Saturday, December 21, 2013

Review: The Hobbit: the Desolation of Smaug

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 In this second installment of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit,  Bilbo and the dwarves find themselves in a race against both time, and the orcs that hunt them.  However, the orcs may not be their greatest enemy.  An even greater threat is rising in Mirkwood, turning even the hearts of the Elves against all outsiders.  As Durin's Day draws ever nearer, it is up to Bilbo to help Thorin and his company get to the Lonely Mountain in time.  But even as they reach it, they know that the greatest threat is yet to come.

Alright, as suggested in the very title of my blog, I am a huge, HUGE fan of Lord of the Rings.  Period.  I've read the books more times than I can count, and even now I'm reading The Silmarillion  again.  So seeing these movies is like a dream come true for me.  I don't scream or squeal very often at all, but this movie, I believe, deserves a 'squee' or to.  So... *takes deep breath*  Here I go...


Right!  Now that I've got that over with, let me get started with the review.

In The Hobbit:  the Desolation of Smaug, we are once again treated to fantasically beautiful scenery, heart-racing battle sequences, nasty orcs (and spiders!), and wonderful characters.
for the most part, Peter Jackson has stayed true to the book, only taking the occasional detour for cinema's sake.  These are mostly minor differences, with the greatest being the addition of the character Tauriel, a female elf and the captain of King Thranduil's guard.
I know that many fans (including myself) were nervous about this new character, dreading any cheesy romance there might be between her and Legolas, the prince of Mirkwood.  Peter Jackson assured us that there would be no such thing, so we relaxed.  A little.  
Well, as it turns out, there were some romantic undertones between the two of them, but I myself didn't mind.  Tauriel was an enjoyable character, and was by no means your typical Mary Sue.  I've always thought that The Hobbit could use a feminine voice, and Tauriel provided a good one.  
  *SPOILER*  There was also, surprisingly, a bit of hinted romantic feelings between Tauriel and our young dwarf Kili.  I had heard rumors of this before I saw the movie, so it didn't take me completely off guard.  I thought it was pretty well done. *END SPOILER*
I really enjoyed Gandalf's subplot.  I'm glad that they decided to explore this storyline, which was merely alluded to in the Appendices of the Lord of the Rings.  It adds much to the story.  XD
Thranduil the Elvenking was an interesting character.  He is portrayed as being almost villainous, which is unusual for elves.  At least, it is if you haven't read The Silmarillion.  However, in a certain scene, during which Thranduil is speaking with Thorin, it is revealed that he has known pain and suffering just as much as the dwarves have, and this is part of his reason for not wishing to help them.  
Another factor, however, is his greed.  As a fellow blogger, Hannah, pointed out in her own review, Thranduil is much like King Thingol, a character from The Silmarillion.  Anyway, I look forward to seeing more of this character in the future.
Legolas was awesome, as usual.  In the days before he knew Gimli, he is prideful and naive, but it is no wonder having been raised by a man like his father.  He also had some excellent action sequences involving hand-to-hand combat.  I was impressed.  
Thorin and the dwarves were great as well.  I love seeing them work together in their own little ways.  Balin is so nice to Bilbo, and such a good mentor for Thorin.  Fili and Kili are brothers all the way.  And Bombur... oh Bombur.  He's always good for a laugh.
I was very happy with the portrayal of Bard the Bowman.  I always liked his character in the book, and I was happy to see it fleshed out in the movie.  His children were very sweet.  
Smaug was just as I imagined him.  That intelligent, malicious, gold-enamored worm that has brought such destruction to the world was perfect in this adaption.  I've seen other, not nearly so satisfactory renditions of him, but this one makes up for them all.  Benedict Cumberbatch's voice had the perfect resonant quality needed in a dragon.  :) 
But I have to say that my favorite character of all was Bilbo.  Such a clever, bumbling hero is easy to identify with for an introverted, stay-at-home person like me.  I've always had a fascination with quests and such, but I'm not sure I would have done half so well as Bilbo has done.

The Cons:  Well, if I must sight them, here we go....
Fantasy violence.  Orcs, Elves, and Dwarves are at each other's throats throughout most of the movie.  Heads are cut off, arrows find their mark, necks are broken, and the like.  Blood is shown spattering several times.  The spiders are very frightening, and extremely disgusting.  Watching them as an arachnophobe was... *shivers*.  My thirteen-year-old sister nearly hyperventilated, but then she's an even worse arachnophobe than I am.  My eleven-year-old brother, however, seemed to be fine.  :)  It really depends on who you are.
No swearing!  That's what I love about Lord of the Rings movies.  :D

Since my eleven-year-old brother watched it without a problem, I'll recommend it for anyone that age and up.  Because we're pretty sheltered in our family, and we aren't allowed to watch incredibly scary or violent movies.  But this all depends on your family's standards, so watch with caution.  

Five stars isn't enough for this one, at least not for me, so I give this movie... TEN stars!! 

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-Rayne Speryll

(P.S.  Here's some more images I just couldn't resist including.  All credit goes to the owners, not me!)

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  1. Great review! I love the posters, especially the first two. Ah, I'm such a fan of elves.

  2. I'm so excited to see this! And it's nice to hear such a glowing review from a Tolkien nut. :D I'm hoping for great things!

    1. You won't be disappointed! I can't wait to see it again. :D

    2. *grin* By the way, the poster you chose for the top of this post is epic! :D

  3. Very good review, Elethia, and I love the posters! Now I really have to see the second Hobbit film. :)