I'm not even sure where to begin. I tried to think of some super unique and epic way to start this post, but alas, my writing muse has been in a coma ever since the end of NaNo (Grrr...) so it's just plain old Kaycee writing today. There are SPOILERS ahead.
I decided to simply use pros and cons. Sounds good? Good.
- Benedict Cumberbatch's voice. Enough said.
- The animation, especially for Smaug, was absolutely gorgeous. Smaug looked and sounded exactly how I pictured him when I read the novel for the first time.
- In the book, the Arkenstone struck me as simply a one-of-a-kind jewel, with no equal any where else in Middle-Earth. In the movie, they seem to imply that the Arkenstone causes others to go a bit mad with greed, forgetting their friends for riches. Personally, I liked this deviation from the novel.
- The scene where the "Necromancer" morphed into Sauron's Eye. That. Was. INCREDIBLE.
- New Zealand. Duh.
- The acting was fantastic for every character, even if they did not necessarily portray the character how I pictured him. Thranduil, for example, was nothing like the image I got from the book, but I like the movie version too.
- Watching the Ring take control of Bilbo was very cool. I thought it was a nice touch having the Ring attempt to escape from Bilbo while they were in Mirkwood. It was also cool to see how less of a pull the Ring has in this film as compared to the Lord of the Rings films. Dol Guldor is literally right in Mirkwood, and yet, the pull was not strong enough yet to drag Bilbo there or make him succumb to the Ring. I liked the scene where Bilbo relentlessly stabs that insect-like creature to death because it got near the Ring.
- Bard the Bowman was changed very much from the book, but I found myself liking him a LOT. (After I got past the fact that he looks just like Orlando Bloom's Will Turner from Pirates of the Caribbean...)
- The costumes were incredible.
- I like that they added Bolg into the movie. Since they deviated from the book and left Azog alive, I assumed Azog would be the one to slay Thorin in the Battle of Five Armies. However, since they have added Bolg, who is the true killer of Thorin, that means I probably get to have the satisfaction of watching Thorin kill Azog...and then I'll cry my eyes out when Bolg kills Thorin. I also like that, while they made Bolg look similar to Azog, they did not mention that Bolg is Azog's son. That'd be weird.
- Bilbo's and Balin's friendship.
- The Gimli shout-out was great.
- The music was beautiful.
- TAURIEL. I knew from the trailers I would dislike her, but she was far worse than I could have ever imagined. And she was in it longer than she needed to be. Honestly, I could (and I am going to) write a blog post on the many, many reason why she has absolutely no place in Tolkien mythology and no place in any Lord of the Rings films.
- Evangeline Lilly.
- The overdone Legolas scenes. Yes, I enjoyed seeing Legolas in the movie, but they seriously overdid it. Having him follow the dwarves all the way to Laketown just cuz his overly masculine crush got some bizarre crush on one of the dwarves? No. Just no.
- Speaking of that, the Tauriel and Kili...whatever the heck that was. Not only does their relationship start off with a completely inappropriate innuendo that has NO place in a Tolkien film, but it completely eradicates the incredible friendship formed between Gimli and Legolas...or, even worse in my opinion, the respect Gimli gains for Galadriel. So I'm supposed to believe that Tauriel can just abandon the beliefs she has held for centuries because one (hot) dwarf starts hitting on her? And yet it takes Legolas months to get over his hatred/distrust of Gimli? Seriously?
- The pointless drama with the Thranduil/Tauriel/Legolas "He loves you but I say he can't!" junk.
- Beorn. They completely messed up Beorn. Why couldn't Peter Jackson have cut the Tauriel scenes and done Beorn right? Couldn't he have at least done the hilarious introduction scene? And speaking of that...
- The complete lack of humor in this movie. The Hobbit is a hilarious book, yet I can't remember one thing that actually made me laugh in The Desolation of Smaug.
- The action scenes! All of them were completely ridiculous and unbelievable. It was extremely obvious that ropes and pulleys were used during these scenes. And most of the fights were simply far-fetched and illogical. I feel like Peter Jackson sat down and thought of every possible thing that would be cooler than Legolas firing arrows while surfing down a shield, and then Peter Jackson tried to cram everything he thought up into one movie.
- And lastly, why one earth would Sauron leave Gandalf in a cage? Why not kill him? I realize the plot requires Gandalf to live, but Peter Jackson should have really fixed that plot-hole. Maybe he plans to explain it in the next film, but I still think it is sloppy not to explain that in the film in which it happened.
All in all, I was rather disappointed. While a good movie, it barely followed the book. I don't have issues when directors deviate from the book as long as the deviations either add or don't change the quality of the book. Peter Jackson's additions, however, caused the quality to go down much more than if he had simply stuck with the book. I liked it okay, but I will not be going back to the theater to see it again. (I saw the first Hobbit movie three times in the theater).
It simply did not feel like a Lord of the Rings film to me. I have cried in every other film, but not in this one. I'm not saying that's what the problem is, I'm saying I didn't feel anything. I didn't really smile, I didn't really frown, nothing. Emotional character arcs were completely non-existent. There was no humor to be found. The action, while "cool", was laughable. It was just...numbing. It felt more like a summer blockbuster than a film which should be hailed as a classic.
I suppose that is what makes me rather sad when I think about this movie. No matter what happens, it is going to be hailed as a classic. The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films are going to go down in history much the same way movies like Gone with the Wind and Titanic have. And yet, this film does not deserve it, much like the New Star Wars Trilogy. I feel like Peter Jackson is taking advantage of everybody simply to earn more money. He knew that these films, especially this particular one since it is wedged in between the two Hobbit movies, are going to last forever no matter what.
He should have made The Hobbit in two movies.