The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug - what did you think?

News Den Of Geek 13 Dec 2013 - 07:02

Leave your thoughts on Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug right here...

SPOILERS LIE AHEAD!

Arriving in cinemas across the world today is Peter Jackson's new film, The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug. The general critical reaction so far has been far more positive than last time, including with our own review, and you can read that here

But here, it's over to you. This is a post where spoilery discussion of the film is very much welcomed. We can't iterate this strongly enough: do not read this unless you've seen the movie!

Feel free, then, to leave your thoughts and discussions in the comments below...

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I loved it! :)
I've seen alot of complaints about "tedious action as filler", and I can't for the life of me understand how anyone could find this tedious.
The Barrelscene was excellent, we get to see Legolas back in action and Bombur spinning around in the barrel taking out orcs like a tasmanian devil/iron man crossbreed. Hilarious!
I think all the scenes with Bard and Laketown were great, it added depth to the inner relations of the town.
(Book spoiler!)
I liked the little lovestory (mutual attraction/curiosity?) between Tauriel and Kili, however unlikely it is that an elf would fancy a dwarf. Having Tauriel abandon Legolas to save Kili from the brink of death is going to make the ending all the more heartbreaking. Besides, Evangeline Lily is STUNNING as tauriel, yesthankyoumoreplease!
And finalliy, they knocked it out of the park with Smaug, he was indded magnificent! Everything from his looks, to his lines and his voice. Every scene with him in it felt utterly and truly magical, which I believe is the point :). I don't mind the dwarves getting in on the action when it looks as good as this!
If I have any complaints it is mostly about Beorn. Though I understand that the whole appearing at Beorns door in pairs wouldn't work for the movie, they could have made more out of the scene in his house, it is such a lovely part of the book. And really, those are the eyebrows they went with?
I also think the spider scene could have been more developed, it's so funny in the book how Bilbo runs around wearing the ring and taunting the spiders.
I think in general Bilbo's deeds and importance is somewhat downplayed in the films, with shortened scenes in the forest and Elven caverns. That is my only real concern about the film.
But overall I loved it, and I can't believe I have to wait for a yaer for what is going to be a truly epic conclusion :)

Good but very flawed in it's storytelling. Unecessary padding and conflict proliferate the film. It should have been two movies instead of three.

Makes it very clear there was no need for three films - stuffed full of padding and terrible scenes that Jackson shoehorned in for no reason. Beorn barely gets any screentime at all, but we get a ton of Tauriel and Legolas. The barrel scene - which in the book is a demonstration of Bilbo's cunning and a stealthy escape - was a ridiculous videogame, cartoony action scene. How are we meant to feel real peril when they're bouncing around like indestructible bouncy balls? Jackson always does this: in King Kong he turned Kong fighting a dinosaur into Kong fighting two dinosaurs, while suspended in the air by vines. Ridiculous. Smaug was pretty amazing, but I hate that they made him an overgrown bat, and no boasting about his jewelled coat or other interesting character quirks.

LOTR felt like a labour of love, bringing something insanely difficult to adapt to a wider audience. This feels like a soulless cashgrab of a book that is very very simple to turn into a compelling 2.5 hour film, or at most two.

what a shitty trilogy this is. This is soooo far from lord of the rings. 2/6.

Right now I just want to grab that beautiful genius Peter Jackson in a headlock and scream at him: "How can you just end so abruptly like that?! You can't do that to me! How can you leave me hanging on for a whole year?!"

I saw it at a pre-screening earlier this week and was absolutely blown away. As we saw the first of Smaug the theatre went dead-silent, I seriously doubt anyone was breathing.

Some of the comments I'm hearing about how Jackson ruined the book, and he didn't care for the Hobbit as much as he did LoTR in terms of storytelling completely befuddle me. Maybe it's because we're so far removed from LoTR was first released that people are forgetting he used quite a LOT of creative license with it as well - but that that didn't mean his changes weren't good/entertaining ones.

My only real issue with DoS was the jumping back-and-forth between the Bilbo/Smaug and Gandalf/Necromancer storylines. I understood why he did it, but I just felt sometimes it was too abrupt.

Either way, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie and can't wait to see the finale. Is it still being released in June?

Just got back from seeing in at the IMAX in Manchester.

Thought it was a brilliant film. Smaug looked and was awesome on the big screen.
The dwarves all seemed to get a bit more to do this time, unlike the first film.

My only niggles were that there was clearly some padding out going on here (yes, I know there was padding out in the first film and likely to be more in the 3rd). The stuff in Bree, while fun, didn't really add anything to the story other than it being possibly the first steps and the reuse of the poisoning bit from Fellowship seemed more like just having something extra for their new elf-babe to do.

The barrel escape was excellent fun, and as for the spiders? Well, if Shelob made your skin creep, you're going to need to pay for an extra seat as your skin will not only creep but likely peel off you completely.

Some changes from the book (aren't there always? :P ) Bard's black arrow is now a metal spear to be fired from a balista, which is something I like as the whole dragon killed by a single arrow, for me, kind of made Smaug look a bit crap. One bit of wood ends the life of this huge, firebreathing monster? Big ass metal spear fired with force from a ballista? Now THAT's more like it.

Shame Beorn doesn't get much in the way of screen time, I mean, if you're going to add action sequences, why not use the guy that can turn into a huge bear?

And ending it there? Just before the good bit? GAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!

Watched it last night...Awful (and I -loved- lotr, even thought first hobbit was ok) Thought the actions scenes were cringeworthy, they dont seem to belong in the same universe as The Fellowship of the Ring, just goofy and childish. Smaug was great but wore out his welcome after a while, and the end is just facepalm worthy. Three 90 minute movies would surely have sufficed, if the studio was so desperate for a trilogy. This is just a bloated mess.

I don't know how ANYONE with any taste thinks the kind of action in this new trilogy is a good thing, and it depresses me a bit to think that this is the way blockbuster films are going. How ironic that the Star Wars prequels - mocked and derided on release - would basically set the ugly, over-choreographed, greenscreen-tastic template for pretty much all genre movies in the years since.

You're absolutely right in that it just looks like a videogame - and so *absurdly* over the top and cartoonish that it loses all impact and tension. The best action sequences in LotR felt like a fantasy take on Saving Private Ryan, real characters in genuine peril - unfortunately the ones in The Hobbit feel like the groanworthy 'Legolas surfs down the back of a Mumakil' moment from RotK. On a loop. For twenty minutes.

Relatively simple set-pieces and stunts can still wow audiences if done skilfully - I feel like Jackson needs a lesson in 'Less is More'.

Saw it at IMAX Uxbridge, for me it was FAAAAAANTASTIC !
I go to the cinema for the entertainment factor and thus am not concerned about absolute adherence to books.
Unlike others I loved the barrel escape scene and thought Smaug was great. I would have loved to have seen more of Azog and his White Warg - a great terrifying pair.
However, the only downer for me was seeing Stephen Fry in the movie, his comic roots kept me thinking of General Melchett
As for the ending, c'mon ! Don't keep me waiting this way :(

While I did like it, I do have a few reservations...

1) Length...at 2 hours 40, this is a good half hour too long for the story it tells and over the course of a trilogy this is now starting to be a real worry, at this rate There and Back again will be 4 hours

2) Pacing...I was mildly irritated that we had ages focussing on pretty much just Thorin's Company on their route to the mountain, then, once they encounter Smaug, the action starts to cut to Lake Town and Dol Guldur with greater frequency, lessening what should be an almost unbearable tension.

3) CGI...was a tad ropey in places, although Smaug was executed superbly

4) Tauriel & Legolas...their presence was neither wanted nor needed, and felt far too out of place, Bloom has aged badly and really looks too old, and Tauriel's implied romantic feelings for Kili were wrong, as was the insertion of knob gags

5) The Barrel Scene...what should have been an action setpiece of greatness was turned into out of place slapstick, mere moments after Martin Freeman did a great silent comedy routine. Bombur bouncing in a barrel and Legolas surfing on dwarves just isn't Tolkein.

This may sound like I hated the film but in a near three hour film to have relatively few gripes is good, the acting is superb, the next film is set up perfectly...Bring on December 2014

Incredible. The HFR 3D was the most impressive visual experience I've had at the cinema. The barrel sequence was like nothing I'd seen before. This movie deserves Oscars for the fx and cinematography for certain. Sure, It was very long and perhaps some scenes could have done with a trim, but you cannot fault Peter Jackson's ambition. Much like James Cameron did with Avatar, Jackson wanted to give the audience totally unique. The final half hour was edge of seat stuff. 10/10.

Nope, 'There and Back Again' will be released on December 17th, 2014... and I'm already counting the days; Smaug's attack on Lake Town, the White Council assault on Dol Guldur, Thorin's full-bloom madness, and the Battle of Five Armies... it's gonna be IMMENSE!!!

And just for the record, saw 'The Desolation of Smaug' tonight and absolutely LOVED every damn minute of it! I had very mixed feelings on both 'An Unexpected Journey' - enjoyed it overall whilst thinking it a little flabby - and the decision to make three films not two - which I believe now was indeed the correct one - but stone me sideways if it wasn't a hoot-and-a-half and the most enjoyable 161 minutes I've had in the cinema since... well, since 'The Lord of the Rings' trilogy! Awesome action, gobsmaking visual effects, genuinely touching elf/dwarf relationship, and Bombur... #TeamBombur!

Thank you Peter Jackson, you can take a day off now, you've earned it... but get back to work on 'There and Back Again' soon, and make it one for the ages!

I thought it was a triumph. It lagged a tad two hours in but Jackson has embellished the original story admirably. Its evident now how you're able to make three films from a single book. Aiden Turner and Evangeline Lilly are the star turns in this chapter. I cannot agree that the action scenes poor, I though they were a rollercoaster, and like the criminally underrated King Kong, you're seeing action that hasn't been done before. How can you not say the barrel scenes weren't stunning?

I loved this film! I thought it was a lot better than the first though I can understand if you think it is stuck in mid-film limbo. I thought that Legolas being in the film did slightly ruin it as he isn't actually in the Hobbit book and I didn't really see the point of his character apart from to set up a love triangle between him, Tauriel and Kili. I thought Richard Armitage (Thorin) stole the whole performance. I unfortunately found Benedict Cumberbatch's Smaug a bit disappointing as I had expected him to steal the scenes he was in but Martin Freeman out shone him which I didn't expect as I thought a dragon would have more power in the scenes than a Hobbit! Despite all this, I can't wait for the next film!

Thought it was a great film,a lot of the film was in darkness,i was waiting and waiting for Smaug to breath fire just to brighten up the screen,lol

PJs cameo in Bree right at the beginning was a bit obvious and in your face though(and how old is that character?)
The Dol Guldor storyline was a bit of a mess TBH,just switching back to it for 5 minutes each time and nothing really getting done,should of had the White Council Battle in this one and got this storyline done

I guess i have to wait for the extended version to see more of Beorn who was a waste in this film TBH,must of featured for all of 5 minutes

anyway,the film flew by i swear it was only 90 minutes long,but no 2hr 40 minutes(although i didn't stick around for the credits)

I think i will say i still love the first film better(just bought the Extended BR),but enjoyed this one and looking forward to the next one

PS-Stephen Fry was quite awesome :)

I thoroughly enjoyed it...all but the CG gold which was laughably bad. Should have gone practical with that one.

A very enjoyable way to spend nigh on 3 hours in the dark with fellow members of the public. I really was on the verge of falling asleep in part 1 but thankfully this kept me enthralled almost the whole way through. Only the Sauron 'build up' stuff came off as a bit against the grain, and pointless given how well the tension was built up in the first hour of Fellowship of the Rings.
I loved the use of Smaug, part of me was rooting for him such was his wit and vigorous malice. Martin Freeman got to win us over much more than in 'Unexpected Journey' with the spiders set piece, prison scenes, barrel nonsense (of the best kind!), and of course the scurrying around in the dragon's den.
And on top of all this we get the wonderful Stephen Fry, playing a terrific grotesque.
Even the love story that was filled in at a late stage was pleasant enough, if a little bit insubstantial.

Thank goodness we only have to wait until May. :) otherwise I'd have been pissed at the ending. :)

No so, I'm afraid. May is too full of X-Men so they rescheduled it for a Christmas release... :(

Hating the addition of a love story - yes add a female character, sure, but why does she have to be turned into a love interest when she's the only damn woman there apart from a snippet of Galadriel!?

Ahhh CRAP. I am more pissed at the ending now :(

It... just ended like a TV episode.... even the Empire Strikes Back had an 'ending' this was the start of something not the end of something.... Gah... frustrating.... that said THDOS was great. I enjoyed it from start to finish, nothing gave me the 'so fake' feeling I got from the rabbit chase in the first movie... and while yes, too much padding sometimes... it was all pretty much fun. Smaug was pretty awe-inspiring.

The Hobbit is much more light-hearted and childish than LOTR....it's meant to be more humourous.
I, for one, thought the film was brilliant....excellent fun!

Saw this yesterday and while alot better than Unexpected Journey, it's still nowhere near as good as any of the original trilogy. Like many have said before it's bloated because the book isn't substantial enough to warrant 3 films, let alone the inevitable 3 extended directors cuts.

Also feel this trilogy is aimed far more at children with alot more attempts at humour and combat that is at times silly and never actually feeling like the characters are in any danger. I'll watch the last film just to see how it ends.

Smaug did look awesome though!

It had Legolas surfing on something, do you know how long I've waited to see Legolas surf on something in a movie...that's right, too damn long.

Nooooo! I could have sworn he initially said that we would only have to wait six months until the third... Dagnabit! That's unfair.

Practical? You seriously suggesting that they should have used several million litres of molten gold in that part of the movie? :D

I think shows the strength of Martin Freeman rather than a weakness in Benedict Cumberbatch. They were both great!

4 hours of Middle Earth, Dragons, Gandalf, Bilbo and Dwarves? Good value for money right there! I'm sold! I like the fact that is a long film. Provides lots of good content for the same price as a much shorter film. You can never have too much of a good thing and I was hooked throughout!

Saw this last night and, while I did find it an improvement from the first part, it still had far too many of the negatives that made that film merely OK for me. I know it's flogging a dead horse, but there really is no reason why they had to turn this into three films of nearly three hours. Far from adding interesting back story, we instead have a shoe-horned romance/love triangle that came from nowhere ("oh you're cute and a bit talller than normal, now I'm in love with you and will follow you to the ends of the (Middle) Earth"), an increasingly tedious "rise of Sauron" story, which didn't actually tell us anything but simply played on what we liked the first time round (the eye etc), and ridiculous extended platform game style antics in place of actual action scenes. Was anyone really thrilled by either the barrel chase or the furnace/gold sequence (the latter of which went absolutely nowhere)? There is no real sense of peril here, the CGI looks too slick and the events are too pointless for me to care about. Compare any of this with something like Helm's Deep and you'll see what I mean. Add to which, we have characters making illogical decisions ("I've hidden this arrow here for years but now, just before we need it, I'm going to take it out of its safe hiding place and give it to my son to just hide in some random boat; actually, with a dragon on our doorstep, shouldn't we have made a few more of these in the past few years?") and I am frankly getting bored with the idea that no-one in Middle Earth can be bothered to make a staircase, bridge or walkway that is wide enough for anyone to walk along with ease without risking falling into a bottomless pit - this was interesting in the Mines of Moria, and made sense in a seige outpost like Helm's Deep, but why does every setting have to be so precarious and dangerous? It's a wonder anyone got home after a night out, having to walk across a one meter wide bridge everywhere.
Finally, just to note some technical aspects, I watched the HFR 3D screening. While it does reduce the loss of colour and brightness usually experienced with 3D, it meant that the whole thing looked like a (very high budget) TV show, missing the warm quality that film can bring. Also, the HFR did seem to jar at times, particularly at the start, which had me wondering if the characters were intentionally going about that bit too quickly or if the Benny Hill soundtrack was missing.
On the whole then, better than last time and I'll watch the final part, but this will not be a re-watch for me. Like the other famous prequel trilogy, though it may be made by the same people and in many ways follow beats and links into the original trilogy that I loved, it just falls short, feels like an unecessary addition to a story I already understood and doesn't have the heart of the original.

Just back from DOS at the BFI Imax in London. Does anyone know if the Imax 3D presentation there is in 48fps?? No one at the cinema seemed to know!

I'm really in two minds about this film. This was such an improvement upon the first film but it suddenly struck me about a third of the way through how much of a horribly fake fair-ground ride the film is every time it reaches an action scene. Every single action scene is made up of ridiculously over-choreographed fighting which never, ever looks or feels natural and totally takes you out of the experience. I can't think of a scene with the elves in (especially Legolas) where they didn't kill someone with a ridiculously cheesy trick-shot which was clearly CGI. Some of the action in LOTR was clearly choreographed but even then it always looked natural. This has all come about as a result of it being a lighter film than LOTR but in the end it feels tonally wrong. There's lots of decapitation, dismemberment, arrows through skulls... you name it, but because of the ludicrous ways in which these quite horrible things occur you just end up laughing. You can still pull off realistic action scenes which aren't gritty, Jackson managed it in all of his LOTR films so I've no idea why he felt the insistence to change it here. Even the action scenes which don't involve fighting, such as the chase sequence with Smaug in the last 20 minutes or so, also felt ridiculous because they too were clearly choreographed and end up appearing more cartoon-like than anything since every character seems to have these amazing strokes of luck which involve them pulling off some really cool-looking but totally unrealistic moves. PJ is just removing all of the tension from these films as it becomes increasingly obvious that in these scenes the characters are just CGI and are going to overcome their problem with some over-the-top flair. Yes, they're fun to watch but there's no involvement, and therefore no investment.

Also, not related but as I seem to be the only person to mention it, does anyone else agree that the scene in which Sauron finally appeared was just awful? This should've been a really significant scene but I just sat there cringing at the horrible CGI and terrible directing.

I worded it a bit wrong, sorry. I agree with you, Benedict Cumberbatch was very good in it. I meant I was a bit disappointed in the dragon itself, not the acting.

I completely agree - as a visual effects showreel it's kind of impressive if you like that sort of thing, but as a piece of storytelling in a wider narrative it's ludicrously excessive and in my opinion actually damaging to the film.

Because the characters routinely pull off superhuman feats, there are no stakes. It's just so far removed from reality that - even for a fantasy film - it just goes too far and never feels remotely tangible. We never really believe anyone is in danger. Smaug should be terrifying and imposing, but instead is rendered an ineffectual laughing stock because of the way Bilbo and the dwarves - who we've been told are mostly not even trained soldiers - run rings around him. That they have to keep contriving ways to ensure that Smaug doesn't simply incinerate them all instantly makes that whole scene laughably bad. And does anyone seriously think Legolas walking on the dwarves' heads, firing off arrows while bobbing about in the water was in any way good or entertaining? Because I thought it was a ridiculous, groan-worthy farce. It's the kind of stuff a teenage boy would think was 'cool'.

It's all just too much. Far, far too much - for instance, can anyone explain why a shot of a character falling out of a tree HAS to be done in cgi, in a completely fake-looking, over the top fall, bouncing off multiple branches in a way that would cause serious bone breakages and spinal damage?

Cgi - especially 'digital doubles' ALWAYS look like rubbery cack, and should only ever be used as a last resort. Likewise shots of sunsets or distant mountains - why do they look so damn phoney in this movie? Can't you just point a camera at a mountain or sunset? Or film a stuntman falling out of a tree? Or is that too much work - let's just do it in post?

Likewise Smaug's firebreathing - obviously a lot of this has to be done digitally, but imo these scenes would have been so much more tense and thrilling if they'd used real fire for the close-ups. The liquid metal looked universally terrible and rushed.

I just think that whole scene was ludicrous - 'we're getting attacked by a rampaging dragon - we better quickly somehow improvise an elaborate, far-fetched plan involving smelting and bellows to defeat him!". The ropey cgi was the least of its problems.

It's much the same as the first one, really. Sporadically enjoyable and at times beautiful to behold and hugely technically impressive, but massively bloated and overlong, hamstrung by weak pacing and ridiculous, unconvincing, wildly over the top green screen antics and outstays its welcome by a good 60 minutes. A simple children's classic ran roughshod over by a massively over-indulgent director with no one telling him no. Huge swathes of pointless filler and damaging fan-service, and a title character unforgivably relegated to what amounts to an extended cameo. How anyone could think it deserves 4 or even 5 stars is totally beyond me. I'd say 2, 2 and a half at most.

When the inevitable fan edit of a single 2 hour Hobbit movie emerges in a couple of years time, I expect it'll utilise about 15-20 minutes of footage of this 160 minute film.

For the record, I liked the Laketown location and the creature design of Smaug - things that actually felt fresh and not a retread/callback to LotR - and I also liked Stephen Fry as the Master.

While the Hobbit movies so far aren't quite as bad as the Star Wars prequels, I do think they are The Matrix Reloaded/Revolutions to the Lord of the Ring's The Matrix.

It was hard to put my finger on, but I think I've got it - the action scenes in these movies are basically the Yoda lightsaber fight in Attack of the Clones - the perfect example of "Wouldn't it be awesome if....?" giving the fans what they think they want.

Just because you CAN do something etc etc.

Balancing on a Dragon's Mouth is the new Swinging With CGI Monkeys.

So much of this film just felt silly and unengaging. Compare all the OTT acrobatics here with the Amon Hen fight and Boromir's last stand. And this trilogy is so far lacking small, powerful character moments such as Frodo's hand grabbing Sam in the water, or Gollum's line, 'My name'.

And how many times was someone saved at just the right moment by a convenient arrow? Followed by a grating blast of Heroic Music. Indeed, I found Howard Shore's score to be the least memorable of all the Middle Earth themes, which is a real shame as I love his music. The Dwarf theme from the first film seems to have disappeared, unless I just missed it?

I just hope the next film has some reality and jeopardy and emotion to make me care about what's happening.

Very, very true. Had forgotten about the music, but the constant switching between blasts of 'tense' and ' heroic' music was really OTT at certain points, to the point where it was funny.

Sadly, I think if anything the next film is going to be EVEN MORE ludicrous and OTT than the previous two, but now with loads of unearned, drawn out, overly sentimental/heroic deaths of characters no one cares about and a battle that they will foolishly try to scale up to top the one in Return of the King. And as now Bilbo seems to be a merciless badass killing machine I expect he'll be machine-gunning hordes of trolls and orcs in the style of Scwarzenegger's Commando - probably while doing a handstand on the back of a giant f*****g turtle or something.

Thing is though, it's not.

DoS is an incredibly dark, gloomy and violent film (I lost count of decapitations), and as full of foreboding as LotR.

The problem with the Hobbit movies is that they lack a consistent tone, and I actually think they aren't kid friendly ENOUGH, Jackson is so keen to keep consistency with the earlier trilogy that the more overtly 'children's book' parts - talking spiders, washing up song - stick out like a sore thumb and are included almost apologetically.

The Hobbit should have been a single two-hour kids film - the simplicity and purity of the tale has been lost in embellishing it, and so too has Bilbo who has been reduced to a supporting character, and that's a crying shame.

I think if there's one thing these movies prove, it's that you definitively CAN have too much of a good thing.

"I like the fact that is a long film. Provides lots of good content for the same price as a much shorter film"

So a film is 'better' if it's longer? I'm sorry, but that's a nonsense statement, and indicates to me that you're unable to view the film objectively. A film should be as long as it takes to tell the story at hand, and I'd much rather have a tighter film that stands up to rewatching, not a bloated one that I'll never sit through again.

I understand the complaints from the purists, I was that way with the original LOTR series but quite frankly I'm happy to have as much Middle Earth as Jackson cares to make. I took three kids between 5 to 13 years old to see this on the opening day at the BFI Imax and given that it's history is a children's book this trilogy is hitting the spot perfectly.

From the moment this went from one film to three it took a very different path from LOTR. That decisions is made, please, stop whining, and just enjoy the time

To the guy asking, the BFI was 24fps. I'm off to see the 48fps version on Sunday, I think it will really help with this one.

Hear, hear. I had a similar complaint about LOTR. Why on earth did they expand Arwen's role (who in the original books is little more than a vague romantic motivator) but then take away the true power of the one kick-ass female character (Eowen)? In the books, when Eowen is standing over the fallen body of Theoden and facing down the Witch-King, her whole attitude is is: "Bring it! I'm no man, and you're going DOWN!"

In the film, she on the point of tears from her terror. Some shieldmaiden she is...

I suspect that they think that making "female" synonymous with "romantic" they capture a larger female audience. Actually, what they do is annoy the female audience that was already a lock. We girls adore Tolkien just as much as anyone. We don't need your pandering.

I was disappointed that they rewrote the whole Smaug/Bilbo exchange. In many ways, it's supposed to be a parallel to the Smeagol/Bilbo exchange, both showing just how clever Bilbo is. But the lengthy dissertation of Smaug in Jackson's film steals Bilbo's thunder in drawing the dragon out by playing to his pride, exposing his weakness, and then funneling that knowledge back to Bard (unintentionally) via the thrush.

For me, there was too much padding and not enough substance. I think they should have actually gone and told the entire portion of Smaug's story here, complete with Bard killing him, instead of padding their way through to save it for the third film. I actually enjoyed the love story (I can't call it a love triangle because I detected no chemistry between Legolas and Tauriel), and I liked that they fleshed out Bard, but apart from that, this movie was just tedious. The entire third act, in particular, was a tremendous waste of time. What's even more pitiful is that they had to cut parts out at the beginning to make room for all that padding (Mirkwood panned out very differently in the books, and Beorn actually did stuff instead of having a minute long cameo).

And it didn't even succeed. It was just shameless padding so that they could kill of Smaug at some point in the next movie instead.

I thought the first movie captured the tone well. DoS is definitely a violent, gloomy mess, though. The padding didn't help, either.

I haven't seen DoS, but I wouldn't completely agree there. AuJ ( I watched the Extended edition last night ) does have some nice little moments, especially from Freeman ... he is comic at times, reservedly heartfelt at others ( like when he tells Thorin he'd like to help them take back their home after escaping Goblintown. ) Ken Stott is fantastic. And Gollum is probably the best "Gollum" of the 4 movies that character's been in.

I still can't call this one as I haven't seen DoS. But this all happened before - with the Star Wars prequels. Roger Ebert and I thought The Phantom Menace was a fantastic film - but
everyone else saw Jar Jar Binks, a kid acting, well, like a kid and
Midichlorians and remained somehow completely oblivious to all the other
awesome stuff.

I think strange things happen to an audience when they have to compare something that 'seems' like a thing a lot of people love to something new that's 'almost' the same, but aesthetically/tonally somewhat different - especially if childhood memories and the passage of time is involved. Of course, at the same time in such a circumstance, perhaps it's difficult for a director to be as fresh as first time round.

Desolation of Smaug seems like an unnecessary film in more than just it's lack of story. From the very first scene, I found the cinematography, which is nothing like I have ever seen before, to be a huge distraction. The 3D coupled with the advanced digital production is the most life-like I have ever seen, by far. But, at the same time it brought a very strange feel to the movie. I never felt as if I was watching a "film". There is something about seeing a movie that is supposed to transport into the world created by the film makers. DoS never drew me. Watching it just felt weird. Everything about the cinematography seemed so unlike any of the LOTR movies and didn't seem connected to that of The Hobbit either. Some have described it by saying it was like watching a video game at times. That seems to be an imperfect but good comparison since I cannot think of anything I've ever seen that could serve as a better example. There were several times during the movie when I turned to my wife and whispered, "This is just weird."

It was obvious that Peter Jackson wanted this movie to look and feel much darker, possibly to set up a contrasting grand finale. It may be that he was looking to other successful "dark" mid-trilogy films such as The Empire Strikes Back for inspiration. But DoS feels much darker and colder than it needed to be. In addtion he monochromatic feel to the movie just seemed overdone.

I agree with many people who suggested that the action scenes are overdone and at times juvenile. At one point when Legolas makes multiple impossible arrow shots while balancing his feet on the heads of two hobbits in separate barrels as they are tossed around in a raging river, the movie lost a lot of credibility for me. Especially since there were other similar scenes that were just as ridiculous. I get that this is a fantasy, but too much is too much. And as for me, I think the "skateboarding" or "surfing" moves that Legolas does in all the Tolkien based movies is sophomoric and silly. But I realize there are those who like them.

I have read some complaints about the musical score. Did anyone else noticed the long and awkward lack of any musical score in several scenes? These moments of melodic absence are obviously part of a overall strategy on Jackson's part, but they made the movie feel like an unfinished product. It seemed at times as though I was watching a pre-production version of the film that was still missing important parts of the score.

I am an loyal fan of the LOTR trilogies and I have come to really like The Hobbit as well, but after watching DOS I left the theater feeling very puzzled and unsettled by the film. And yes, I agree that the story was lacking many ways. Overall, if I never see DOS again, I won't fell like I am missing out on anything.

I saw it on opening day in Australia which was just the other day (26 Dec). I liked the film, there were many surprises and differences from my expectations as a reader of Tolkien's novel, however overall it was a gift to visit Middle Earth in this way. My main disappointment was with Beorn, The visit seemed so rushed. The essence of earthly goodness and importance of nature and our connection to the land was lost. A couple of fly-bys by the giant bees and that was it. I think it would have been better to cut some of the killing down in the fight scenes and go for lavender and honey wholesome scenes with Beorn. Remind us of the values that are on the line; this is central to the theme. If wood-crafters in NZ had carved that whole house and compound, and some landscape people had created his whole garden etc., they must be very disappointed right now. All I can think is that those scenes were cut for time. Martin Freeman IS Bilbo, he is brilliant. Richard Armitage is great as Thorin, loads of terrific talented people have collaborated to make a wonderful experience of pure fantasy. Luke Evans stood out as Bard the Bowman, and I liked Lee Pace as Thranduil. The pace seemed really fast and it all went by in a flash, I didn't get to see the rich detail of every scene, but that was true of many of these films. I am off to see it again in a couple of days. Thank you to all who collaborated with love tears and sweat!

Most people who aren't 12 year old boys find constant ridiculously over the top cartoonish violence to be tedious.

Jackson has completely missed the tone and spirit of the book...although his LOTR was excellent

they were laughably cartoonish and boring. They are so silly that there's no tension

You are very right with all of your remarks, especially with the cinematography part. I watched the film yesterday and I felt it weird as well, actually felt the format was a bit uncomfortable, and scenewise I couldn't stop comparing it with LOTR which had me attached to my seat with excitement. This film just wasn't as good and the trilogy was completely unnecesary, as well as the love triangle between Tauriel, Legolas and Kili. We will have to wait a year to see how it all ends but as far as this second film it looks a bit dissapointing.

did anyone else notice the quality of the barrel scene? Every time the camera went under or resurfaced, it looked like a home-video. *still thinks it was a pretty good movie*

I really like Eowen's hero moment in ROTK. I thought her looking scared yet winning the fight in the end made it more exciting - really sold the threat of the witch king.
It's what Harrison Ford does so well yet few other action stars remember - the hero has to look like they're getting the crap kicked out of them, not that they're simply brick walls taking punches to the face with no reaction.
With regards to The Hobbit, however, it is disappointing that the only female character of note HAS to have a love story.

Did you see the regular or high frame rate version? I didn't notice any change in the image during those scenes, however I saw the HFR version which, of course, all looks a bit weird to our eyes...

to be honest there making it up as they go along what happen to the hobbit the book

Legolas was not in the hobbit book

have you read the hobbit book

I will sit through this again though. I liked the length of the film because I liked the entire film. There was no scene that I would have wanted cut.

I hated it all. It suffered from the usual PJ extended special effects bloat, which add time and boredom to the film without enhancing it.

His remake of King Kong for example could be a great movies, spoiled what seemed to be a 25 minute dinosaur stampede (I fell asleep), a 20 minites Kong vs. Dino fight and a 15 minute bugfest.

Does he think we're, the audience are so mindless, that he thinks its ok to substitute this sort of crap for good pacing, writing and acting?

Hobbit 2 was an even worse example. His 'Improvement'/ padding out of a nice, simple, episodic adventure story with his own crap writing and plot insertions-mindless battles in laketown, superhero unkillable elves mowing down orcs, a videogame dwarf vs. dragon plotline just bored be to tears, and insulted the original material.

It's a cash cow exercise, where he's turned the Hobbit into LOTR v. 0.

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