Monday, December 16, 2013

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Review

Just like was the case with The Lord of the Rings trilogy in the early 2000's, this December gives the gift of Hobbit once again just one December after the first one came out. When I first saw An Unexpected Journey last December, I wasn't totally impressed. I didn't hate it, but I was hoping for a lot more. Upon viewing it again, I actually liked it a lot more. It had a few things that bother me, and it's no where near the level of the Lord of the Rings movies, but I would think it's a good movie. I can't claim I was extremely excited for Desolation of Smaug, but nevertheless I had high hopes. It turns out that I still thought the movie was really entertaining, but when all is said and done, the second chapter of the Hobbit trilogy is still no where near as good as it could've been and is actually even a step down from the first.

If you haven't read the Hobbit, I highly recommend you find some time to sit down and read it. Most of you, I feel, have read the Hobbit, so I don't need to dive into the story that much. With this second one, we pick up our story with right where we left off with Bilbo and the dwarves running away from the orcs. An Unexpected Journey, although it was a bit drawn out, seemed to follow the book pretty well. This one, however, took a ton of creative liberties. A lot of creative liberties I was fine with. The scenes were entertaining, even though they strayed quite a bit from the book. However, the more we got into the movie, the more I got the feeling that they were just throwing things in there to fill the movie. And that of course brings up the discussion of this three movie decision.

Was it worth it to create three movies out of the Hobbit? I never liked the idea, but I was willing to give Peter Jackson a shot. After all, he made the Lord of the Rings movies, which are three of my favorite movies ever. He seemed like he knew what he was doing when the three-movie decision was announced. After seeing the first two movies, I have officially decided that this was a bad idea. The first movie was good, but it could've been improved if they moved a bit faster through it. The second movie was decent, but they added so much, that it got a bit silly. Had they stuck to two movies, I feel The Hobbit would've been pretty epic. The scenes in it would've been great. The movie would've been more focused. The pacing would've been much better. Things just would've been a lot better overall.

But let's get back to the movie, because I have more to say. There is one aspect that bothered me even more than all the unnecessary added plot and that is the CGI. Had the CGI been top-notch, I may have been able to forgive the plot follies. But my goodness it was so awful that it was embarrassing! Especially the orcs. Every time there was a scene with the orcs, despite how well written the scene may have been, I had a hard time enjoying the scene because of how the orcs looked. For a movie team that did something so legendary with The Lord of the Rings, it's almost mind-boggling that they could be so lazy and pathetic when it comes to doing the CGI in their movie.

A few more down points for this movie real quick. Did Legolas need to be in this movie? I mean, he did a good job, and was especially entertaining when he was cutting off orcs' heads, but I'm going to say no to that question. It was one of those things where they threw him into the movie as filler so they could justify three movies. And since Tolkien never wrote him into the book in the first place, the writing of his character seemed especially weak. Also there is Evangeline Lilly. I love her! She was so good in Lost! And I'm not complaining that they wrote her character in, but the way they wrote her character is what I have a problem with. In the movie there is a weird and awkward love triangle between her, Legolas, and a dwarf. Yes, you heard that right. And yes, it's as stupid as it sounds. Finally, I need to complain about the music in the movie. All four of the other movies I walked out loving the music! The Lord of the Rings soundtrack is easily one of my favorite music soundtracks ever. And the Misty Mountains song in An Unexpected Journey was also awesome! But this movie had no memorable music. The music wasn't bad, but it was just not memorable. And that's disappointing.

Now I know I have written for a long time on this post, but I have been so negative to this point that I need to give some positives. Like I mentioned, while this movie is far from epic, it was really entertaining. It may not seem like it based on this review, but sometimes when you have high hopes for a movie and it doesn't quite meet your expectations, all the follies stick out a lot more and thus you spend a lot more time talking about them. Thus is the case with this. The visuals and cinematography in the movie, outside the awful CGI of course, was brilliant. The acting was superb, as always. Speaking of which, our Sherlock reunion made me so happy. Martin Freeman is an amazing Bilbo. He was great in the first and was great in this. And when he made it to Smaug, that scene stole the show. Benedict Cumberbatch as the voice of Smaug was pure genius. The man is one of my favorite actors, and after hearing him voice both Smaug and the Necromancer, but especially Smaug, I have decided that he should voice every villain ever. He is that good!

Anyways, I will wrap this up by mentioning that I originally gave An Unexpected Journey a 7 out of 10. After additional viewings, I would've regraded that and given it an 8.5 out of 10. Most people that I've been reading have claimed that Desolation of Smaug is an improvement over the first, but I am going to reverse course and give Desolation of Smaug a 7.5 out of 10. It's decent and entertaining, but overall not that great and a step down from the first. But alas, there is still hope that the finale next December ends up being the best of three, so we'll see what happens.


  1. Agree with you wholeheartedly on your review, Droge! I totally loved the little Sherlock reunion; Cumberbatch was great as Smaug. I kept thinking they should've spent more of the movie on Martin Freeman; he was awesome the whole way through. I left the movie having been entertained enough that I would be willing to see it again, dumb parts and all. I actually kinda liked that they put in a story line to explain what Gandalf was off doing that whole time, but the weird inter - people's triangle should have been left out. Thanks for your great review!

    1. Oh yeah, I failed to mention that I really did like the Gandalf/Necromancer part. That was cool. And the eye of Sauron? WOW!