Monday, January 27, 2014

Review: The Desolation of Smaug

It makes the Lord of the Rings fan in me sad to say it, but I honestly was not that impressed with The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Sure, we got to go back to Bag End and they got Martin Freeman to play Bilbo, but there’s tons of dwarves everywhere that you can’t keep straight unless you memorize them beforehand and Gandalf is acting like a super creepy dude, “hey I knew your mom so it’s okay for me to be here and by the way you should come with us on this road trip and you won’t mind if I bring a few of my friends?” There was some cool action, and the endearing The Hobbit-esque tendency of getting captured and nearly killed every time they turned around. (“What, really? Again?”)
When my husband asked me if I wanted to go see The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, I shrugged and said, “Okay… If you want, I guess.” This weekend, we headed off to East Park, the last theater in town still playing it.
I’m not sure what I was expecting. Maybe the mediocre feeling I had after leaving the theater last year when An Unexpected Journey ended? I knew The Desolation of Smaug had plenty of things going for it: it was made by Peter Jackson, was going to be the same interesting story I’d read when I was eleven or twelve. Plus, I knew from internet rumor that Bilbo’s conversation with the dragon was in there. Maybe I didn’t want to be the same kind of disappointed by going in with hopeful feelings.
I did expect more party elk.
Of course, I loved it. Anything that can make the group’s trip through Mirkwood more clear is bound to be an improvement on the book, and speaking of improvements, I enjoyed the addition of Tauriel. The three Lord of the Rings movies had so much material to cover, it was understandable that some things be left out. When you’re making three movies based on one book, moviegoers should see the need for a little more material to be added. And everyone enjoys a good love story.
The barrel scene was great (though the “Bombur knocking orcs all over the place and then fighting from inside the barrel” gag was a little bit much), the conversation Bilbo and Balin have before he goes after the arkenstone was hilarious, and the banter with the dragon was awesome. And the ending was perfect!
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug was such a fun movie. The addition of Evangeline Lily, Peter Jackson with his carrot in Bree, Stephen Colbert the king of all Tolkien nerds, and Stephen Fry made the original story more enjoyable. It was wonderful, and the best way that it differed from An Unexpected Journey was that it made me wish it was July so I could go see the next one!
We stood up and stretched as the ending credits began to roll, and listened to Ed Sheeran’s I See Fire playing over them. We left before the song was over, but the second I got home, I looked it up on youtube and hunted out the lyrics.
I see fire
Inside the mountain
I see fire
Burnin’ the trees
I see fire
Hollowing souls
I see fire
Blood on the breeze
The idea of fire “hollowing souls” perfectly captures what the people of Laketown would feel every day. Gazing up at the Lonely Mountain, they would have given anything not to see fire. Fire meant the end of everything to them: their boats would be charred and unable to aid them, their homes would burn, and their lives would be lost. The fire would hollow their souls, leaving them hopeless.
Bilbo’s final line of the movie, “What have we done?” shows that he understands what fire will do to the people who awaited the dragon’s wrath.

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