Last night I went with my sister and a friend to a double feature viewing of the first two hobbit movies. I had been torn about seeing The Desolation of Smaug at midnight as I hadn’t really loved An Unexpected Journey. I should not have worried. This movie was great fun. And watching them back to back made the better parts of Desolation even better. Go see it.
Minor spoilers abound.
First off Smaug. Oh Smaug. He’s such a fun villainous character. And a great dragon, I can’t remember the last dragon I saw on screen unless I count Kilgharrah. The way Smaug moves is great, both walking, slithering, climbing, and flying. I love the effect of him preparing his flame, and there are just so many great interactions between him and Bilbo. You heard some during the trailer and it just gets fun, even if gold and gravity don’t work that way. I haven’t had this much fun watching something like this since the mines of Moria.
Tauriel, oh Tauriel, I wanted to like you. Your introduction was fun, you are a badass orc- and spider-killing machine. But your love triangle was so dumb. Must you be a “love interest?” Why wasn’t badass captain of the guard enough? Hmmm? Hmmm? Seriously, nothing is lost if you take out that conversation with Thranduil, and make her later actions just because she is CAPTAIN OF THE GUARD and a decent person.
The ring is put to some fantastic use in this movie, I love the way it works with the giant Mirkwood spiders. I also love Bilbo’s reaction to it at the end of that scene. His face tells us he’s learning what we all already know: that there is likely no more dangerous word in Middle Earth than “Precious.”
Thranduil, can I call you Thrandy? Oh the sassy king of Mirkwood was in good form. His interaction with Thorin reminded me so much of the fact that Gandalf barely let him speak to Elrond, and while he barely had a chance to begin with, open mouth insert foot is our dear Thorin Oakenshield.
Hello Bard. Look at me caring about you way more than I did in the book. Also the way he is shown caring about Laketown in opposition to what the “Master of Laketown” cares about is great. I also like this black arrow much more than I did in the Hobbit; I was seven and I couldn’t say that made a lot of sense.
Laketown gave me something I never thought I would see in a Tolkien movie. POC. There were people of color being just regular residents. Reacting to bard, the laketown master, and Wormtongue lite. I may have turned to my friends and said “I see black people.” Because you know what? That’s note worthy. I expect towns folk in movies and characters to be diverse even if I can’t get it in my leading cast so when it happens I notice. As well as when it doesn’t *cough* Helms Deep *cough*.
The end of the movie caused an audible groan of dismay to go through the theater. Everyone wanted five more minutes. Part three is well set up, and while three movies was a bit much, at least I came out of this one much happier and looking forward to next year.
Okay Tolkien nerds, my friend and I were torn on this, but the implication with the madness, and the coveting, the Arkenstone, is being even more heavily implied in the movie as being a Silmaril? Almost as heavily as Saruman was ‘evil’ in the first hobbit movie. Yes? No? Scholarly arguments from 20 years ago?