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Blu-ray Shopping Bag: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Unsatisfying

By Robert T. Trate     April 08, 2014
Source: Mania.com


The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug arrives on Blu-ray
© Warner Bros.
It is strange for me now thinking back on all the second installments in movies. Perhaps it is better to think back on those that really mattered. When I was all of 5 years of age, I had no idea that The Empire Strikes Back was chapter two with a third slated to arrive. The story told there ended and a new chapter needed to take place. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is actually a prequel, but it never really matters to the other two (yes I said TWO) Indiana Jones films, in the context of one all encompassing saga. I’m not even going to dredge up the Star Wars prequels. I think it all comes down to The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. It set a great precedent that is very hard to follow. It established new characters, was its own story, left you wanting so much more, and yet still completely satisfied. It’s prequel trilogy, The Hobbit, attempts this repeat, but something is missing. 

When I sat down, again, to watch The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, I was completely jazzed to get back to Middle Earth. This time, it was only my second trip back for the sequel. The holidays were just too full of films to see, which is strange because I saw LOTR: The Two Towers twice in the same day. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug was just different and exhausting. The cliff hanger leaves us so unsatisfied, which is strange because we knew going in that there was still another tale to be told. This film also felt a tad bloated, whereas the LOTR films, theatrically, never felt that way. The barrel chase was fun, but it was seriously closing in on Matrix Reloaded territory. What was so different here? So many things are exactly the same, yet not. 

The parallel to be made is that at the end of The Fellowship of the Ring our band of heroes gets separated. They suffer a tragic loss and move in different directions. Each of their stories take them on journey where their characters have to evolve. Here the Dwarves and Bilbo don’t get separated until the every end. Now this might have something to do with The Hobbit going from two films to three. Was it really necessary to go to the well three times? I think it was, but initially the script didn’t work that way. On a whole it won’t really matter, but as its own story, I felt as if The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is incomplete. What was this story about? When we get down to to it, its about obsession and Thorin’s (Richard Armitage) quest to get back what was taken from him. Yet on the verge of his Evil Frodo moment, we are slapped in the face with this huge dragon and little to dwell on. Where was that uneasiness that this might not all work out? That everyone and everything is at stake? The Two Towers had that uneasiness, despite so many good things falling into place. With The Desolation of Smaug ending, I guess I just really need December 17th (253 Days) to get here quickly. 

The film is still fun despite my bitching and complaining. I have to remind myself that Ian McKellen (Patrick Stewart’s best buddy) is under all that hair and make-up because Gandalf is so very real to me. Being a huge fan of Sherlock, this film is a satisfying replacement in seeing Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch to do their thing. The biggest surprise to me is Evangeline Lilly’s Tauriel. I know she is not a character from the books, but damn if I didn’t see something in her performance that I never saw in her on LOST. Thank the gods she is in Marvel’s Ant-Man

There will be another release of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug coming this fall. You know that, I know that, hell, New Line certainly knows that. Enjoy this one for the time being, despite the unsatisfying storyline. 
 
Own "THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG" Limited Collector’s Edition Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack, Blu-ray 3D Combo pack, Blu-ray Combo pack, 2-disc DVD special edition, and Digital HD on 4/8.

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COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

Showing items 1 - 6 of 6
1 
karas1 4/8/2014 4:53:43 AM

I'm enjoying The Hobbit films but they feel so padded to me.  With LoTR they put the story from 3 books into 3 movies.  Fair enough.  And they were able to trim some of the fat from the books to make the movies smoother (a little too much fat for the theatrical runs, some important stuff got left on the cutting room floor but was put back in the director's cuts).

The Hobbit was a shorter book than any of the 3 chapters of LoTR, yet they have stretched it to 3 movies.  In the first film they had the extended sequence (that went on and on and on) of the dwarves eating dinner in Bilbo's home with singing.  Yes, it was in the book.  But it should have been cut out of the movie or at least trimmed waaaay down.  When you start to check your watch during the film, something is wrong.

The second Hobbit film had extra elves.  It was nice to see Legolas again and, while he didn't make an appearance in the book, if he had been in a few scenes when the dwarves were being held captive by the elves it would have enhanced the movie.  But we have a new subplot about new character Tauriel getting a crush on one of the dwarves and following them to Laketown and Legolas follows her and there's tracking in the wilderness and long conversations about conformity vs independance.  It's all nice enough and interesting enough but it's just a big fluffy pillow tied around the movie to extend the running time.

And one of the dwarves is injured in the escape from the elves and there's lots of angst about that, another big fluffy pillow that wasn't in the book.

This epic trillogy could easily have been told in 2 movies or even in one.  And as much as I like Peter Jackson and his vision of Tolkien's work I just get the feeling that the decision to make this a trilogy is mainly a financial one, not an artistic one. 

I totally understand that movie studios have to make money in order to survive and to keep producing films for us to enjoy.  But it's not like the first 2 films haven't been profitable.  It's better to leave the audience wanting more than sick of the whole business.

rogue188 4/8/2014 5:22:22 AM

Yup, agreed. The Desolation of Smaug desperately needed about 20 minutes worth of film on the chopping block. How about all those extended scenes with Legolas. They were boring. Yes, I love the archery, but he had his time in the sun in the first trilogy.

horcruxx 4/8/2014 8:34:53 AM

 My guess is that the extended edition will help tell the story better like it did in the first film, I did like the second movie and will definitely see it in December the final one. Let's just enjoy this trip to middle earth because we may never see on in our life time.

InnerSanctum 4/8/2014 2:53:46 PM

 I've yet to see Hobbit 2: Electric Hobbaloo.  I was that disapointed in the first one.  It drug on and on and still didn't feel like the book I grew up with as a child.  It felt like a tedious exercise on my patience.  There was not magic.  It lacked a soul.  

 

almostunbiased 4/8/2014 6:50:13 PM

Thing is they added some and took out parts of the book I really liked.  They could have done so much more in wilderland, and also in the forest of Mirkwood.  Then take out all the extra crap Karas talked about.  IDK I still enjoyed this one more than the first.  Horcruxx, are you saying the extended version of the first movie is worth getting?

keithdaniel 4/11/2014 8:52:42 AM

I haven't seen The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug yet, but after seeing the theatrical version of the first Hobbit, I get the feeling that they could've told this story in less than 3 films as well.  Of course they ended up making a trilogy for financial incentives, that shouldn't surprise anybody.

1 

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