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The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)

aka The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

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Details: 0 mins · English

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A Film Filled With... Filler

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug has the sorry job of being the middle-film of a trilogy; it neither has a permanent beginning or end, yet must present one to the audience, making it feel like a movie of its own and the middle chunk of an overarching tale. And, akin to Twin Towers, this is when Peter Jackson begins to take some liberties with the story. However, these changes serve more as base means to expand the length rather than add anything consequential or truly necessary to the work.

As one of my friends mentioned repeatedly after the film, they definitely went for an IMax feel; all of the wide panning shots of each scene, showcasing the capabilities of the cameras running at the now customary 48 fps, as it had in the previous iteration. This time around, for me some of the quicker scenes felt abnormally blurry and disjointed, kicking me out of the experience. And there's one particularly confuddling choice that really baffles me; amid an intense fight scene, there are thre...(more)

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug has the sorry job of being the middle-film of a trilogy; it neither has a permanent beginning or end, yet must present one to the audience, making it feel like a movie of its own and the middle chunk of an overarching tale. And, akin to Twin Towers, this is when Peter Jackson begins to take some liberties with the story. However, these changes serve more as base means to expand the length rather than add anything consequential or truly necessary to the work.

As one of my friends mentioned repeatedly after the film, they definitely went for an IMax feel; all of the wide panning shots of each scene, showcasing the capabilities of the cameras running at the now customary 48 fps, as it had in the previous iteration. This time around, for me some of the quicker scenes felt abnormally blurry and disjointed, kicking me out of the experience. And there's one particularly confuddling choice that really baffles me; amid an intense fight scene, there are three sudden moments where the camera work shifts to a first person shot that looks, more or less, like something on America's Funniest Home Videos. Seriously, the shots are such poor quality and utilizes jarringly different lenses and cameras that I immediately was hung up on the moment for the next four minutes or so. But, for those looking for the really nice looking nature shots that the LotR series promises, they're present and accounted for.

Thematically, Jackson clearly had a vision, and, with almost each scene, makes it very real to the audience. Darkness is coming, and everyone seems to feel it in some way. It's a nice and encapsulating tone that surrounds everyone, yet, problematically, causes there to be no fluid main character or focal point to latch on to. The film becomes jumbled, especially at the end when there are about five things happen at the same time that we switch between constantly. Jackson gives you no room to breath, but also not much to take in. For, despite this depressing focus, most of it is handed to you on a silver platter, not thought required, pre-chewed for your benefit. It's a very flashy film that wants to draw you in with its looks and charm, trying to disguise an overall lack of content.

The character work here was certainly weaker, possibly one of my biggest gripes. Someone mentioned that Bilbo was very different in this film than he was in the previous, and, at first, this didn't strike me as odd; he had gone through a lot of character development the previous film, so it's only expected to see him in a different capacity. However, on closer inspection, it feels like most of the changes that occurred in the last film didn't have much lasting effect up until the last 30 minutes or so. For whatever reason, Martin Freeman employed a lot of slapstick comedy here in some really confusing moments that felt really out of place. Of course, the audience laughed and encouraged it all, but I felt it took away from a lot of the film, especially the theme. There is one great moment for him at the very start of the film... that is, before he's pushed under the rug more or less until he's needed to deal with Smaug. Honestly, there was a good forty five minutes when Bilbo served almost no purpose in the film, treated like just another dwarf. Some of the dwarves, such as Kili and Balin, are fleshed out immensely, taking the clear spotlight in roles, whereas most of the others are completely forgotten beyond a shout-out or two. There's one moment for Bombur that is a slapstick moment that lasts much too long, but, beyond that, he is hardly glanced at for the rest of the piece. And Thorin just felt very odd in some places, shifting from his attitude at the start of the last film to his attitude at the end of the last film from scene to scene, never feeling consistent.

The new characters are something of a mixed bag, holding some really fascinating people and a few who just hold no interest. There are some characters who are truly great here, though; Thranduil, king of the wood elves, makes a lasting impact, developed in a very short frame of time while still capturing your attention deftly. Stephen Fry as Master of Laketown is hilarious, providing some levity that is both well done and enjoyable, not feeling forced, especially for the setting. And let's not forget the fantastic performance of Benedict Cumberbatch as Smaug, by far the best character here. From both design perspectives and clear acting chops, Smaug holds the place of my favorite figure here by far.

Yet, despite all that, there are a lot of figures who just don't hold up; Legolas feels incredibly forced, looking particularly odd (almost animated in some spots) and is pulled into a mindless and ill-conceived love triangle with the bad-ass she-elf Tauriel, who acts as not much else beyond eye candy and mindless fighter, and one of the dwarves, taking up a lot of the scenes that could have been spent not wasting everyone's time. Beorn is thrown in briefly at the start, coming off as rushed and a last minute thought, disappearing as quickly as he arrives (although admittedly, he has some of the best make-up here). Bard feels a bit forced, losing my interest early on in the narrative. There's another white orc, Bolg, the son of Azog, who stands in as a weaker and less interesting version of his father, having some meaningless fights for the sake of having them. Radagast returns, although this time as a brief exposition horse before he just kind of goes away, leaving me disappointed after the great work he did in the previous film. Even Gandalf is pushed off to the side and forgotten for 75% of the movie. And, without a main character, everything becomes unfocused very quickly.

But what helps that more so is for how long everything is drawn out. There was hardly a single scene where I couldn't say "That could have and should have been shorter." This film is rife with unnecessary padding that is both noticeable and obnoxious. Most fights scenes last for 15-20 minutes, there are a lot of shots of everyone traveling (getting from various point a's to point b's makes up at least half the film if not more), and some shots are even reused a few times in the same scene for... dramatic tension, I guess. And when we get to the point where tons of stuff is happening at once and you don't get 45 seconds with one person before switching, it becomes a draining experience. There are roughly three references to the original trilogy, much less than the last. The first will only be noticed by the particularly observant (I appreciated this one a lot), whereas the other two are fed to you from a silver spoon and feel forced more than anything.

This film had much potential, but falls into many traps of the film industry. It tries to be much too long with very little content, even when considering the extra Tolkien based stuff and the half-hearted and dull romance. It stretches what it does have so thin it becomes disinteresting. There's no focal character or point, as the theme tries to encapsulate everyone, giving up focus for general themeing. And most of the characters we do get to know either lack their previous character developments or are fairly weak additions to the cast, minus a few exceptions. I can't honestly say I even liked seeing some of the characters return just because of how different their portrayals were. I really wish this had been better, but it falls flat on all accounts.

I give this film a low 5/10 (less)

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Yeah, I noticed the low-res video shots in the river sequence too. Looked like they were shot with a GoPro, like extreme sports practitioners use to film themselves. A little distracting.

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gave

I really love the Lord of the Rings Movies and so I have been excited to see the Hobbit movies. I liked the first Hobbit movie but I did not like this one. About halfway through the movie, I was thinking "They can totally tie up all the loose ends and end the movie in the next half hour", but it kept going on for another hour - and there is still another whole movie to go. I'm really disappointed in how they've stretched it out to 3 movies as a money grab. They should have finished it off in 2 movies. Dragon Smaug is awesome and I like the dialogue with Bilbo but I wished they had ended it there rather than adding in another half hour of impossible action scenes between the dragon and the dwarves. It goes against the character of the book and is just a chance to show off neat visual effects, but it moves so fast that it is hard to even tell exactly what is going on.

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Breathtaking

It was Epic! Really good especially that Legolas is in it. And OMG Evangeline Lilly was amazing as Tauriel with her Elvish ears and english accent. Yes I love Elves, and Lost :P
I just cannot wait for The Hobbit: There and Back Again

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Cast:

Small Bilbo Baggins
Small Gandalf
Small Beorn
Small Elrond
Small Galadriel
Small Saruman
Small Radagast
Small Gollum
Small Older Bilbo
Small Frodo Baggins
Small The Master of Laketown
Small Smaug / The Necromancer (voice)
Small Gorkin
Small Dwalin
No_movie_poster Oin
Small Azog
No_movie_poster Fili
Small The Necromancer
Small Thorin Oakenshield
Small King Dain
Small Galion
Small Legolas
Small Tauriel
Small Dáin II Ironfoot
Small Bard the Bowman
No_movie_poster Bifur
Small Kili
Small Smaug
Small Balin
Small Bofur
No_movie_poster Dori
Small Thranduil
No_movie_poster Alfrid

Crew:

Small Peter Jackson Director
No_movie_poster Howard Shore Original Music Composer
No_movie_poster Fran Walsh Screenplay
No_movie_poster Philippa Boyens Screenplay
Small J.R.R. Tolkien Novel
Small Guillermo del Toro Screenplay
Small Peter Jackson Production
No_movie_poster Fran Walsh Production
No_movie_poster Carolynne Cunningham Production
Small Peter Jackson Writer
No_movie_poster Jabez Olssen Editing

Plot:

At the Prancing Pony in Bree, Gandalf the Grey persuades Thorin Oakenshield to obtain the Arkenstone to reclaim his birthright and unite the dwarves. He suggests that a stealthy burglar would be needed to steal the jewel from Smaug.


A year later, shortly after the events of the previous film, Thorin and his company are pursued by Azog and his Orcs down the Carrock, where they take shelter at the home of a skin-changer named Beorn. That night, Azog is summoned to Dol Guldur by the Necromancer to lead the orc army being assembled there. He instructs his son Bolg to take over the hunt for Thorin.


The following day, Beorn, though expressing displeasure towards Dwarves, loans his horses to the company so that they can reach Mirkwood, and hinder the orcs. Upon arriving, Gandalf discovers Black Speech graffiti on a statue, coinciding with a telepathic message from Galadriel imploring him to investigate the tomb of the Nazgûl. He advises them to follow the Elven path though Mirkwood and to wait for him before entering the Lonely Mountain.


After losing their way in the forest, the Dwarves are captured by giant spiders. Bilbo, with the help of the One Ring, manages to free them from the webs of the spiders and names his sword Sting. However, while fighting the attacking spiders, the Dwarves are captured by the Wood-elves under Legolas and his captain Tauriel, with the former seizing Orcrist from Thorin and the latter becoming enamoured with Kili.


Meanwhile, Gandalf enters the remote tomb of the Nazgûl to find the spells destroyed and their sarcophagi forced open – from the inside. Radagast arrives shortly thereafter and the pair discuss the implications, namely that the Necromancer cannot be a mere human, since the Nazgûl answer only to one master.


While the others are imprisoned, Thorin is given audience with the Elvenking Thranduil, but he refuses the Elvenking's aid and is imprisoned as well. Luckily, under the cloak of the ring, Bilbo helps the Dwarves to escape by using empty wine barrels that float down the river. Along the way, they are ambushed by Bolg and his Orc party, with Kili being wounded by a Morgul arrow. Legolas and Tauriel are forced to halt their pursuit of the Dwarves in order to fight the Orcs and bring one of the surviving orcs to Thranduil. When the Elvenking learns that "The One" has returned, he decides to seal off his kingdom to protect it from the impending evil. Tauriel leaves to pursue the Orcs, with a concerned Legolas giving chase.


Subsequently, the Company meets a man named Bard and bribe him to smuggle them into Esgaroth, the lake town where the descendants of Dale made their home, and where the Master of the Town rules with an iron fist. The group attempt to steal weapons before being captured and in the process learn that Bard is a descendant of Dale's ruler, Girion, who died attempting to kill Smaug with Black Arrows. After Thorin convinces the townfolk and Master that they will share the riches of the recaptured mountain, the adventurers receive a grand send-off. The injured Kili is ordered to remain behind while Oin, Fili, and Bofur remain to tend him in Bard's house.


Once at the Lonely Mountain, Bilbo deciphers the map's cryptic clue and uses moonlight to find the hidden keyhole that opens the secret door into the mountain. Balin then explains Bilbo's real purpose and send him down to the treasury to locate the Arkenstone. Unfortunately, Bilbo's searchings quickly awaken Smaug, who initially finds the hobbit amusing but swiftly grows irritated and attacks.


In Laketown, Bard hears the rumblings and attempts to affix the last Black Arrow to the town's launcher, but is arrested. Oin, Fili, Bofur, and Bard's daughters are attacked by Bolg's hunting party before Legolas and Tauriel drive them off, with the latter remaining behind to tend to Kili.


At the same time, after sending Radagast to warn Galadriel of their discovery, Gandalf enters the orc-infested Dol Guldur and engages the Necromancer in the fight that ends with his capture. With his worse fears realized – that the Necromancer is indeed Sauron – Gandalf watches in horror as the orc army marches towards the Lonely Mountain.


After convincing Thorin that they must help Bilbo, the Dwarves enter the mountain and find themselves and the Hobbit being hunted by Smaug. Tricking the fire-breathing Smaug into rekindling the forges using his own flames, they attempt to kill the dragon by burying him alive in molten gold. However, Smaug survives and stumbles out of the mountain determined to make the people of Lake-Town suffer for giving aid to the Dwarves. As the dragon roars, a horrified Bilbo asks "What have we done?"

Release Dates:

Theatrical : 2013-12-12 : Germany

Theatrical : 2013-12-13 : United States of America

Theatrical : 2013-12-13 : Canada

Theatrical : 2013-12-13 : Turkey

Theatrical : 2013-12-13 : Hungary

Theatrical : 2013-12-12 : Netherlands

theatrical : 2013-12-13 : India

Theatrical : 2013-12-11 : Belgium

Theatrical : 2013-12-13 : New Zealand

Theatrical : 2013-12-13 : Japan

Theatrical : 2013-12-13 : Denmark

Theatrical : 2013-12-13 : Ireland

Theatrical : 2013-12-11 : France

Theatrical : 2013-12-26 : Australia

Theatrical : 2013-12-13 : Norway

Theatrical : 2013-12-13 : South Africa

Theatrical : 2013-12-13 : Russia

Theatrical : 2014-02-02 : Argentina

Theatrical : 2013-12-13 : United Kingdom

Theatrical : 2013-12-13 : Sweden