I saw The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug AKA The Hobbit 2: Electric Boogoloo today and thought it was an exciting movie and great middle to the trilogy. What caught my eye (besides the obvious!) was:

  • The prelude came from the appendices of The Lord of the Rings and explains how and why Gandalf decides to help Thorin.
  • The last movie ended on a hopeful note but, no they're still in mortal danger!
  • Beorn really got the short shift here which eliminated one of The Hobbit's more enjoyable chapters.
  • But he's better off than Tom Bombadil from The Fellowship of the Ring! ;-)
  • The movie does deviate a lot from the novel as we lose the whole "Dragging-A-Sleeping-Bombur-Around" subplot!
  • The Giant Spiders (children of Shelob?) were particularly creepy.
  • In the novel, Bilbo has to tell the Dwarves about the Ring but here it's still kept secret.
  • But we see the Ring start to negatively affect Bilbo, something it never did in the novel except for lying on how he got it, of course.
  • I don't mind Legolas showing up as he was the Wood Elf King's son. He still has the coolest weapons, the coolest moves including sledding down a hill on an orc and actually acts more more aggressive than in Lord of the Rings.
  • The introduction of Tauriel (above) didn't bother me at all. I said that Evangeline Lily would make a smokin' hot Wood Elf and I was right! Plus she's a killing machine! And she glows!
  • They compressed the time that the Dwarves spent as prisoners of the Elves.
  • Nice touch with the cameos of Gloin's bearded wife and young son, Gimli.
  • Thorin's behavior gets worse and worse!
  • Fili's flirting with Tauriel is certainly understandable and becomes an almost "Twilight" echo of Gimli's pure love for Galadriel. Still a Dwarf and an Elf? How would they raise the kids?
  • The barrel escape is made much more exciting though hardly more believable!
  • But you have to love Bilbo's reaction after the barrels leave without him!
  • The meeting with Bard the Bowman was very dramatic and making him a single dad with more noble past lets him stand out more, though they're telegraphing the next movie too much.
  • Laketown is a place where money talks!
  • Splitting up the company with a poisoned Fili staying behind with Kili, Oin and Bofur was a weird choice for me as well as having Orcs invade Laketown with no man fighting them! Good thing Legalos and Tauriel show up or the whole town would have been slaughtered!
  • Tauriel cures Fili and God knows what he's dreaming about! Sadly, this will have a tragic ending.
  • Getting into the Lonely Mountain reveals the more greedy nature of the Dwarves as they send poor Bilbo to retrieve the Arkenstone with Smaug still there!
  • Smaug is a great visual with stunning details, dripping evil and arrogance. One of literature's great villains!
  • The Arkenstone affects Thorin before he can even reclaim it!
  • Meanwhile Gandalf decides to stop the Necromancer AKA Sauron and his Orc army alone! And he gets captured much like he did with Saruman.
  • The Dwarves do a lot more fighting here and, to be honest, they were near useless in the novel!
  • I was actually thinking that the Dwarves might defeat Smaug but they still need him for the next movie!

Despite the changes, it was a very good action-adventure movie, though it does lack some of the epic qualities of The Lord of the Rings. A lot of the characters are hardly as heroic and Bilbo grows as the Dwarves' protector.

Did anyone else see this and what did you think?

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My wife and I saw it and loved it. My wife, in particular, thought it was much better than the first one (in which she fell asleep).

Smaug was fantastic. I could watch a whole movie with that guy. And I, too, had no problem with adding Tauriel -- no only is she one good-looking elf, but it adds a romantic subplot (for my wife) and besides, the original was too much of a sausage fest.

More variations included showing what Gandalf was up to while the gang was journeying to the Lonely Mountain, which I was glad to see, because my impression from the book was that he really offered no explanation for bailing out on his friends after sending them to Certain Death (tm). Of course, I read The Hobbit 35 years ago, so my impressions could be wrong. Still, glad to see what he was up to.

And for pupil of the eye to reflect the silhouette of Sauron was awesome! Makes the eye even scarier.

There's probably more I'm forgetting, but it was a very good movie. After the last one I was prepared for this series to end already, but now I'm gonna be a little bit sad when I walk out of the theater next December.

I haven't seen a movie in an actual theatre in over a decade. Given how things are around here this one really tempts me. I liked the first one and I'm not really a purist on the novels (It took me three tries before I was able to read the Hobbit all the way through) so I don't mind adding characters and I never found Tom Bombadil that interesting.

I guess it is up to me to be the voice of dissension. Before I rip it, let me say I thought it was merely okay. Which is what I have felt about all of these Peter Jackson movies. I barely even remember the last Hobbit movie it left such a little impression on me.

  • These movies are just simply too long. When I was (hoping) it was over we were only about half way done. Everyone of these movies is too long.
  • It really shows in the Hobbit though. Last time we basically got a movie per book. This is one book chopped into three parts.
  • I find the dwarves and elves almost entirely unlikeable. The dwarves are mostly a bunch of pansies, and the elves are arrogant jerks who can't see the forest for the trees.
  • Bilbo is mildly more likeable, but in many ways not really.
  • Most of the action takes place during the day so the prosthetics look fake and well like prosthetics.
  • Some of the fight scenes were just off.
  • These are prequels, but you can't help but notice how much older Ian Maclellan and Orlando Bloom look.

There are a few things I am certain I am forgetting. Like I said I didn't hate, but I'm sure I will spend money next year for the new one.

I enjoyed it a lot. When they announced three movies I was skeptical, but it works.

Travis, I agree with you about the elves, but compared to the book the dwarfs are downright heroic.

Some of the scenes played like a readers digest version of the book, but I have no problem with what they did. After all, in the book the dwarfs were prisoners for some time. That would have put people to sleep. I plan on seeing it again next Tuesday and I will add further comments then.

Looking forward to what a second viewing suggests to you, Howard!

I saw the movie last week. I liked it more than the first. Mostly because it had more action, less Dwarf singing.

Even though it was more action packed I feel that the films are a little too long. Though some additions like Tauriel were good.

My one complaint is that this series currently is not really about the Hobbit at all but Thorin Oakenshield reclaiming his kingdom. Though Bilbo has had his moments. I really like Martin Freeman as Bilbo.

Smaug was fantastic. Really well done.

"Less Dwarf singing" is always a pretty good call.

Jason Marconnet (Pint sized mod) said:

More action, less Dwarf singing.

After a second viewing of The Hobbit:The Desolation Of Smaug my opinion has changed a little. I like the movie, but there are some big flaws in it.

First, what I liked:

Peter Jackson's cameo. He wasted no time in this one.

The Dwarves are much braver than in the book. In the book they seemed to shove Bilbo into the line of fire anytime danger arose. Here they usually have his back, the biggest exception is the initial confrontation with Smaug. Not a complaint, just an observation.

I like the character Tauriel. She may be a Peter Jackson invention, but she fits in the movie nicely. She obviously shares traits with Arwen. Her "romance" with Kili is a nice touch.

Legolas' first glimpse of Gimli. I am a little surprised that it made the final cut. It is the type of thing found in the directors cut.

I always pictured the Master Of Laketown a pure politician. Stephen Fry nailed it.

Ryan Gage as Alfrid, the Masters right hand man. Whenever he was onscreen my thoughts were Vince Russo has come to Laketown. (A wrestling reference for those of you scratching your heads.)

Sauron. Though never mentioned in the book, his spirit belongs here.

The Indifferent.

I felt that Beorn was shortchanged. I understand why the introduction from the book was not used,but there should have been more. Maybe in the directors cut. I also was puzzled by Gandalf's mention of Beorn not being in control in Bear form. It has been awile since I last read The Hobbit. It becomes the next book I read.

The imprisonment by the Woodland Elves. Much longer in the book, but who wants to spend an hour on that theme.

The Bad.

How did Bilbo stab the spider after being wrapped up? He should never have been caught, as it was in the book.

When did orcs become stealthy creatures? That is totally out of character.

Why did Bilbo take the ring off when confronting Smaug?

The whole Dwaves verses Smaug battle? The first time I saw it I enjoyed it. The second time too many questions popped up. How could the furnaces, unused after so many years, work so efficiently? It was awful handy having the large mold there all those years. I am probably overthinking it, but those thoughts were there.

Like I said at the start, I enjoyed this movie, but it falls short of the Lord Of The Rings. I think they would have been better off sticking with the plan of 2 movies, but I may change my mind in December.

My wife had so many questions about where the movie differed from the book that I have put the book on my to-read list, too. The last time I read it was (gulp) 1975 or '76!

There were changes from the book in practically every scene! But that's the difference between writing a book and filming a movie!

I defend that very thing on the 47 Ronin thread. My point there is that had the filmmakers been more faithful to the legend, it would have been a very boring movie, and mostly inexplicable to Westerners.

I understand that but there is a bit of a difference as The Hobbit was intended, as book and movie, to be entertainment. The same could be argued about The Lord of the Rings, as that seemed to have deeper meanings. But 47 Ronin is, as you say there Captain, a legend that defines the Japanese culture and its people or at least it should. Adding an American actor, no matter how good his performance is, to basically "save the day" while portraying himself as part as an ethnicity that he is not does not usually work---see Disney's The Lone Ranger and Johnny Depp!

I read and greatly enjoyed Dark Horse's 47 Ronin and I'm not Japanese nor have I played one on TV (though sometimes I pretend to be a Vulcan or a Time Lord) but I got it. I really did because the story made you understand why everything had to happen the way it did and why all the characters acted the way they did. And by the end you were cheering the Ronin and mourning their choices, though you realize that they had no choice.

What worked on The Hobbit may not work on 47 Ronin though I hope that I am wrong.

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