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The Lord of the Rings trilogy was an astounding and albeit masterpiece worthy of praise and every accolade for its time. Bearing that in mind, it would only make sense for the story of The Hobbit to make its way to the big screen. Curiously enough, also as a trilogy.
I’ve never actually sat down and read any of Tolkien’s books, but his works were subjects of study all the same in many literary classes I took. I had friends that read his stories, including the original Hobbit and found we shared a similar sense of surprise seeing that there would be a new trilogy based off of this one 400 page book.
At this time we are only 2/3, and I feel I must be just in saying that Peter Jackson is awfully fond of himself to stretch out such a story over the course of 3 separate nearly 3 hour films.
Most will enjoy and fewer still will criticize the movies if for nothing else, being too long. The enjoyment one feels revisiting Middle Earth is one rarely attained when going to the movies these days. But even the large pan out shots of New Zealand’s landscapes can’t save itself from suffering one seemingly simple misstep. These movies are too long.
The Lord of the Rings films were the punchline to many jokes remarking on how a seemingly simple tasked is made near impossible with little explanation as to why characters had to trek across such a treacherous land when many opportunities for flight came around. In “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,”, we see our merry band of countrymen pick up where they left off in the last movie, having just been dropped off by a large group of rather capable eagles, just short of 50 miles from their mountainous destination. While I am sure there was good reason having not brought our group closer to the inevitable battle with Smaug, one would think that it could have been brought to the audiences attention at some point or another within that 3 hours. Also, how long did Smaug sleep? Did he seek food occasionally? He must have left the dwarven castle at some point. Or did he just lay underneath a sea of gold coins for nearly 40 years? Perhaps these are arbitrary questions that need not been answered as there were far more pressing matters at hand that the director felt more important. Or maybe there was just a lot more walking.
Perhaps I am judging too harshly. There were moments of utmost joy to be had during the film. Sir Ian McKellen and Martin Freeman were at their best, as to be expected, and the visuals were absolutely stunning. I would even go so far as to say ‘breath-taking’ at times, especially in 3D (which is a must this time around). However, it did feel like the beautiful scenery was a ploy to take the viewers attention away from the lack of action and constant hiking through forest and mountains. But there was action, though. However, I could not help but think several times during my viewing that the fight choreography team must have been on vacation this go around, as most of the battles were with Legolas jumping across our dwarven heroes heads to tackle an orcish enemy and surf the body of that orc down into another patch of orcs. If nothing else, Legolas would certainly give Kelly Slater a run for his money.
Evangeline Lilly finally makes her appearance in the film, even if it was was with slight over-acting and a relationship that confused the audience on whether she was interested in the only dwarf that took pride in hygienics or Legolas himself. But it was lovely to see her on screen causing emotional tension with the dreamy Orlando Bloom. A match made in heaven, or simply one not at all. Assuming that she and Legolas wont work out on the basis she made not an appearance or even mentioned in any of the Lord of the Rings films.
Truth be told, fans with enjoy the movie as Peter Jackson is once again up to his usual antics of foolish bumbling about and fine attention to details, even if some are missed during long periods of nothing happening while the viewers marvel at the movies cinematography. Oh, and did we mention the dragon, Smaug? He is in the movie, for the last 30 minutes. Only most of the time he is off screen searching for Bilbo and his dwarven miscreants. With what little time we got to spend with Smaug (voice and mokap by Benedict Cumberbatch), he was clearly the star of the show. Oh, and Sauron is back. File that under ‘Obvious Foreshadowing’.
The movie may not be worth the money in the theater, as it tends to repeat itself over and over, almost an exact duplicate of the first Hobbit film, but if you do make your way to the theater to see it, spend the extra $$ on 3D, you will likely get all of your enjoyment out of that in and of itself.