The Desolation of Smaug


As an avid Lord of the Rings fan I was excited for the release of the new Hobbit movie. After seeing the first movie I was disappointed, however, my belief in second chances led me to see the second part.
Throughout the movie I kept asking myself “where is the plot?” There was a distinct lack of actual plot; while fight scenes lasted forever, the important story and politics lasted minutes. Yes, as humans we can’t sit through long dialogues, but I felt most of the story was lost in the film. For example there was a scene with the giant spiders that had actual meaning in The Hobbit book was a fifteen minute scene of Bilbo and the dwarves killing spiders.
I feel the whole movie was just action and all meaning was lost. When reading the book I got back story, foreshadowing, description of characters and a real “feel” for what was going on in the world. But in the movie it was just elves beheading orcs and dwarves ripping legs off spiders.
Also, the use of Computer Generated Images (CGI) was novice. There was way too much of it and the quality was poor. I understand that one can’t get a real dragon or real giant spiders to film, and its impossible to recreate a perfect life-like image, but it definitely could have been better.
At one point in the movie where the dwarves were captured by the elves, there was a scene with Thranduil and Legolas that I couldn’t take seriously. I don’t know if it was part of the character of Thranduil to act terribly, but it felt so fake. The sudden shift in mood and random movements from the conversation was unrealistic. I felt as though it was supposed to be a serious moment in the plot line (one of the few) and it was portrayed badly.
The fact that the main antagonist in the story is an orc is upsetting in itself, the book mentioned few orcs and there was not a lot of contact with them. The only purpose for the pale orc is to add a main adversary to the plot. In the books there are several antagonists but none take the “villain” role.
The criteria for most big movies now is for there to be one big bad guy and a single protagonist. In The Hobbit book there were several small antagonists and obstacles, such as the Witch King, the “Necromancer” (Sauron), the elf-king Thranduil, The Great Goblin and of course Smaug. Without a main antagonist to follow throughout the whole story, the movie would seem to have no immediate direction. In my opinion the need to reach the Lonely Mountain was direction enough.
Overall, this movie is terrible if you have read the book, but it is probably decent if you haven’t. However, there is so much action in this film that only if you were four would you be able to enjoy it. If you just like watching swords cut off head and slice clean through things this is the movie to see. Those who actually wanted plot shouldn’t go see this.