Some Reactions to “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug”

I have published my review of “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” on Xenite.Org. I was not very pleased with the movie.

We have a forum discussion where you can share your thoughts about “Desolation of Smaug” on SF-Fandom.

I have looked at some of the other reviews. Fans and professionals alike seem to be struggling to find a consistent point of view about it. For example, the review at TheOneRing.Net is not as positive as it starts out to be. There are just so many points that writer David Baxter calls out. He says he loved the movie, but he couldn’t help but point out some weirdness. He may be right, in that some of these issues will be better resolved in the Extended Edition, but I think it’s sad that you have to excuse a theatrical release by saying it will be fixed in a DvD/Blu-Ray release.

We’re supposed to be getting good movies in the theaters, not in the after-market.

Over at The Linky Blogger (another Xenite/SF-Fandom site) our writer Buck Caneer doesn’t like “Desolation of Smaug” and he explains why. I kind of enjoyed the escape from the dungeons but I get his point.

Our writer SciFiGuy at Communizine calls “The Desolation of Smaug” a travesty. Somewhat harsh, but it’s an emotional experience for science fiction/fantasy fans whenever their favorite franchises are updated.

Laura Hudson at Wired thinks “Desolation of Smaug” is better than “An Unexpected Journey”. Hm. I actually LIKED “An Unexpected Journey” so I have to disagree with her on that point. Overall she seems to be pretty down on the movie.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer gives “Desolation of Smaug” a B+, which is not exactly high acclaim. Tim Hall nonetheless seems to enjoy how Peter Jackson stretches everything out, even where Bilbo “loses” the ring.

The Business Insider canvassed the “professional” reviews leading up to the movie and concluded that everyone is happier with the technical implementation of the film. They say the 48-frames-per-second is not as jarring as it was in the first movie. If the best you can say about a movie is that the technology is being used properly, what does that say about a movie?

The Atlantic says that “The Hobbit” [proves “more is less”] and calls it “bad fan fiction”.

Chris Heller at Metro Weekly pulls no punches:

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is about an egomaniacal monster, hell-bent on hoarding his treasures above all else. He surrounds himself with a mountain of riches, all the more to remind the world of his irrefutable supremacy. He boasts at length about his own greatness. He’s smitten by his own triumphs.

This monster is Peter Jackson, and he is worse than any dragon that ever roamed Middle Earth….

Salon comes out and says “Peter Jackson … Leaves Tolkien Behind” while praising the movie for being exactly what Christopher Tolkien feared it would be: all action, suitable for all ages. Of course, like so many film reviewers, Andrew O’Hehir doesn’t know a Jacksonism (like the goofy crypt for the Nazgul) from a Tolkienism (I’ll let you know if I find one in “Desolation of Smaug”). Perhaps he sums it up best:

There is no question that much of the magic and mystery and simplicity that made Tolkien’s work so striking in the first place has been sacrificed here to the demands of an excellent but essentially familiar CGI action-adventure flick, closer in manner and spirit to “The Avengers” than to Tolkien’s transmogrified fairy tale.

This late in the game (this is Peter Jackson’s fifth foray into Tolkien’s nomenclature) it should be obvious to everyone that Peter Jackson is not being 100% faithful to the books, so there is no point in complaining about that fact.

But what may make this film successful — perhaps even more successful than “An Unexpected Journey” — is that no one can seem to agree on what they dislike about the movie. Everyone has their own nitpicks but they all agree there’s lots of action and a really cool dragon involved.

It could have been worse. I’m glad it wasn’t. But I think it could have been much, much better.

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