Desolation of Smaug review
Glib Reviews Of DVDs that are Coming Soon!
Directed by Peter Jackson
Working in a video store, the movies show up a few days before you put them on the shelves, so that you can have time to enter them into your inventory, and more importantly, for staff to view a few flicks to give people recommendations, which is a big chunk of your day. Some folks know exactly what they are looking for at the video store. But, a lot of people come to the store, because they don’t know what to watch, they check out the staff picks, and they ask for recommendations. So you have to keep up at least a little bit with the new releases.
Due to some inventory days at the distro warehouse, The Hobbit, Desolation of Smaug showed up well early, and I got to end my weekend of watching movies about D&D nerds with the 2nd movie adaptation of the really short book that got many of us into D&D in the first place. I’m in the camp, that Tolkien’s The Hobbit doesn’t need three movies to tell it’s story.
But movies are adaptations, they are not the experience of reading the book, they may come close occasionally but, well not really.
I found the first movie The Hobbit, An Unexpected Journey to be just okay in terms of how it told a story, that I am pretty familiar with. It had some good moments here and there, but it was oddly paced, and overlong, with not much of an ending, other than to be continued.
Desolation of Smaug is again, overlong, and the extra padding does little other than dazzle your eyes briefly. This second part of the story, for me at least was a bit more satisfying than the first, in that we did get to see the Elves being the giant dicks we all know them to be, and of course, as noble as we know a few of them to be. I liked Tauriel, she’s the Legolas of this movie, despite the actual Legolas being in the film, and kind of stalking her. Speaking of Mr. Bloom, I think I liked him in this particular bit of Legolassing better than anything he’s done, other than his turn on Ricky Gervais’ Extras.
I still have a hard time with the whole handsome in a human looking way Dwarves thing. Why are some of them very ‘Gimli-like’ and others are like short Humans? Contracts, of the actors, likely; it’s a bit jarring to me.
That said, I liked the interplay of Hot Dwarf (The Hot Dwarf King’s Hot Nephew, I think)and Hot Elf (Tauriel) thinking they might cross the forbidden inter being love that dare not speak its name. Just like Gimli and Legolas in the LOTR movies. (just kidding, nerd homophobes, don’t worry they were just ‘bros,’ I’m sure)
I found the city of Dale kind of annoying, the barge guy looked too much like the tall older brother of the Hot Dwarf King and his Hot nephew. It was weirdly disconcerting, are all the hot people related?
The Gandalf storyline was fun, but lacked much of the gravitas it needed, feeling kind of extraneous to me, and like the end of the story with the dragon, makes me impatient to watch the third one.
The Dragon named Smaug, though was pretty much worth the wait. For me, the best part of the movie was the last part where Bilbo and his Band of Dwarves try to avoid being BBQ’d by Smaug, intercut with the steampunk albino Orcs attacking Dale and getting their asses handed to them by two very dextrous Elves. Two set pieces handles very well. Tough and lucky bunch of adventurers, getting nary a scratch from all that Dragon fire. Sherlock Holmes makes a fine Dragon voice, he really does.
Again, the ending makes me realize that this whole everything is a trilogy thing is just Hollywood echoing the current TV model. The Hobbit is just an HBO show done in the theatres. And like those shows, you feel affronted that it takes them a whole year or more to put out the next part of the story.
To my mind though, those HBO shows are written with a bit more jump for the most part. I liked the Desolation of Smaug more than it’s predecessor, but it still left me wanting, wanting to wait ’til the third one comes out to watch all three again, together over a weekend, or a very long nerdy day.
So in a nutshell, the Desolation of Smaug was more enjoyable, and less plodding than An Unexpected Journey, but still it ineffably falls just short of being a great film, though I think all three together, or at least I hope, that all three together will make for one giant 9-12 hour roller coaster ride. The Hobbit isn’t as deep a story as you think it is, is something to keep in mind when watching. Tolkien Canon has nothing to do with the movies, they are adaptations, interpretations.
7.99999 Hot Elves (like there is some other kind) doing backflips and shooting Orcs in the ass with arrows outta 10