Tuesday, December 17, 2013

'The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug' - Matty Jacobson

"Oh, I see you're still awake after hours and hours of unnecessary plot,
Barrel Rider!" - Smaug (probably) 

When it comes to J.R.R. Tolkein's Middle-earth adventures, I was never able to get into the actual "Lord of the Rings" book or movies.

Reading them is was like having to learn a whole new language, and I think I got through "Lord" and a smidge into "The Two Towers" books before I had to put them down and. All semblance of story was lost within a hodgepodge names, creatures, languages, quests and characters that popped up for no apparent reason other than to take up room. And I still couldn't tell you the motivation behind anything anyone did.

"The Hobbit," on the other hand, was such a great book. It wasn't drawn out to the point of ridiculousness. It had jovial characters who, despite their horrible manners, were generally likable. And the whole tale was told in a fraction of just one of the "LOTR" trilogy books.

That, of course, didn't stop Peter Jackson, Warner Bros., New Line Cinema and MGM from greedily trying to bleed as much money from the audience as possible.

"The Desolation of Smaug" was a four-hour movie, or at least it seemed like it. Why? Because there was a whole lot of nothing happening all the time. It reeked of being fleshed-out for the purpose of length and nothing else. "The Hobbit" could have easily been told in one movie. But instead, we had to be subjected to a bunch of material that was lifted from The Histories of Middle-earth, which include 12 "LOTR" companion-style books written by Tolkien, and new characters written specifically for the movie.

And for what? For hours of fight scenes that should have lasted minutes? For a barrel-in-the-river scene that might as well be a TV miniseries in and of itself? For a movie that feels like it should have been over hours ago when it gets to the good part?

The good part I speak of is the titular character's emergence, but by the time we actually see Smaug, I'd already had enough and I was pretty much ready to leave. I will give the film this though: Smaug's voice was great to listen to. That's about it.

There were so many unnecessary additions to the story of "The Hobbit" that I just couldn't reconcile my feelings for the book and my hatred of the movie.

I just wish Peter Jackson had told a "Hobbit" story that stuck with the "Hobbit" book. If the director wanted to tell all these additional tales, there are plenty of other books to make into movies. I didn't need all the realms of Middle-earth bleeding into what was once one of my favorite stories.

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