Movie Title: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Date Released: December 13th, 2013
Date Seen: December 13th, 2013
Part 1 – Spoiler Free Quickie Review
A much better installment, although just as untrue to the book as the first Hobbit movie. If you’ve never read the book, you’ll probably enjoy The Desolation of Smaug as it is much more action packed and less boring than An Unexpected Journey. This change though also results in a real change in the overall feeling that book had, as I describe below.
The Desolation of Smaug takes out a lot of the cute, charming, or witty scenes from the Hobbit and either glosses over them in a quick short scene without the wit, or skips it altogether. One of my favorite scenes in the Hobbit book is the entrance to Beorn’s house, but the movie takes the entire Beorn chapter and a half ish and makes it into a quick maybe 3-5 minute scene. The movie does this continually until the group makes their way to Laketown, then we slow down x100. This made the pace of the movie very awkward. It felt like it was rushed for the first segment, then dragged on and on once they arrived at Laketown. There were things that I liked that they did in Laketown, but it was a bit much. One of the things I did like was that we got to see a lot more of Bard. The group meets him sooner than in the book, but you get to know him better, which I enjoyed. Things I did not like are sort of spoilery so I will mention them down below. They do something very untrue to the book, that is mostly for the sole purpose of the romance they randomly decided to throw in the movie.
The unnecessary romance involves the addition of a unnecessary characters who doesn’t appear in the book – yes, I’m talking about the elves, Legolas and Tauriel. Legolas at least sort of makes sense to be there, considering his father is the Elvenking (King of the Woodland Realm), but Tauriel is a completely made up character so that they can add in a romance. It’s unnecessary and due to this romance they also change the main plot line a bit, which annoyed me.
Another major change in the movie is the amount of action. This movie felt action packed. One scene that went from having no action to being action packed is the barrel scene, for example. We also still have the whole pale orc story line which of course adds in tons and tons of action. We follow Gandalf for a while as well, which adds in a nice amount of action as well. I understand the addition of all the action, but I wasn’t a big fan, since I like the witty fun that the Hobbit has in it, and that’s why I read it – not for action.
All these changes just made it feel like Peter Jackson just decided to take the characters and framework of JRR Tolkiens story, then go his own way. Now, that’s all fine and dandy for some people, but a big reason why I like book -> movie adaptations is to see the things I imagined come to life. This was just little snippets of things thrown together with an otherwise different plot line to satisfy a wider audience. To me, that was disappointing. Changes do need to be made from book to movie, but not as many changes as were made.
There was one other thing I really liked – the Wood Elf palace. It was gorgeous. I wished we got to see more of it. I also think I might be crazy, but I swear there’s a part when Thranduil says something about gold and riches, and perhaps even mentions the Arkenstone, and I swear I saw his eyes glitter. It would make sense considering something else he does later, but it happened so fast I can’t be sure I saw it. If I did, that’s cool. If it didn’t happen, well, further proof I’m insane.
Part 2 – In Depth Spoiler Ridden Review/Synopsis
There was one scene I found hilarious. It was like Peter Jackson had just gotten done watching the “A Golden Crown” episode of Game of Thrones and was like “HEY I CAN DO THAT BUT WITH A REAL DRAGON OMG YEAH LETS DO IT!!!”. And hence comes the scene where the dwarves cover Smaug in molten gold. It was cool to see, but that’s all I could think of the entire time. Most of the Smaug scenes were pretty cool, although I wish he riddled more with Bilbo rather than just talking at Bilbo, which he did a lot of.
Another thing I hated was the focus on the Arkenstone. I like how in the book you don’t really know much about it, just have heard it mentioned a couple of times. DOS made it seem so much more important and kind of changed my opinion of Thorin in the movie than how I thought of him in the book. Yeah, he’s a greedy little dwarf, but still.
Also, I mentioned the romance above, but SEPARATING THE DWARVES? COME ON!!! NO! They did that just for their stupid little romance.
Better than the first, more action, but I still won’t ever watch it again. It was a one and done.