The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Prepare to be desolated.
"Beyond darkness... beyond desolation... lies the greatest danger of all."

Good morrow to you hobbits and dwarves, it's time for The Tagline! As promised, over the weekend I went to see the Hobbit, despite the fact that there was a snowstorm in progress. Actually, the snow was rather fortunate, because it meant that instead of going to see the movie in a theater packed with people, my two friends and I had the privilege of seeing the movie in an empty theater, save for ourselves. This is my ideal viewing situation, because while I like watching movies in a theater, I prefer that there be no other people present, because I don't like them and also like to imagine that the theater actually belongs to me, but that's probably a conversation to have with a therapist. ANYWAY, we made it through the snow and began our viewing of THE HOBBIT PART TWO: REHOBBITING aka The Desolation of Smaug (the number of times we said SMAUUUWWWWGGGG throughout the evening would probably be sufficient to warrant an act of violence against us). I was relatively open (on my blog if not in person) with how I felt about the first Hobbit movie. Me and fantasy in general have a kind of contentious relationship, because fantasy is frequently accompanied by 1) camp and 2) whimsy. Those are two things I have zero fucking interest in (particularly the whimsy) I liked the Lord of the Rings because it was bleak, and dark, and there were constantly things getting decapitated while the characters trudged through the rain and mud, and lamenting how hope had abandoned the world. That was what I liked about it. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was incredibly long considering that the first hour and a half was spent in Bilbo's house (At least it was about that mark before he LEFT) and I could have done without the whacky dwarf singing. Even the "action" had a fair amount of capering about while goofy goblins chased the dwarves through their gobliny lair. From the very beginning of The Desolation of Smaug, you can tell that this movie is going to strike a different, darker tone, for which I was very grateful. The movie opens in that rat pisshole of a town Bree, where Peter Jackson likes to look surly and eat carrots, and things start dying very shortly after.

He looks like he was caught sexing the gold.
The tone of the movie felt a lot more Lord of the Rings in general. Everyone is more serious, the world is darker, danger is growing in the shadows (finallyyyyy) Rather than emphasizing the more... campy aspects of the book, here we see good old fashioned Morgul Orcs and other horrible monsters, including giant killer spiders, that Bilbo messes up with his sword (which also shows that he is being changed, both by his journey and by his possession of the One Ring) We get to see I think more of the world and its locales in the Hobbit movies than we really did in The Lord of the Rings, or rather it feels like the Dwarven party interacts with more groups of people. In LotR pretty much all the fellowship did was keep to the wilderness and fight shit that found them (mostly orcs) It's easy to forget that Middle Earth is more than just a forbidding mountain range in New Zealand. It is also a forbidding forest, a frozen lake, and a giant mountain with a dragon inside it.

Look at these surly gits.
Of course. Let's talk about Benedict Cumberdragon. Smaug is pretty cool, in that he is intensely menacing, and I was surprised at how well the special effects carried off Smaug. I guess I shouldn't have been, given the special effects in the original LotR trilogy, and the amount of technical advances that have transpired since then, but I just found the effects of the first Hobbit also kind of underwhelming. Something about the way it was shot just looked... cheap somehow. I think that this movie seems to have learned from the shortcomings of the previous one in a lot of ways, and that is encouraging. At the same time, it is still the middle movie, and it leaves off on one of the most offensively bald-faced cliffhangers ever conceived. I mean the movie practically ends in the MIDDLE of a scene. I was not amused.

Get over it you diaper babies.
I guess now I really need to talk about Tauriel. In case you are not a fan of Tolkien and don't know, Tauriel was a character invented specifically for the purpose of being in the Hobbit movies. She didn't appear in the first one, but figures fairly prominently into the Desolation of Smaug, and presumably the last movie as well. People, especially hardcore "fans" were predictably not super thrilled about her inclusion. Obviously this makes sense, she is not canonically involved with the events of the Hobbit. Naturally my response to this attitude is pretty predictable: Get over it. For starters, I find Tauriel to be a likable character, and she breaks up the basically all male cast rather nicely. She isn't a simpering maiden, she's a badass who goes around fucking up orcs and stabbing them to death. I find that appealing. Another good point, while Tolkien's books are full of details, they are also full of details that are not included. I don't think it is such a horrific thing to add in a character not explicitly mentioned in the book, it isn't like she's throwing the one ring into Mt. Doom or slaying Smaug. This isn't a case of Hayden Christianson being at the end of Return of the Jedi suddenly, and I think people need to just accept that sometimes things are different, and it isn't always a terrible thing.

That's all for tonight! Join me on Thursday for a special Christmas treat that will make you wish you were dead.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Project Wonderful Ad