Monday, December 16, 2013

The Undefined Gamer: "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" Review

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was too long. Is the same true for
Desolation of Smaug?

      Following up 2011's hit, Peter Jackson again has us visit Middle
Earth. And what does he give us for the first hour? Could it be that
Jackson remembered what Deleted Scenes are? Could Jackson actually use
all of his allotted time effectively?
      We get filler for the first 1/3 of the movie.
      Really, the first third can be summed up with:
      On the Road Again!
      Oooh! Lord of the Rings Prequel stuff!
      Oh no, its God of War!
      Bye Bye God of War!
      More traveling!
      New Zealand!!!

Ducktales got really hype.
      Traveling seems to be the majority of this trilogy. Dwarves running
from stuff gets boring fast, mainly because that's the only thing that
happens during the traveling portion of the quest. They run. A big bad
comes. They kill it. More enemies come. They kill some, then run away.
Oh no they're captured again! Scene from Return of the King!
      In the original movie trilogy, these scenes had a purpose and where
used very well. They also did not encompass nearly as much time as
they do in the Hobbit. They're merely there to make the movie longer.
They follow a set formula and are very predictable.
      And for the first 1/3 of the movie, that seems what Jackson is trying
to do: fill up space in the movie. This is prevalent in the scenes
where Bilbo frees the dwarves from the spiders and elves. Both scenes
Jackson has Bilbo free EVERY SINGLE DWARF when he really could've
shown Bilbo freeing 1 or 2 and still communicate that all of the party
is free.
      The second third is better. It is here that we finally see some fresh action.
      Legolas and Tauriel join the party. It explains itself.
      The second third is fine. Honestly, I don't have much to say about it.
It works just as much as the Rohan arc worked in Two Towers. Its not
bad, but not fantastic. I'd only say that Bard must be more likeable.
He is falling into Chris Hemsworth Snow White and the Huntsman
territory. Considering this is the man who's going to SPOILER REDACTED, and

is going to be involved in a huge battle come Hobbit 3, we need to
care for him.

      And it is this reason why the third third is most effective. Our
heroes battle Smaug. Jackson has used a movie and 2/3 building up
these character's personalities. They are all very likable. Jackson's
only fault is that he has not presented them with a proper challenge
      Benedict Cumberbatch makes that challenge.
      I have to admit, Cumberbatch as Smaug actually makes this movie. As
much as I disliked him as Khan, Cumberbatch proves that he is fully
capable of playing menacing characters. He makes the role his own. For
once, we actually have doubts whether or not our heroes will succeed
(or which ones). Remember, only Bilbo is guaranteed to survive. The
rest are expendable.
      And that is one of the things that made LoTR so effective: you didn't
know whether our heroes will succeed, unless you read the books.
      Because of this, our heroes fall lower than they ever have.
      Jackson then shows us Thorin's brilliance.
      The last 3rd of the movie is simply good action. Jackson uses
everything he's given to communicate just how Thorin was able to
survive all those years, when many had died. He's a brilliant
commander, and his knowledge of the mountain combined with his
knowledge of his team allows him to come up with and execute plans
that very nearly killed Smaug.
        Similar to how Aang almost completed his quest in Avatar: The Last
Airbender, Jackson have our heroes almost win, only to end the movie
with Smaug very well alive, and the world's only hope essentially a
crapshoot with Bard's arrow.
      God of War's orc armies is his Sozen's Comet.
      Everything in the movie is there for a reason (unlike in the first
movie). Once he introduces a character, they are sure to play a vital
role later on. Everything starts to fall into place in Desolation. It
might take a while to get started, but once it does, Desolation of
Smaug soars. Though I'd chop 30-40 minutes off myself, Jackson easily
redeems himself from Unexpected Journey's dullness, providing good
action and good plot (as far as these kind of movies go).

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug gets 5 stars out of 6.

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