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Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)

Director: Peter Jackson

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)

Summary: A definite improvement on its predecessor, falling only slightly short of an ardent fan’s sky-high expectation—nonetheless, an entertainer that is bound to grow on you with repeated viewings. 

Plus Points:
Good to see Jackson venturing into the relatively uncharted sections of the book, things that J.R.R. Tolkien left to reader’s imagination or just briefly mentioned, for example: 
  • Expulsion of Sauron from Dol Guldur by Gandalf and co.
Jackson also gives some identity to the otherwise generalized evil characters in the novel, like, Azog the Defiler, Bolg. This does give 'evil-side' some heavyweight counterparts to match against the plenty of known good characters. 

Addition of Tauriel and Legolas in the film was a masterstroke too, and will work really well when film reaches the crescendo in the Battle of Five Armies. Inclusion of Legolas in the ‘Hobbit’ storyline is actually quite a shrewd move, since there in nothing in Tolkien’s writings that denies it. However, it means Legolas and Bilbo were acquainted to one another prior to the fellowship’s meet at Rivendale (in LOTR)—there is nothing in LOTR film that indicates this or otherwise!  

Open barrel ride was another great modification; the low-key and secretive barrel-escape of the novel, wouldn’t have worked with the audience not familiar with Tolkien's work.  

Some Drawbacks:
In Hobbit 1, exclusion of Gwaihir the Windlord—the king of magnificent talking eagles—was the one of the biggest disappointment for me, personally (totally empathize this omission, though). In this film, it is the mistreatment of Beorn’s character; got his grandiose represented horribly wrong. To rub salt to the wound, script completely abridges Beorn’s role to a meager sneak peek. There is so much potential to tap in and Jackson knows it better than most. Hope they redeem Beorn's to its deserving glory in the final battle.

Length of the film is not an issue here; it is the improper utilization of length that makes the film drag at times. Could have invested more time on Beorn, of course.

Visuals and special effects are undoubtedly brilliant...just like all the previous films. Hence, 'humdrumness' of  visuals work well for someone new to the franchise, whereas, for someone who has followed it all through, film's special effects offer nothing new. It wouldn't be counted as a drawback for any lesser director...but from Jackson we expect magic every time! 

Overall, a good film that seems more of a stepping stone to the grand final, or so I hope!

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