Wednesday, 15 January 2014

The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug Review (2013)

First of all, I have a few main issues to address with the Hobbit trilogy as a whole. Whatever features I previously had reservations regarding in An Unexpected Journey, has blossomed into something much worse, while the emphasis on the higher frame rate has been relinquished. Worse, to the degree I would not watch the Desolation of Smaug again, nor entertain seeing the third installment of the trilogy.

It disappointed me greatly to see yet another contrived blockbuster romance between Kili and Tauriel, where it needn’t exist. The almost exact similarities between the Aragorn/Arwen romance in LOTR indicates to me Peter Jackson is attempting to extract a serious trilogy of LOTR proportions, which is far darker than the Hobbit’s original tone.

Evangeline Lily, I've seen somewhere, floating about in a gifset on tumblr, attempting to justify her role as feminist. She states that young women should at least see one woman on screen in 9 hours of entertainment. My response to this is – if you want to represent women ‘correctly’, play a character who is either;

a) Not fitting the stereotype of every bloody female in a blockbuster role serving as soppy romance fodder

b) Actually canon

c) Remember that Galadriel already featured before your character, a non-canon character who was implemented into the plotline purely for commercial success

d) 9 hours is simply not justified by the Hobbit in the first place.

Can I also mention in the heave worthy scene between Tauriel saving Kili (while he was lying on a pillow of... walnuts) that the blade, a Morgul blade, would not have just casually been in the hands of an Orc to carry around. The notion in itself is preposterous, they belong the the Nazgul. And chronologically (in the film) they had all gone missing from their tombs by this time... surely by logic, they would have acquired their weapons anyway? I also love how Tauriel took credit from Bofur and took the Kingsfoil as if she just went and retrieved it herself... you know, maybe Bofur wanted to apply it to his wound.

Dialogue was recycled heavily from both Lord of the Rings, and from the previous Hobbit film, and also I am sure Azog mentioned “We are legion”. Ugh. No one who is interested in the franchise will need memos or extensive exposition on what happened in the last film - put some effort into the script.

Pretty much all the characters focused on deviate away from any actual canon material in the book. Radagast, Tauriel, Azog? Legolas? These people were not even present in the book, certainly not main focuses, even mentioned about except once in total in Azog's and Radagast's case. Inconsistencies with cinematography were shockingly obvious, during the barrel scene there were segments which looked as if they were done on a camcorder.

The Necromancer scene where Gandalf was captured was nothing short of embarrassing (as a fan of Sauron, anyway). In case you didn't comprehend the fact the Necromancer was Sauron, the technique of repeatedly zooming on his silhouette outlined in fire (to comical effect) was implemented, then closely on Gandalf’s mouth as he says ‘SAURON’ with the most emphasis he can muster. I must note, there is not a chance Gandalf could withstand fighting Sauron. So the light orb sequence was also pretty much impossible in being canon. Let alone the fact this wasn't in the book at all.
The exposition was awfully over exaggerated.
As were Thorin and Thranduil’s odd dramatics. It was during the capture of the party in Mirkwood Thorin's character really shines as being awful. It bugs me that the focus of the film is primarily on him. He disregards Bilbo's life and then expects him to save them after he disrespects Thranduil (just as an example). Nice.

On the plus side, I was happy finally to see Smaug, even though it took an entire year longer than expected. Since he fits the tedious stereotypes of ‘excessive monologues are my undoing’ villain, I immediately became very tired of the fact Smaug hadn’t already fried everyone, following Thorin calling him fat. The plotline feels as if it’s just doing the motions. In fact, I can say that for general cinema, I look forward to Maleficent being in the cinemas and seeing a film from the villain’s perspective for a change. Some parts of the film made me laugh, either from how ridiculous certain aspects were, such as Thorin walking away calmly after having his back totally set ablaze by Smaug. but in particular in Mirkwood (generic fight sequences aside) where the dwarves lost their own purses and were losing their minds, I thought was very well acted.

Overall rating: 3/10. Sorry to all of you who are fans. This film is just a testament to how untrue and sacrilegious to the original source material becomes, for the sake of commercial success.

Reviewed by Abigail Lewis.