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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May I recommend The Annotated Hobbit where you can see where Tolkien changed the original version to better reflect The Lord of the Rings?
 
Captain Comics said:

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!

I haven't read the DH version of the story -- the one I have was published by Shambhala and would not have made a very good movie. Frankly, parts of it were pretty oblique and I did NOT get a sense of why things had to happen the way they did. In fact, some parts went the other way, leaving me with questions I had no answer for.

Far be it from me to defend or promote racism in any form, but 47 Ronin was a good movie, and it would not have been made without a marquee name like Keanu Reeves. Maybe they should have called it something else, if it bothers that many people. But half the audience was tearing up at the end, which means they got the point across.

I'll probably get the HC in February by Stan Sakai, and I'll bet it makes better sense to me than the Shambhala version.

Stan Sakai is deceptive in his simplicity as far as getting emotions off a page. There is sadness, regret, anger, outrage, loyalty and determination in his cartoony style that is far more effective than gore or fury.

I'm not saying it's racist using Keanu Reeves who's capable enough to pull it off but it can distract your attention from what it should be focused on.

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