Saturday, 13 February 2016

Film Review: The Desolation of Smaug, Part 4

Hopefully as you're reading this, I'm off to the mainland for a little bit of retail therapy. Unless the weather is bad. If the weather is bad, I'll be snuggled up in bed at home feeling really glad that I don't have to go out in the horrible weather.

But you're not here to hear about the weather or my shopping plans. You're here for the next installment of The Desolation of Smaug!

162. And now let's catch up with Gandalf and Radagast who have just arrived at Dol Guldur.

163. I love that after Gandalf send him away, Radagast comes back to ask him if it's a trap. Because it probably is one.

164. Thorin's like 'you have keen eyes, Master Baggins' except not really because it's a ruddy great staircase which is right there in plain sight.

165. Gandalf clearly isn't going for the surprise attack here.

166. Look out! Something's about to land on you.

167. I like that all of this was seamlessly added in from the theatrical release. The little running Dwarf guy would've freaked me out in the cinema.

168. He's quite spirited for someone so old.

169. Lucky that Gandalf was there to make him feel more like his old self.

170. By the way, it's Thrain. Thorin's Dad. It's quite a sweet reunion really, considering that unless you've read the books you probably won't have much of an idea of what's going on here.

171. They better enjoy it while it lasts because they haven't got long.

172. Quick flashback to the Battle of Moria. Just to remind us all of who Thrain is.

173. Oh and he had a ring. He doesn't have it any more. He also doesn't have the finger it was on.

174. I love that Gandalf stops the vines on the walls from trying to attack them with just a thump from his staff.

175. Turns out you might have made a mistake with the quest there Gandalf. Thrain does not approve.

176. Woo hoo! They've found the door. Or at least the place where the door should be.

177. You'd think that out of thirteen Dwarves, one of them would know how to get a Dwarven door to reveal itself.

178. They've battled Orcs, travelled miles across Middle-earth, been held captive and fought their way out to eventually make their way to the hidden door, only to lose the light. Do they stay and fight? Do they try to come up with an alternative? No, they all give up and head back down the massive staircase. Thank goodness they had Bilbo with them!

179. Whenever I watch this bit, I'm reminded of when I saw it in the cinema on the island (before they went all digital) and the sound conked out here. The picture kept playing but there was just a buzzing noise. They had to stop it and start it again. I still half expect it to go when I'm watching it now.

180. Lucky Thorin came back otherwise that would've been an even bigger disaster than turning back when they couldn't find the keyhole.

181. But at least they're inside now. And you know it's a big moment for them all because the music's doing that thing where it gets all swelly and both Thorin and Balin have tears in their eyes.

182. Thorin's having a little moment now. I get it, he's happy to be home. Now they just need to evict the dragon.

183. Oh look, there's a pretty inscription above the door. Wouldn't it make more sense to have that on the way in, rather than on the way out.

184. I always forget that until this point Bilbo doesn't actually know anything about the Arkenstone. I wonder why they don't actually tell him about it until they get there.

185. Meanwhile, Kili appears to be in labour.

186. Bofur: "Don't move!" like Kili's going anywhere.

187. Balin's giving Bilbo the low down on the Arkenstone. Moments like this make the Balin's tomb bit in The Lord of the Rings feel so much sadder now. I love Balin.

188. I also love Bilbo's dressing gown.

189. "Oh and Bilbo, if there is in fact a live dragon down there... don't waken it." Sensible advice.

190. In the book it is Balin who goes down a little way with Bilbo, I like that they included it in the film.

191. Back to Gandalf and Thrain. It would appear Thrain has led the wizard straight to Azog.

192. I'm momentarily distracted from the ferocious Wargs by my own ferocious Warg asking me to play tug of war with her Kong.

193. When I tune back in Thrain is telling Gandalf to pass on a message of love to Thorin before being grabbed by the Necromancer.

194. And then Gandalf's staff disintegrates which makes me very happy because I noticed in the first film that Radagast's staff looked suspiciously similar to Gandalf's in The Fellowship of the Ring.

195. The whole Eye of Sauron/Necromancer thing is sort of seizure inducing but very, very clever. I think it kind of explains how he came to take up a form like a giant eye, because the body shape was gone, but he was still this big burning ball of energy.

196. Martin Freeman is just totally perfect as Bilbo here. I love all of his reactions, and I love the featurette where they show some of the takes that they didn't actually use.

197. Although he does also remind me rather a lot of his character in Nativity!

198. Coin-alanche!

199. Oh look! It's a dragon.

200. It's a very big dragon.

201. In the book it mentions that Smaug has kind of illuminating beams of light from his eyes and I like how they did that very subtly in the film.

202. Run, Bilbo! Run!

203. "Something made of gold, but far. more. precious." Ooh, he knows.

204. Smaug is such a poser.

205. "Do you think flattery will keep you alive?" Well, I kind of hope it will.

206. And there's the Arkenstone.

207. I'm so glad they kept in the riddling talk, though I wish they'd used more of it.

208. "You have nice manners..." for my dinner.

209. Smaug's a fine one to talk about being drawn to treasure. Takes one to know one I suppose.

210. And back to Laketown to see how Fili and all are getting on.

211. Apparently the kids weren't told that was where the Black Arrow was hidden, to make their surprised looks more real.

212. Meanwhile, back in the cave Smaug is monologuing. He could've taken Bilbo out by now if he'd just got on with making fire.

213. Unfortunately for the inhabitants of Laketown, the guard would rather arrest Bard than let him try to bring down the dragon.

214. And Bard figures that if he's going to be hauled before the Master, he might as well go in for resisting arrest.

215. I wonder how many times Luke Evans fell in the water rather than successfully landing in that little boat.

And I think that's where we'll leave things for now. This time next week I'll be in Wales but I've got the final part of this blog series ready to go.

Next week the Dwarves join Bilbo inside the mountain, they all go head to head with Smaug; meanwhile in Laketown there's an Orc attack!

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