The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug quick recap...


SPOILERS ABOUND! Well, not THAT much but if you haven't seen this flick yet you might wanna skip this post altogether. Caught this y'day with me family and I can tell you the year-long wait was well worth it! Smaug's appearance alone was enough to justify your ticket admission price, this I can tell ya!

I was surprised that I was able to immediately recognize Peter Jackson at the very beginning of the movie. You might wanna keep watch on the carrot-munching dude from the Bree opening sequence. As per the LOTR trilogy movies and the 1st Hobbit movie, we are once again treated to a very visually stimulating experience as the serene and beautiful New Zealand sceneries served as the backdrop and doubled up as 'Middle Earth'. 

There is a familiar face from the LOTR alumni apart from the obvious Gandalf (and it's not Frodo this time I assure you!) so that would definitely add a sense of familiarity among the LOTR movie fans. I also loved the cameo appearance from Sauron (probably the best bit from the movie apart from Smaug's scenes). 'Desolation' picks up where we last saw the guys during the ending of the 1st Hobbit movie and surprisingly they made it all the way into Erebor and get to meet Smaug face-to-face (something which I had personally predicted them to only experience in the 3rd movie next year).

There is a scene where the party spent the night at a 'skin-changer' (shape-shifter)'s house but it was just a brief affair in the film where else it was such a big thing in the book. I guess there ain't much point to replicate 'word-by-word' the contents of the book when you can easily read those in the book yourself.

There was a similarity between the LOTR trilogy and the Hobbit films in the sense that there were bound to be 'corrupt' souls somewhere in the course of the movie(s). In LOTR, may fell to the evil lure of the One Ring's promise of power and in 'Desolation', we'd finally get to see how Thorin got corrupted by the power(??) of the Arkenstone. Whether he'd succumbed to the evils brought upon by the stone or not remained to be seen. The 3rd film will inevitably answer this.

It's interesting to note that Peter Jackson initially planned to do two instalments and later he changed his mind to do a trilogy akin to his previous LOTR effort. I thought that there was a particular scene that was a bit out of place and perhaps it belonged to the 1st film (?). I'm talking about the scene where Gandalf met Radagast and they began talking about the necromancer at the abandon ruins. I could be wrong about this though but one must remember that Jackson had already shot most of the scenes from the 1st film when he decided to do another two.

In my opinion, Smaug was pretty believable and scary as heck! With his sheer size, fire prowess and dark booming voice, it was rather easy to see why the good people of Erebor and Dale p***ed in their pants when he came to wreck chaos all those years ago. Smaug made Draco from Dragonheart sound like child's play. Bilbo's encounter with Smaug has got to be one of the most intense moment in cinematic history of recent times.

It was great to see an alumnus of Rowan Atkinson's Black Adder TV series cast ensemble in the movie. I think he did a pretty good job. His portrayal as the chief of the had a tinged of Denethor, the Steward of Gondor from ROTK.

There'd definitely be a bunch of disgruntled book purists who'll be dissing certain elements of the book. I'd like to give a special shout out to this one idiotic female audience in the cinema where my family and I caught the film. She practically yelped a very irritating "WHY?!" on the top of her lungs the moment the film closes with Smaug about to attack Laketown. She'd probably read The Hobbit some weeks ago and felt compelled to compare the book to the films. Well, my wife and I read Tolkien's LOTR & The Hobbit too but we decided to treat the films exactly like what they're meant to be.....Peter Jackson's interpretations. Following Tolkien's word-by-word account would be as 'predictably' boring as AMC strictly following Robert Kirkman's comic book pages for their TV adaptation of The Walking Dead.

Having said that, I love the inclusion of Tauriel. Again, book purists may go against this (boo!). But do remember this, while neither Legolas nor Tauriel were mentioned by Tolkien in The Hobbit book but there were mention of encounters with Woodland and Silvan elves in the book. I think Jackson did a bang-up job by introducing both into his movie interpretations of The Hobbit. It adds to the excitement and the drama (Kili's love interest towards Tauriel is just downright fun to watch!). I'd just have to say this to the hardcore purists...if you don't like any deviations then you'd be better off staying away from watching Jackson's movies. Enough said.

The film closes with a cliffhanger inevitably leaving the audience gasping for more. We all already know what's coming in the final chapter of the trilogy but the journey to get to the ending is what we're really looking for. This is what Peter Jackson does best. Again, if you're planning to come to the cinema and start to rant how the movies differ from the book, I guess you'd be better off staying at home and keep your unwanted comments to yourselves. Just enjoy the movie guys....that's all to it....pure popcorn fun ain't it?

This movie is a definite keeper on blu-ray and I can't wait to add this to the collection. Would I watch it again in the cinemas (and endure another 160 minutes)? Probably not but I'd give this film my thumbs up for its excellent cinematic value and pure fantasy fun! A definite recommendation for all!

The Rebel

No comments: