The Hobbit – The Desolation of Smaug

Posted on December 28th, 2013 in film and tv

Well, overall a pretty entertaining way to spend an afternoon at the cinema, and a good deal better than An Unexpected Journey, I would say, which I found pretty disappointing about this time last year.  This second two and a half hour instalment has some great sequences, some good performances and a stupendous Smaug, but follows a pretty similar formula, namely taking the bare bones of Tolkien’s really quite slight original and bloating them up, steroid-popping bodybuilder style, to twelve times their original size, losing their charm and personality along the way and replacing them with MASSIVE SPECTACLE to rival the MASSIVE SPECTACLE which was PETER JACKSON’S TOWERING ADAPTATION OF LORD OF THE RINGS.  Hand me the script pump, cause we’ve got us some serious inflating to do.  Things scarcely alluded to in the text are laid out before us in ponderous and often rather unconvincing detail.  Sometimes with bird poo in their hair.  MASSIVE BIRD POO.  New characters are tossed cavalierly into the mix and familiar ones are backstorified like there’s no front story to worry about.  Every trip or minor scare becomes a lengthy CGI-heavy action interlude.  And everything is made TWICE DOUBLE AS HUMONGOUS AS IT WAS IN PETER JACKSON’S TOWERING ADAPTATION OF LORD OF THE RINGS.

I must confess, though, the additions, though probably a good deal more offensive to the purist than last time, were at least a great deal less tedious, sometimes even quite sensible.  The introduction of ass-kicking elf-maiden Tauriel and her attendant elf/dwarf love triangle could have been cringingly bad, but actually I didn’t mind it, and if you’re going to go off-piste, then adding maybe a female character or two in the entire world is not a bad thing to do to the Hobbit.  Additional time with Thranduil and Bard was well spent.  There also seemed to be a bit more sense made of the Arkenstone, Thorin’s hunger for it, and Bilbo’s decision not to give it to him.  A suicidal trip by Gandalf to find out something he was 99% sure of already made absolutely no sense and was totally pointless, mind you.  The design was predictably brilliant, one would have to say, though Beorn looked a bit weird, didn’t he?  And what about those prosthetic dwarf hands?  In mid shot the dwarves would all be standing about rather awkwardly looking as if they had hairy pink washing up gloves on.

What I found a lot more peculiar than the additions were the subtractions.  You’d think, with so little material to work with and so much time to fill, they’d damn well clutch every straw Tolkien wrote for them.  But gone was the black stream in Mirkwood, gone was Gandalf’s trick of introducing the dwarves to Beorn two by two, gone were a lot of the subtleties.  In their place we got ACTION.  ACTION TO RIVAL THE TOWERING ACTION OF PETER JACKSON’S ACTIVE ADAPTATION OF LORD OF THE RINGS.  It really didn’t rival Lord of the Rings, though.  Generally there was way too much CGI for my taste, and the action had lost any sense of shock, impact and danger, often it was pretty hard to really follow what was going on with the plunging camera angles and writhing CGId heroes.  The barrel ride became an interminable white water barrel-themed fight with super-graceful hopping elves and roley-poley funny dwarves getting the best of what struck me as not very well CGId Orcish Hordes.  Then we had the weighty additions of an interminable fight between super-graceful hopping elves and not very well CGId Orcish Hordes on the rooftops of Laketown which I must have missed last time I read the book, and an even lengthier fight between roley-poley funny dwarves and a brilliantly voiced and CGId dragon, with the forges of Erebor re-imagined as a gigantic theme-park ride which I definitely missed in the book, and which ended inexplicably with Smaug deciding to leave the dwarves in possession of the mountain and flapping off to Laketown.  A MASSIVE DRAGON FLYING AT A MASSIVE LAKETOWN TO RIVAL THE MASSIVENESS OF ETC. ETC.

Everything was outsize.  Smaug’s hoard has become a veritable mountain under the mountain.  I mean that dragon really has got himself A METRIC MOTHERFUCKTON OF GOLD DOWN THERE.  Dol Guldur ain’t so much a ruined tower as A SPRAWLING RUINED SORCEROUS ULTRA-CITY full of skulls and spikes and crumbly bridges and cages from Evil Wizards r Us that leaves you wondering why Sauron chose to downsize to Barad Dur.  Bard’s Black Arrow, rather than being, you know, an arrow, is THE LAST GIANT RIFLING HARPOON TALLER THAN A MAN which has to be shot not from, you know, a bow, but from THE LAST OF THE GIANT DWARVEN FOUR-ARMED MEGA BALLISTAS ON TOP OF A HUGE TOWER.  One scratches one’s head because, quaint though this may sound, bigger really isn’t always better.  The best moments were often the small things – Thorin’s profile matched against the great stone profile of his grandfather’s statue as he says he’s nothing like his grandfather, Thranduil getting all tetchy and elven-weird in his tree-root halls, or the nimble details of Martin Freeman’s performance as Bilbo which might actually have worked even better if the hoard behind him was, I dunno, just the size of a large hill.  Everything was made EPIC.  Rather than just following Bilbo, and when people leave him, letting them go, we followed Thranduil after we left the elf kingdom, followed Fili and Kili when they were left behind in Laketown, followed Gandalf on his ridiculous one man expedition into Dol Guldur.  Loads of weighty strands all going on at the same time?  That’s not really the Hobbit, that’s Lord of the Rings.

Look, it’s better than the last film.  Look, it’s a fun way to pass an afternoon.  Look, it has some wonderful design, and some great visual ideas, and some pretty creditable performances.  But it’s not very memorable.  It doesn’t really know what it wants to be.  A childish tale of fun with the funny dwarves and their naturalistic charming hobbit companion?  A weighty and pompous prequel Lord of the Rings doesn’t need?  A stirring action adventure with a short leading man?  In the end what I loved about Jackson’s adaptations of the Lord of the Rings was that, in spite of what he cut and what he added, in spite of the small liberties and the amped-up action, he somehow achieved the alchemical balancing act of making the films feel like The Lord of the Rings.  What I don’t like about Jackson’s adaptations of the Hobbit is that they just don’t feel like The Hobbit.

AT ALL.

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  1. I take small yet irrational offense that Mr. Jackson thinks he is a better storyteller than Mr. Tolkien. But in the end, he is making movies and not books. Different mediums.

    Good write up.

  2. One important part of the Hobbit films feels exactly like the book. And that is the Hobbit himself, Freeman’s Bilbo is perfect. And that saves it.

    Liked that the Dwarves were more proactive vs Smaug, shame it got a bit Tom and Jerry though.

  3. See, I was a bit honked off with Tauriel. Great character, but oh my gosh, Scoobs, she has to have a love interest. Maybe two. Because being the captain of the badass wood elves of badass forest isn’t enough.

    (By the way, wasn’t Legolas kind of meaty in this version?)

    Here’s the thing; I’ve been studying video games in academia for a few years now. The last 45 minutes of the dang movie? Video games. We’re going to see those mining buckets strung across our X-box screens and I’ll be damned if we won’t have to jump up to get some coins. (Insert flashback of Super Mario Brothers.)

    After 10 minutes of Smaug and Bilbo, I thought, “Hrmmm, they’re extending this quite a bit.” When the band of dwarves turned into a Goonie-esque thrill ride, I well-nigh expected One-Eyed Willie to pop out and start playing his bone organ. (Not the dirty kind.)

    But, even with those quibbles, it was fun. I liked seeing Peter Jackson again in Bree, only I swear he burped real loud in Fellowship. You can’t get that magic back again.

  4. Graham,
    I agree Freeman’s an excellent Bilbo, but he seems almost in a different film to everyone else, and he’s oddly sidelined at times, there’s so much else going on.

    Steph,
    Well, as the one female character in amongst all those blokes it’s only a surprise she didn’t fall in love with a few more of ‘em, really, isn’t it, though? Perhaps she’ll go off with the Master of Laketown in the end?

  5. Joe,

    You hit the nail on the head. The Lord of the Rings was intended as an epic, and Jackson was much truer to the storyline, making adjustments (such as Faramir’s initial temptation by the ring) that made sense to me.

    Conversely, The Hobbit was not intended as an epic, nor as a true prelude to the War of the Ring. Thus, Jackson did a huge cash grab by turning the story into something it was not. I agree that this movie was better than the first installment, and not nearly as over the top as Jackson has shown a proclivity for (I point to the abominable fire in the trees scene from the last movie as strong evidence). Smaug was impressive, and you are spot on that Tauriel was a very good addition. But the tedious storyline of Azog chasing the dwarves, or dispatching Bolg to do the same, is a really poor device for pushing on to the final battle.

    It’s disappointing that Jackson chose to make The Hobbit into The Lord of the Rings. It’s still entertaining, but it will never compete with what Jackson did the first time around.

    Cheers,

    GR

  6. As an eight year old back in the day this would have blown my mind. As a lifelong Tolkien reader I’m afraid that my eight year olds’ experience of Arda will be informed by screenwriters. I’m on it btw. An aside; people often say to me that they find the spiders in the series scary; not me and I have a spider phobia(ish)! Those big chomping mouthparts vs the true vampirism of the real things almost helps!

  7. Saw it on Christmas Eve and enjoyed it well enough, I guess, although I’m a notoriously easy mark. It was not the Hobbit, but I guess I’m willing to accept Mr. Jackson’s vision/version as a prequel of sorts, and it seems he will at least avoid the Lucas doom.

    As with the absence of Bombadil in LOTR though, I was quite sad to not see the whole of the Beorn con, one of my favorite parts of the book. Absent that and the subsequent fauna dance, Beorn’s inclusion is only there I think to fulfill the Five Armies bit (do I recall that rightly, do the Beornings count in the Five?). So count that as my chief complaint I guess.

    I almost missed the Dol Goldur bit having hopped up for trip to the loo. Trying to avoid spoliers here so, I got back just in time for the confrontation part of that sequence,and really quite liked the … err … graphical superimposition effect that was used. Quite neat.

    Count me as one of the few who like the addition of the info from the Appendices, although to be sure it’s been long since I read them or the Hobbit, so I quite lose track of what is “real” and what is added.

    I do know the whole bit with the she-elf (and Legolas, looking … odd)is nowhere in there. I also don’t object to her addition and like watching her fighting style, but her mooning over Kili seems very forced. But what do I know of young demi-human love eh?

    All and all though an acceptable trip to the movies, and they’ll likely get my $25 for the Blu-Ray when it comes out. Although, I’ve been hearing rumor of another extended Director’s Cut set once it’s all done, with even more Appendix stuff and with a smoother overall plotline made rough by ‘necessary cuts in the theatrical release’. I’ve quite enjoyed my LOTR extendeds, so maybe do a Red Box of this one and wait, if the family will let me.

    I’ll give it three ‘Crushed Spleens’ or something suitably gritty for this space, the details of course left to Mr. Abercrombie.

  8. I much preferred “An Unexpected Journey” to this one. I didn’t mind the addition of the barrel fight scene. It was really entertaining. Although Peter Jackson has seemed to have totally forgotten the orcs aversion to sunlight.

    Like you Joe, I missed the orc raid on Laketown as well. JUST LIKE ALL THE GUARDS IN LAKETOWN!!! Did someone give the whole town guard the night off? This same town guard that required Bard to smuggle the dwarves past in barrels of fish? No alarm was raised, no guards came out to fight. Just two elves who just happened to be in the right place.

    The elf-dwarf love story was one of the worst additions in my opinion. Totally unnecessary and poorly done.

    Overall I was very, very disappointed with this film. But then again I remember feeling exactly the same after seeing The Two Towers and the changes Peter Jackson made there. Will still go see the third one though.

  9. I haven’t seen it yet but this review and others tell me I’m going to wait for it to transition to pay per view. “An unexpected journey” made the purist in me cringe a few times so based on your review and the comments, “The desolation of Smaug” would leave the Tolkien purist in me confused, catatonic and constipated. Yes, the dreaded 3 C’s. Anywho, appreciate the heads up on the movie!

  10. One of my many problems with Jackson’s adaptations is his inability to leave any mystery in the story. He HAS to explain everything, and even if his explanations were good, which often they aren’t, the demystification detracts from the story.
    You can almost hear the “what ifs” of the brainstorming script crew, and it’s amazing how awful some of the ideas are. The rabbit wagon, the goblin king saying ‘that’ll do it’ , the whole mixup of when and where gandalf actually gets the map and key, the bullshit with the elves not helping the dwarves, whitey the naughty orc, the godawful makeup/hair for the dwarves, honestly it’s all so dire.
    The second movie was better than the first, but it’s not the Hobbit, I just had to let it go and imagine it as something unrelated.
    I imagine Tolkien would be tossing his elf cookies were he to see it.

  11. That movie was an absolute breeze for most parts of it. I just watched the first Hobbit movie again, and there are some parts that drag on forever (ironically not including the 40 minutes that it takes before Bilbo finally leaves Bag End).

    I agree that the Tauriel-Kili thing wasn’t too bad. In fact, aside from some of the cringeworthy dialogue in that last scene together, it worked really well – especially the scene where she’s sitting there by him in his woodland jail cell, listening to him describe the stars. The budding romance element isn’t just a thing, it’s tied into her desire to see more of the outside world beyond Thranduill’s walls.

    Everything was outsize. Smaug’s hoard has become a veritable mountain under the mountain. I mean that dragon really has got himself A METRIC MOTHERFUCKTON OF GOLD DOWN THERE.

    Gold might be a lot more common in Arda, since it was magically sung into existence. That said, it is a fuckton of gold. The entire estimated amount of mined gold in the world would make up a cube 21 meters by 21 meters by 21 meters, AKA a lot less than what we see in Smaug McDuck’s Treasure Hoard.

  12. couldn’t agree more. It’s a fun, bad movie. Not unpleasant with a pretty awesome dragon in there. McDonald’s supersized Hollywood December blockbuster.

  13. Is is just me being cynical, or is this movie aimed at people whose introduction to Tolkien was NOT via the books, but via the LOTR films? Now they want more of the same—and Jackson is giving it to them? Another huge epic. It would be interesting to hear a reaction from folks who have seen both films but haven’t read either of the stories. For them, I suppose, the disappointment will come if they DO read the books, and discover they’re not much like the films at all! Either in tone or in content.

  14. As a somewhat die hard Tolkien nerd, I dearly wanted to love this film and its predecessor . Much as I forgave any missing or additions in LOTR , I find myself struggling with this …
    Did I enjoy it …. ? Yes
    Did I think to myself ‘I can”t wait for this to come out on DVD ?’ … Not really

    And given that Bard gave me a lifelong love of longbows , so much so that I run a business selling them … Well the uber huge multi directional killer commando dwarves crossbow dragon missile launcher left a sad bitter aftertaste …

    Missing the charm and companionship I was looking for , it fell short … Way short

    But ya can’t have everything so … Like a Christmas present you don’ t want but endup using … I’ll take it …

  15. Totally agree. I liked it a lot better than the first. Best part, though, was when the dragon flew off toward the town and it said DIRECTED BY PETER JACKSON, and the dude behind me yells “What the fuck? There’s another one?”

    How do you go into that movie not knowing there’s another one?

  16. Okay, here’s my beef:

    This movie used the EXACT same themes of the LOTR films, as if Jackson’s answer to making a Hobbit film was to take all the things that resonated with people in the previous trilogy and re-use them. The inter-racial, to good to be true, impossible love story in the making; the grandiose, fate of the world hangs in the balance underpinnings; the greater good vs. evil politicking…

    When I heard that the Hobbit was going to be a trilogy, I expected that it would be the Hobbit, plus some Silmarillion-derived back story, narrated as it was in the first Fellowship film’s beginning, though rather as divergences.

    Instead, it was that inflation – but nothing clever, just re-hashes of what worked in the last films. This movie stinks of Hollywood executives’ input, “You know what would really make this picture pop…? If it were like the last ones.”

    One the plus side… honestly, you could have just cut to Smaug from the jump and I’d have happily watched him twist and menacingly crawl through his mountain of gold with threatening expressions and Cumberbatch’s vox for the same amount of time. To me, they got that pretty f’ing right. A dragon big enough to drive an entire community out of a fortified enclosure should be HUGE and SCARY, justifying the harpoon and ballista.

  17. To quote Mr Baggins its thin like butter scraped over too much bread; about a third of the film is from the book & even that has been changed or amped up. I was really disappointed, 2 Towers had a story & a point but this is just a glorified filler, it really didn’t need to be so bloody long. An hour thirty would have been sufficient….grumble,grumble.

  18. Thanks for putting all my thoughts into words! I loved The Hobbit book but the film was overblown and over the top. I found lots of it quite annoying and found myself saying at one point ‘just get on with it’. Viewed with a cynical eye – I suppose if you turn one book into 3 films it will inevitably bear no resemblance to the original storyline.

    I’ll watch the 3rd one for the sake of completeness but I know I won’t get the same sense of satisfaction I did from Lord of the Rings.

  19. Steph: Yeah, Orland Bloom is a little thicker than he was back in 2001-2003. But I can forgive that.

    The only reason for these movies to exist is that Guillermo Del Toro was originally going to direct. And he was adamant that it would only be TWO movies.

    I guess once Jackson took over his tendency for gross over-indulgence (previously demonstrated in KING KONG) took over, and now we have three hugely padded movies from a rather slight piece of source material.

  20. Perhaps he should have used the Silmarillion as the basis for some new films instead.
    I agree with much of what’s been said here. My children are rather frustrated that their friends who have always rejected LOR really like the Hobbit films. It’s probably because they do follow a formulaic game-based CGI approach familiar to lazy thinking people who don’t read many books.

  21. My main issue is that Jackson threw away the heart of the conflict -the tension between Bilbo and Thorin at the end of the first movie. Thorin’s ambition, desire for revenge, and greed make him a tragic figure of the original book, but that tragedy seems to have been cut in favor of ADVENTURE! Gandalf’s departure should heighten this conflict as we see Bilbo without his protector, and although the other dwarves warm to him, Thorin should not. That allows for Thorin’s tragic end and reconciliation to be more affecting and telling.

    Jackson keeps looking for a villain, because he turned the books main villain into an ADVENTURE HERO.

  22. I enjoyed the film for the most part, it was better than the first, which dragged on in many parts. It was fun, it was sexy, it had occasional nice touches. But I am a purist when it comes to Tolkien and therefore find it difficult to accept changes to the tale. (had to post in 2 parts)

  23. I don’t really feel like Jackson’s revisionist interpretation is the same story. This sums up my feelings towards the Lotr as well, I find him too fond of a cheap gag and too keen on schmultzy padding. (actually 3 parts)…

  24. So for me, although this film was enjoyable it was not a good film, it wouldn’t stand up to any of the great films, it wouldn’t come close. Whereas I feel the books stand up to some of the greatest literature ever written. This is why for me Jackson’s attempt at reworking Tolkien has been a failure, both the Lotr and now The Hobbit.

  25. The most unfortunate omission was that Jackson et al seemed to forget that this is *Bilbo’s* adventure, not an epic dwarven romp that somehow tied into absolutely all the other epic stuff going on in Middle Earth. I would have loved to see much more of Freeman’s sublimely charming Bilbo and much less needless, drawn-out action. Fun to watch, but, as consensus seems to show, nothing at all to do with the actual Hobbit story or spirit.

  26. I don’t know why he thought he had to change so much. Like changing Smaug from a dragon to a wyvern, there realy was no point other than he thought it looked cool and all it did was make a lot of people angry

  27. Nice review Joe. If you enjoyed the first, you’ll love this one and you’ll get your money’s worth, but if you were just very so-so with the first, you may feel the same about this one, while also feeling like there’s something good coming up around the bend with this last movie.

  28. Stories about war, or exploration, ALWAYS need more women added to the cast, BECAUSE.

    The first one was actually painful, and so clearly NOT The Hobbit, that I have made no effort to re-watch it past the point where I had to leave the theatre with my nephew because he was too scared.

    They made a movie of The Hobbit, where a robust eight year old boy was too frightened to sit through it, because a completely new character was introduced, that had cutlery-for-hands and a perchance for torture.

    Fail.

  29. Saw it last night in the 3D HFR version… well, that took some getting used to and I’m not convinced. My son who grew up with his playstation loved it and I can understand because at the start it didn’t feel like a movie but extended video game. My 13 yr old nephew who just finished reading the book cannot understand how they are 5+ hours worth of movie already and how they are going to produce another 2 1/2 hour movie from what’s left of the story…says it all really

  30. “I mean that dragon really has got himself A METRIC MOTHERFUCKTON OF GOLD DOWN THERE”

    My Dota2 icon is a headshot of you reading at a Dymocks store in Canberra. And this is pretty much why. :)

  31. I have this aching suspicion that we’ll be seeing The Silmarillion at some point in the near future within a trilogy format. Possibly longer…

  32. I’d rather jam my unit into a meat grinder and cook it sous-vide for 6 hours rather than see that abomination of a movie.

  33. After watching this, and queing for a long while on its opening night, i left the cinema so damn dissapointed that i woke up the next morning still irritated. My fiance actually apologised to me.

    I was at the point of thinking,’I kinda wish Del Toro did direct’. I was originally extatic on hearing that Jackson was manning the helm, i thought that very few directors could ever do The Hobbit justice like Jackson should be able to. Now though? I think it would have been refreshing and pleasant to have seen a completely fresh take on middle earth. Exciting even. This movie, as is written so eloquently in this review, is just a re-hashed prequel of sorts to LOTR, so much is lost of the tale that is The Hobbit. To much story is lost to its build up, too much eludes to the events forth-coming and too much, well, just isn’t the Hobbit. Their are some good bits, granted, Freeman is charming as Bilbo, but half the time i could barely see him in shot. Armitage portrays Thorin well throughout i believe. Smaug was great. But what else? Yeah, it looked good, but not really as good as i thought it should. With every postive note there is, unfortunately, a negative.

    Call me old fashioned but i would have rather, if anything have seen some serious, if made up, developement of existing characters (Dwarven back stories? Beorn maybe? So much premise for Beorn) rather than the inclusion of an elf who looks older and fatter seventy years before he should. And the oddity of a she-elf from nowhere falling for a dwarf without a beard.

    Ahh well. Still irritated. Fiance still apoligises.

  34. The largely cosmetic changes to the tale, in my opinion, were fine for the big screen. I thought that the ballista-Bard change was actually pretty cool since it’s a short break from the archery-fest in the rest of the films. The spiders scene (until the elves showed up) was really awesome to watch, as was the Smaug-Bilbo conversation.

    The only disappointing aspect for these films is that there’s some Spectacle Creep going through the franchise. Looking back at the first LOTR film, the stunts and action were actually relatively believable! Imagine if the Fellowship had the Hobbit-Legolas, and not LOTR-Legolas: they’d be at Mount Doom inside a week at the most!
    While some people liked those action scenes with crazy (but apparently totally normal in that universe!) choreography, I found it broke my immersion rather than increase tension.

  35. I found the film rather disappointing to be honest. The only thing I really enjoyed was the CGI dragon. The rest of the CGI was shit (What happened to those lovely orc masks?). It was also amazing how much they felt free to add to the story, while skipping some powerful moments. (If you’re going for gimicky humor, why not add in the dwarf two by two scene, as Abercrombie said? Why make such a bad joke out of the barrel riding part)(that moment when the almighty Smaug is brought down by a single arrow, yeah, doesn’t work as well with a giant spear launcher.)
    Still, the most genuinely offensive part was, in my opinion, Tauriel. Tauriel does not add a feminist twist to the lord of the rings franchise, with her combat and healing skills that exceed even Legolas’ (Although the awkward, moderately uncomfortable look on her face as she’s glowing and healing Kili was a little priceless.) No, Tauriel proves that movie executives believe that women will only be interested in a film if it includes a) a love triangle and b) a Katniss Everdeen, Mary-Sue lookalike. The kind of sexism that assumes women cannot enjoy a well developed storyline without adding in romance is possibly the most irritating. They think they do well, by adding in a strong female character, but by making her boy-obsessed and two-dimensional, they do more harm than good. Yes, the Hobbit is lacking in female leads, but I’d rather see no women, than one created just to have create romantic tension. Trust me, the modern woman can find romantic tension even without female characters involved.
    Still, it was a fun movie to watch, as long as you pretend it’s not actually the Hobbit. I was mostly still sad that it wasn’t as good as the Lord of the Rings films. A little dissapointing. Still, they took on an enormous challenge, attempting to make another film based on Tolkiens books, and while they failed, I’m just glad they got Lord of the Rings done before they sold out.

    ps. considering each cubic meter of gold weighs 19.3 metric tons, and is worth 750,000,000ish dollars, after examining the number of cubic meters of gold in smaug’s horde, I think it may have been closer to 3 or 4 metric motherfucktons of gold, if I’m doing my conversions correctly.

  36. What Peter Jackson needs is an editor. Very much like Stephen King, Pete is someone who loves a good bloat, and who just won’t stop cramming more stuff into other stuff if no one tells him to.

    With the LotR films, much of that cramming was forgivable and even desirable, as there was so much stuff to cram, and so much room to cram into. With the Hobbit films, things are bursting at the seams quite a bit. You can practically hear Pete going “Yes! More! Larger! Bigger! Faster! Let’s cover the dragon in molten gold!”, with no one in the background trying to temper him.

    That being said: it’s precisely this childish whoohoo-more-is-better-and-too-much-still-ain’t-nearly-enough attitude which drew me to Pete’s movies from day one. So I may be less than impartial to whatever silliness he comes up with.

    Many of his additions and elaborations to the Hobbit are simply setup pieces for the upcoming Battle of Five Armies; machinations if you will, to explain the presence of each of the five factions in next year’s finale. Which, if you are being cynical, makes both An Unexpected Journey and The Desolation of Smaug quite a lengthy bit of preamble.

    Entertaining exposé.

  37. Thank you, Joe, for telling me what I think about the film because when I left the cinema two days ago I was shocked and confused… but mostly shocked. I even thought that I had an abridged version of the book (or Peter Jackson’s got some director’s cut). The Hobbit is a really enjoyable story without all those flashy additions…

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