Saturday, 18 January 2014

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Review

On Friday 10th Mr Click and I finally got off the island to go see The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. I've been wanting to get a chance to get away to see it for nearly a month but we've just not had an opportunity what with the weather, Christmas and the weather. We finally had a break in the weather and grabbed the first chance we had.

I'd been keen to see it in D-Box but that wasn't available in 3D, and 3D was way more important to me than seeing it in a seat that moved. I've got a Cineworld account online and booking in advance saves me 10% so we booked it the night before we went to save a few pennies. Plus we already had our 3D glasses from seeing the first Hobbit film, so it wound up being a fairly reasonable day out. I've got to remember to renew my NUS card ready for next year so I can save a little bit more and get a student ticket as well.

Warning: Here be spoilers!

So, my favourite bits... Well I loved the Barrels Out of Bond bit. When I heard they were making a film I imagined that bit would be changed or cut or something. I mean, in the book they all get shut in a bunch of barrels for two days, hardly edge of the seat stuff there. The way it was handled in the film made it into a proper action sequence and it was definitely a change for the better. Don't get me wrong, I still prefer the book, but in terms of making a good film, that was the right way to handle it.

I also really liked how they handled Gandalf leaving them at the entrance to Mirkwood. I've really enjoyed the way that both films so far have given more depth to what else is going on in Middle-earth during the time when the events of The Hobbit are taking place. Now Gandalf actually has a reason to leave them and it works so much better than him just abandoning when things might start getting sticky.

The dragon hoard and Lake Town were also brilliant visually. I had an idea of what I thought the hoard should be like, inspired partly by loads and loads of illustrations I've seen over the years. And I've always wondered exactly what Lake Town should look like, I mean, I've had a picture in my mind, but it's been fairly fluid and changed with different readings of the book. Now I think when I read the book I'll be picturing this version of Lake Town because it just makes sense.

As for my not so favourite bit, there's just one; the spiders, Dear God the Spiders! I ended up having to watch the lower left hand corner of the screen for the whole time they were on the screen. That way I could kind of see what was going on, but I didn't have to see the way the spiders moved or what they looked like. That's not to say they were bad. They were just way too lifelike, and they were giant and they were in 3D. It was not good for an arachnophobe like myself.

There were some really obvious changes, probably the biggest one being the inclusion of Legolas and the new Elf, Tauriel. I honestly was expecting to hate Tauriel; I was picturing Mary Sue type Elf-warriors and was prepared to complain about her inclusion. But having seen it I quite like her. The Hobbit is at a bit of a disadvantage because it doesn't have any real female characters; even though the women in The Lord of the Rings are a bit sparse, at least they're there!

Tauriel obviously creates a bit of a pull for the guys and who's to say she wasn't there in the background of the story. She's just a nice little added extra, and her relationship with Kili and Legolas helps to add some more depth to the story.

In the book everyone goes to the Lonely Mountain, but there's a bit of a change in the film and some of the dwarves get left behind. I'm guessing this'll link to something in the final film. Perhaps to make it more realistic that Bilbo is able to recount what's happened (because the dwarves are able to tell him) rather than not being there at all. Also, I suppose that it'll make two of the dwarves more easily accessible for killing and the associated angst that'll come along with that.

I wasn't expecting Thorin to face the dragon, considering in the book it's just Smaug and Bilbo. On the one hand I'd have rather that bit stuck closer to the film, but on the other hand, it does make sense for the point of view of the film. You couldn't really have one of the main characters not meeting one of the main antagonists.

A couple of other things that I just have to mention.

The whole way through the knitter in me was getting excited about Gandalf's scarf and hand warmers. I kept wondering who would've made them for him and I came to the conclusion that it must've been Galadriel, after all, she was a bit of a wild child in her youth and I can imagine her rebelling by dating one of the Istari. Totally makes sense!

Also in the first Hobbit film I got excited to see that Radagast's staff basically looked like Gandalf's from The Fellowship of the Ring. This film sees Gandalf's staff getting destroyed so I'm half-expecting to see Radagast giving Gandalf his at some point in the third film. If he does it'll be a nice little nod to all the Lord of the Rings fans who spotted it way back in the first Hobbit film.

I really can't wait until the next one comes out. It'll be kind of sad when it does, but at the same time, I'm really looking forward to having a Hobbit/Lord of the Rings marathon weekend!

Oh, and I'm going to see it again in our local cinema this week as well. I wonder if I'll notice anything else on a second viewing.

1 comment:

  1. I totally know what you mean about the spiders, I was cringing in my seat. Why does fantasy always have to include giant spiders? It's just not fair on those of us who are terrified of them...
    Glad you enjoyed the film, I'm really hoping to see it again sometime soon.


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