The Hobbit: Desolation of Samug

Posted: January 23, 2014 by Micah in Movie Reviews
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Well hey Internet, and welcome to Thursday! This Thursday on Thoughts We Might Have Had, we’ll be talking about diets, choices, and how to make this year your year. Ha ha, no. That would be helpful and relevant and stuff. We don’t do that here. What we do do here is review movies in comically uninformative ways! And in keeping with that highest of traditions here’s my review of:

The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug

Desolate, isn't it?

Desolate, isn’t it?

After last years somewhat underwhelming first entry in the series, Peter Jackson blesses us all with the second iteration of the absolutely based on ONE book trilogy: The Hobbit.

The Plot:

Picking up directly after the events of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey when our heroes were tragically abandoned on top of a cliff by some eagles, Desolation of Smaug sends our heroes deep into the forest of Mirkwood, through a hidden elven kingdom and all the way up to the Lonely Mountain.

Meanwhile, Gandalf must investigate the strange goings on in the ancient fortress of Dol Guldor and Legolas has to kill a lot of orcs for various reasons that don’t make a ton of sense, but are kind of awesome. Legolas is like the tooth-fairy of this movie. You’re not exactly how he gets to all the places he gets to but your certainly glad to see him. You’re glad he leaves that dime under that pillow or that arrow in that orc, you just aren’t ever really sure why he’s doing it.

"Wait did he just say he liked me killing things AND that I reminded him of the Tooth Fairy? Childhood issues much?"

“Wait did he just say he liked me killing things AND that I reminded him of the Tooth Fairy? Childhood issues much?”

Obviously the plot doesn’t really wrap itself up given the whole “third movie” thing but the dwarves/hobbits journey takes them through a cast of interesting characters, locations, and battles  as they continue towards the treasures of their four fathers. Or forefathers. Their one fathers forefathers four fathers. I think.

The Positives:

Let’s get one thing out of the way now: this is a better movie then the first one. The pacing is better, the dialogue is better, and the action is better. It is (and follow me closely here) better.

Martin Freeman continues to rock out Bilbo Baggins. He’s absolutely perfect for his role and while there are some other great performances (Gandalf, Smaug, and some surprisingly good work by Luke Evans, Orlando Bloom, and Evangeline Lily) but Freeman carries this film and all of the best highlights are lit by him.

Easily the highlight of the movie for me was the scene between Bilbo and Smaug in the mountain, the flow is perfect and the conversation between the two of them is great (and (might I add) practically straight from the book.)

The combat in the movie is also pretty happening (with a few exceptions that I’ll get to later) but commendation needs to be given to Legolas who, while technically not in the book, kicks all sorts of orc-butt.

The Negatrons:  

I really only have two big complaints with this movie.

Complaint 1: Obvious CGI. We all know they don’t actually have Orlando Bloom jumping over houses and shooting arrows through heads, but occasionally the CGI here showed some MAJOR holes. I’m thinking in particularly of the barrel scenes in the river where the dwarves were so obviously CGI’d it physically hurt my face, my wife’s face, and my cat’s face (and my cat wasn’t even in the theater… that they know of.)

Complaint 2: The movie flows pretty well on the whole. The action is actiony, the talking is interesting (mostly), and the places are cool. On the whole it’s a well-made movie. EXCEPT for one glaring, horrible, terrible thing. The glowing peace of radioactive icing on a delicious cake; the huge, razor sharp spike of death taped to the back of an adorable puppy: the twenty minute chase scene in the mountain. At the beginning of the twenty minute chase scene the dwarves are inside of the mountain and Smaug is angry. At the end of the twenty minute chase scene the dwarves are inside of the mountain… and Smaug is angry. Believe me when I tell you that there is ZERO point to the twenty minute chase scene. The dwarves are running around trying to accomplish something which then does NOT work. Smaug flies around ruining any sense of awe that we might have had of him as the dwarves make him look both helpless and not overly bright.  It’s the first thing that should have hit the cutting room floor and would have made the movie shorter, the villain better, and the heroes less of a failure.

Okay now that we've filmed the awesome Bilbo/Smaug scene what say we have him wander pointlessly around the mountain for twenty minutes or so. That makes sense right?

Okay now that we’ve filmed the awesome Bilbo/Smaug scene what say we have him wander pointlessly around the mountain for twenty minutes or so. That makes sense right?

There are some other little things I could gripe on: we couldn’t really decide whether or not we wanted Beorn to be in this movie so we sort of snuck him in as best we could and then forgot why. The King of Mirkwood just sort of floats around saying words, without really ever seeming to mean anything. But those are all fairly minor gripes to what was (on the whole) a pretty good movie.

In Conclusion: I really struggled with what to rate this one. I’m giving it what I gave it because it was a good movie it just struggled so much at the end that it left you with a bad taste in your mouth. I recommend it though, it was fun and cool and people shot arrows at other people and I was happy.

I give it a 4 out of 5.

Thanks for readin guys! And swing on back by on Monday as I review Disney’s latest entry : Frozen.

  1. Reni says:

    Just wondering, what are your thoughts on (1) the confrontation scene in Dol Goldur (2) the complete and utter annihilation of Gandalf’s original-and-need-I-say-awesome introduction of the dwarves to Beorn (3) the weird Kili-Tauriel thing going on there?

  2. Micah says:

    Great questions, here are some answers in no particular order… except for the exact same order you asked them in.

    1) I had no great problems with the “confrontation scene” I thought it was kind of weird that all the sudden Gandalf could cast the “ultimate shield of whiteness brought to you by Dove soap” but whatever. I thought the whole “eye of sauron to sauron” transition was cool.

    2) Yeah the whole Beorn thing just dissapointed me. I feel like that scene will be about a million times better on the extended edition but it felt like someone walked into Peter Jackson’s office and MADE him put Beorn into this movie against his will. Jackson’s response was “Fine, but I’ll make it for about five seconds and include an unnecessary story about his species being wiped out by Azog just cause I feel like EVERY CHARACTER must have an intimate connection with that particular goblin.”

    3) I think the Tauriel-Kili thing is okay. It’s all leading up to a big “thing” that I won’t spoil for those of you who haven’t read the book but with all these dwarves running around Jackson has to find some way for the audience to connect with individual dwarves and this seems to be working for him. It’s odd and it makes the whole Gimli-Galadriel connection seem less special but I’m not hugely against it I suppose.

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