I was really disappointed with the last two Hobbit movies. If the Lord of The Rings movies, were just walking and talking. The Hobbit was just talking, and talking, and talking, some action here and there. Then more talking, and talking. The good news is that this movie is shorter than any Peter Jackson Middle Earth film I’ve seen.
Ironically Peter Jackson started off as an indie filmmaker. Once he became “Hollywood,” he seemed to forget where he came from. His version of King Kong was big and clunky. Focusing more on special effects than character development. The public wanted him to write/direct/produce The Hobbit. Who knew he was going to take “The One Book,” and break it into three films. I’ve read the book as a kid, as well as watching those Rankin Bass animated films. The Lord of The Rings had more interesting characters, battles, higher stakes regrading good and evil. While the Hobbit just deals with Dwarfs and Halflings going to fight a dragon. Reclaim their gold and birthright, and fight off Goblins, Elves, Men and Orcs.
It was both an trying and ambitious project for Peter Jackson. Did this need to be broken into three films? The movie does pick off where the second left off. Bilbo and his companions forced Smaug to leave The Lonely Mountain. Taking his anger out on The Lakepeople. Since Bilbo raided Smaug’s treasury and the Dwarfs failed to kill him. We get a great fifteen – twenty minutes of Smaug flying and frying around the town. There is a lot of yelling and screaming from the locals. Fortunately it’s not cartoon yelling and screaming. We get different angles of Smaug flying into the town, performing fatal assaults. As well as Bilbo and the others watching in Horror from the mountain. The good news is that is an not cut scenes from a video game.
Thankfully Bard the Bowman (Luke Evans), is able to defeat Smaug. I didn’t feel like I needed to plug in my PS3/Xbox One controller when watching this. Bard becomes the King of The Lakemen. After Stephen Fry (The former LakeTown Master) is killed while feeling Smaug. We see him gather what’s left of his people and heads them to The Lonely Mountain to start over. It comes off as post September 11th. People are caught without warning, a hero rises from the ashes and tires to rebuild. There is also some comic relief from comedic villain Alfrid (Ryan Gage). He’s basically there to run when there is trouble, acting all Doctor Smith like. A little of him goes a long way, thankfully his scenes are tight.
Onto the the final two acts. The Lakemen and Elves try to convince the Dwarfs to share some of Smaug’s treasure. However Thorin (The Dwarfin King), has become corrupt with greed and refuses to share. There is also a subplot regarding Gandalf The Grey who was captured by Saurn’s army. With Gandalf’s staff destroyed he was about to be executed. Until he is saved by Galaderiel, Elrond, and Saruman The White. This rescue/battle scene did feel like the cut scenes of a video game. Granted Saruman (Christopher Lee), was an hoot to watch. But Galaderiel (Cate Blanchett), with heavy C.G.I. effects and processed voice followed by her overacting doesn’t help.
Again, I haven’t read the book in years. But I could have sworn that this was supposed to be Bilbo’s story. Instead it’s more Thorin’s story. Reclaiming his gold, has caused Dragon Sickness. Which is the same as Gold Fever from Disney’s Ducktales. Thorin’s scenes aren’t hammy. I was afraid he was going to act all Gollum. We do see how his new found greed has caused tension with the Lakemen, Elves, and fellow Dwarfs. Luckily his senses are reclaimed when he has visions of his wealth consuming him.
Out of the three Hobbit films, this is one I want to own on DVD. From the opening Smaug destroying The Laketown. To Bard the Bowman defeating Smaug. Gathering his fellow countrymen to safety. The Gathering of first three armies. A nice cameo from Billy Connolly as an Dwarf general. Not to mention the cameo from Christopher Lee. There are great performances from Martin Freeman, and Ian. I was never bored by the action scenes. The dialogue was a little tongue and cheek. The cinematography is not as grand as The Lord of the Rings. Same goes with the Score, Sound, and settings. It was an trying effort, and worth seeing this Holiday season.
The Battle for Middle Earth Begins
The Battle scenes are not as epic as Two Towers, and Return of the King. This is more Thorin's story than Bilbo's. Wish there were more scenes with Billy Connolly.