In honor of my younger brother watching Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit for the first time, I am writing this. He has officially expanded his life experience. He is one step closer to becoming a man. Let's hope I don't cry man tears writing this.
So, I saw this movie at a double feature premier in IMAX 3D and another time in IMAX 3D. . .
Not bragging or anything (Ok, I'm bragging a bit. . .), I just think it is safe to say that I like this movie. This raises the question, "why?". That is the real question isn't it. Well for one it set in J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth. That alone, had my ticket. I had read the book before, as any sane person "should". I'm not that into books and I can unreservedly suggest reading The Hobbit to anyone. Are the films the same as the book? They are not completely, and neither should they be. It is one thing to be faithful to a story. It is another thing, to compromise a film based off of having every detail in a book and not expanding for scenes that are needed in a visual medium. Really, as long as any film is great do they really need to have all the back story, or even the same plot lines that are in the book?
With the obvious out of the way, let's delve deeper into what does or what doesn't make The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug special. As far as pros go, I can say that this picture has some of the best pacing that came out of 2013. At approximately three hours, this film flies by without warning. That is a sign of great film making. When a director and editors can get every scene to be so interesting, bleeding into each other to make one cohesive enthralling story, it is safe to say something was done right.
Then of course there are the visuals. They are one of the reasons to watch the film by themselves. New Zealand becomes more and more enticing to visit with every film. The sweeping shots are gorgeous and are coupled beautifully with Howard Shore's perfection that is called music. Furthermore, the visual effects are insanely good. Smaug could possibly be the single greatest CGI creature ever put to the big screen with the jaw-dropping realism, and awe inspiring voice work and movement by Benedict Cumberbatch. That could be all, but The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug dares to have some of the best action and possibly the greatest chase scene I've ever seen.
These things could be near pointless though if the acting falls short. I'm glad to say the acting is great. It is not the best, but in terms of an ensemble film, there are not many that are as good. Martin Freeman is about as good of a Bilbo as there could be, Ian McKellen is about as good of a Gandalf as there could be and there is a long list of actors I could give nods to that are great as well. There is one character though, that above all I adore. Tauriel played by the ever lovely Evangeline Lilly in my mind is the most beautiful badass I have ever seen. Don't worry Katniss. I'm still in love with you more.
Now I must be a buttface and delve into the cons. This film gets painfully convenient at the end which of course is when it should be at its best. While I understand that a certain level of convenience is needed for an action packed film, too much of it can taste as if there is too much frosting on a cake. For some people they won't care, but for me I see the strong point of these film as being grounded in a level of reality. If you get too hurt, you die. Even the elves which I will let slide on convenience because they are supernaturally awesome can die. Dwarves are dwarves. I don't need to say much further on that. They are just about as vulnerable as anyone else. This film is based on the book, and SPOILER (though it shouldn't be spoiler since the book has been out forever) , they are not dead by the end of the second act. I understand that, though it just seems as if they could have handled the end sequence with more class and realism.
Overall though, this a minor qualm of mine with the film. When it is all said and done, The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug is a high class, entertaining film that “should” be seen by anyone that enjoys movies and anyone else that has either eyes or ears for that matter.
My personal Preference: 4.75/5
How well it was made: 4.5/5
(You can find set film soon at your local Redbox)