Saturday, December 14, 2013
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
If there's one thing you can rely on with extremely stupid titles it's that they'll state the title verbatim in the movie somewhere, and this middling middle chapter is no exception. This movie has the same problems that the first film did but I think there's a little less action on the whole so it winds up being slightly worse. I suppose you could also say that nothing actually happens over the course of the movie other than they walked for a while; the LoTR paradigm, but it's probably the worst in this rendition.
However apart from the obvious issues I still enjoyed my time watching the film. The action scenes are entertaining, the movies is reasonably humorous, and the Jesus imagery is now split between two characters instead of emblazoned on the Oakenshield solely (note: every human male hero in Peter Jackson's Tolkien adapatations is basically an image of Jesus). I don't necessarily mind this it just gets a little overbearing a la the Matrix Revolutions. A film like Gladiator does Jesus imagery pretty damn well (if unintentionally), and Braveheart does it pretty good too; nothing wrong with pseudo Jesus archetypes, but if you drag it out for too long it just gets sort of cheesy and irritating.
The Elves are probably the coolest cats in the movie because they're not boring ass elves like they were in every other movie; Thran is a mean, greedy, old isolationist (which is semi-accurate) and speaks authoritatively, Lego is pissed off the whole time and the poor goblins/orcs don't stand a chance, invented Elvish chick is sort of swashbuckling. They don't have an overbearing tragic arc like the Dwarves do and they're just fun to watch. Want to watch Legolas casually murder 30 dudes? This is the movie for you!
I suppose that leads into another problem the film has, the villains just have no credibility up until Smaug, Smaug is great but he's only in like 30-45 minutes of the movie; for the rest of the time any obstruction or sideplot is just like a measly tapestry flailing in the wind; swiftly passed and swiftly forgotten. I thought they did the Nazgul really fucking well in Fellowship, enough so that they had credibility when they were in CGI land later in the series; Saruman was intimidating, the Eye was kind of cool. I guess ultimately I know that Dol Guldur doesn't really amount to anything in the course of the Hobbit so that whole bit falls flat since they're just alluding to shit that doesn't happen for 50 years the whole time.
Overall I like this movie, but it could be an hour shorter and they could have done the Hobbit in either 1 3 hour bigass movie or 2 1 hour 40 minute tightly paced movies; you don't need 3. They sure made it to Erebor though! It is worth noting that the visuals and cinematography are excellent, and the music is different enough to be interesting, but you kind of need something momentous to happen over the course of the plot. The Two Towers was way better.