Bookish Topic Tuesday
The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug
So I finally got around to seeing this movie (hey it came out like 2 weeks later in Australia than most parts of the world!) and I would have written something up yesterday to match Tuesday, but a late post counts, cause it’s Tuesday somewhere right? Anyway, back to the movie. So somehow Peter Jackson got the idea to split a reasonably short book into three movies, the first one was out last year (well actually 2 years ago, but a year before this one) and the last will be out at the end of this year. Having read The Hobbit, his decision actually makes more sense than if you haven’t read the book. There’s plenty of instances where things are skipped over, like the last battle which doesn’t take all that long, or a walk which happens in a sentence. Then there’s all the stuff that happens beyond the scope of the book, like Gandalf meeting Thorin, or going to Dol Guldur or the orcs chasing them down. Since there’s all this stuff, it makes some sense that there is so much movie detail.That being said, around nine hours of movie is probably excessive. I really think that money was the major factor behind this to be honest. They planned two movies, and they should have done it that way, and then released extra stuff on the extended editions like they did with the Lord of the Rings movies. That way people who aren’t as interested in sitting in a cinema for nine hours still get to see a pretty good movie, and then all the more ‘hard-core’ fans get to see all the stuff they want, in a long format which they don’t mind about. Three movies inherently means that there is a whole extra box office release to gain about a billion dollars, so, I’m not surprised there was a change. Of course there is STILL extended editions of The Hobbit already, so I guess that my option would mean they would be extended quite significantly, but I think people would be happy about that (except major fans who would want to see it in HFR, 4K, 3D instead of 2D on your smaller tv – perhaps they should show two different screenings, one long version, one condensed!)
Having said all that, I don’t care that the movie was three hours (nearly), and I love all the extra detail. Having just read Unfinished Tales and The Silmarillion, it was nice to see some extra stuff which I was familiar with, like Gandalf going to see Thorin to convince him to take back the Lonely Mountain. Obviously there were differences in what happened, as with everything, but it was still nice to see.
Speaking of changes, the one that stood out the most was probably their interaction with Beorn. I wasn’t overly impressed with it, I would have much rathered the book version where Gandalf enters and tells and interesting story and slowly the dwarves arrive until Beorn just doesn’t mind their presence. That was clever, instead of them just running into the house, and Beorn guarding against orcs. And there was no real need to make Kili nearly die from a morgul blade, just so they could create this love interest between Kili and Tauriel. Now, I actually think Tauriel herself is awesome, and a great addition (one thing Tolkien lacked was an abundance of female characters, seriously the most was just Galadriel and a fleeting moment of Arwen, and a female hobbit or two. That’s it, and that’s pretty poor). But I thought it a bit gimmicky, to have this whole forbidden love (between dwarf and elf) and a love triangle appearing (between Tauriel, Kili and Legolas), though this stuff sells tickets apparently. Anyway, that’s all I can really remember of the changes, though I think I noticed a few more in the cinema.
One thing that annoyed me a little was the interaction between Smaug and all the dwarves. Most of it was fine, but, I can’t for the life of me think why they thought it was a good idea to start a furnace to melt down tonnes of gold to create this statute thing (which was conveniently in existence in mould form) to trick Smaug to be in its path when all the molten gold came down, when molten gold would DO NOTHING TO A DRAGON. Like, all it did was make him golden for a moment. Did they think he’d burn, he’s a damn dragon! Did they think the gold would suddenly solidify and trap him, if so, they should have poured water or something onto it to try and do that. Also how on earth did Thorin survive riding along the molten gold river on a metal shield? Metal conducts heat, so it would have been super hot. I know these are super special dwarves, but, they couldn’t survive that.
Regardless of that, I found it enjoyable. And I still really liked it. I guess that’s something I come to terms with better with movies than books, I can dislike parts, but overall I like it. Perhaps that’s because a movie only goes for a few hours, whereas I invest more time with a book. That also means that the parts of a book can tend to drag on, while in a movie things will change pretty quickly.
I only saw this one in regular 2D because the cinema cancelled the 3D HFR that I had planned, and they didn’t warn anyone about that, so, I went with someone else expecting to see it, but we were disappointed (though we saved probably $6 each!). Anyway, the movie was still visually very good.
If you haven’t seen it yet, then might as well wait for DVD, it’s good, but unless you are a fan (and you would have seen it already!) and really want to see it at the movies, then might as well wait so you can then pause it to go to the loo or get a snack and not miss anything. But for me, it was still a very good movie.