) but I dug them. Saw all three in the theatre, will revisit them at some point before too long.

    Saw The Hobbit: Whatever The First One Was Called at home. Was bored until about halfway through, then it got good.

    Saw this one at the $1.50 theatre (which is now a $2 theatre, the horror) and liked it much better. Wasn't bored, liked most of the stuff, even the stuff that didn't happen.

    Love the fact that Ned The Piemaker/Ronan The Accuser is Thranduil. Dude's got some serious range, yo.

    However, you have the title wrong. It's The Hobbit: Lots Of Fucking Stairs. Trust me on this one.