So I watched The Desolation of Smaug on Christmas Day. S-P-O-I-L-E-R-S ahead!!
The movie begins with the company making their way down from the mountains and seeking shelter in Beorns house. I wish I could say it was epic but… it fell pretty flat actually.
The whole thing was over in like 2 scenes: 1 of the party being chased into the house, and 1 of them all sitting ’round Beorns table listening to him talk. It was over before it even started. After all the secrecy I was seriously underwhelmed.
You never got a really good look at how huge bear-Beorn really is, it was mostly just shots of him walking in backlight by himself. Man-Beorn was, in all honesty, sort of silly looking.
In my mind I’ve always pictured a brown, hairy, Hagrid-like person, and this was nothing like that. He was big, yes, but also lean and grey and had a really weird hairstyle. I kept seeing a sleek werewolf rather than a big brawny bear.
Mikael Persbrandt did his part well, small as it was, but I really hope we get to see more of Beorn in the next movie.
The next part is equally short.
In the book, the journey through Mirkwood is written almost like a ghost story. For days the dwarves walk in the darkness under the trees, seeing strange lights and listening to haunting sounds, the madness creeping slowly into their minds…
In the movie, it’s like they’ve only been there for 3 hours, like they’ve literally just walked through the entrance, before losing the path and getting attacked by spiders. Then the spiders lasted for like 5 minutes before the elves shows up and captures the dwarves.
It was like they just rushed through the events up until the point when they reach the woodland elves, but after that things slowed down to a more normal pace. It also got some looooooong action scenes. Not that we’re not accustomed to that from Lord of the Rings and the first Hobbit movie.
Now I guess is a good time to make a statement regarding Tauriel. Apparently Peter Jackson and co. got some flak for creating a new character, i.e. not from the book, i.e. the female elf Tauriel.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the movies are DERIVATIVE works BASED on the book, not a direct translation! Changes are not only to be expected, they are necessary!
God knows Middle-Earth could use more female characters. Adding a she-elf to even the field just a teensy weensy bit is hardly a crime against humanity. As for a crime against the Tolkien-verse… well, I suggest everyone gets over their pretentious selves.
I liked Tauriel a lot. She was a brave and fearsome fighter as well as sweet and humorous.
The “love triangle” between her, Legolas, and Kili could’ve been left out though. I guess they just wanted some romance in the movie, but it came out almost as silly as Beorn’s hair. But I still like Tauriel. As far as I’m concerned she’s more than welcome.
Anyway, after the encounter with the elves the movie really started to get its act together.
They added lots of material about Dol Guldur and the Necromancer. None of that is included in the book so it was cool to watch what Gandalf was up to while away from the company. I also liked that you get to see Gandalf use quite a bit of magic, which is unusual. I just love it when he reveals his powers! *fangirling x1*
Laketown was exactly like I imagined it. Bard was great! Stephen Fry as the Master of Laketown was great! Loved everything about this! *fangirling x2*
And then Erebor and Smaug… Oh. My. Fucking. GOD!
Everything the movie lacked at the beginning it made up for here. The halls filled with gold were amazing and Smaug himself was utter perfection down to the smallest scale. The scene with Bilbo talking to him in the treasure chamber had me on the edge of my seat! And I love how the dragon’s chest and neck lit up when he was about to breathe fire, like you could see the flames building up inside him. At this point I really didn’t mind the drawn-out action, I could’ve watched the dragon for hours. *fangirling x3*
I was a bit worried about where they would end the movie, but the cut came at a really good point. Ending it right when the dragon flew out of the mountain and heading for Laketown means the next movie will start with a huge fight between Smaug and the lake people!
Can’t believe it’s a whole bloody year ’til next time! Aah!