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14 December 2013 @ 08:42 pm
Picoreview: The Desolation of Smaug  

Picoreview: The Desolation of Smaug: It is my personal hope that there will be a 2 hour Director’s Cut of The Hobbit that only has, you know. The stuff in the book.

We re-watched An Unexpected Journey last night, which is frankly a long, long movie in which almost nothing happens. Smaug possibly, if you look at it sideways, has more happen, but (major structural spoilers ahoy)

they cut the movie in the wrong fucking place. I mean, as in, they left me genuinely pissed off at the end. The movie’s title is the desolation of Smaug. They spend the whole movie building up to Smaug (in fact, it took so long that I was actually beginning to wonder if we were really going to *see* him in this movie), we finally get him, and you know, to my mind, the desolation of Smaug means we’re gonna get to see him do some desolating.

And they fucking cut it before he razes Laketown.


Smaug himself was very good. I’m exceedingly picky about dragons, and while I prefer mine to have four legs and two wings, I’m willing to concede that Tolkien’s vision was different and by those lights, Smaug is hands down the best CGI dragon I’ve ever seen. He remains in scale (why, gentle readers, do dwarves, who are a short people, build such high fucking ceilings?), he’s nicely voiced, I like the shape of his pupil, and there’s a genuinely beautiful moment with him covered in molten gold.

It was nice to see Legolas again, I guess. I was happier to see Legolas’s human half-brotherBard, whom I enjoyed, and the guy playing Legolas & Bard’s father is awesome levels of wood-elf crazy, totally for the win. (No, they have not really made them brothers. It’s just they look enough alike that when I first saw the trailers I kept thinking that couldn’t actually be Bard because he looked too much like an elf. Like Legolas, specifically. So in my head canon, half brothers.)

I loved the wholly invented Tauriel. I loved Kili. Ted tells me that Kili dies at the end of THE HOBBIT, which I do not remember (I remember very little from the book, which I read once 30 years ago), and I’m like KILI DIES? SO BASICALLY THERE WILL BE NOTHING IN THE LAST MOVIE THAT I LIKE?

And honestly, right now I’m pissed off enough about being cheated out of the Laketown scene that I’m disinclined to see the final movie anyway.

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

Chrysoulachrysoula on December 14th, 2013 08:07 pm (UTC)
Wait what? I assumed they'd actually cut it with defeating Smaug and then add a bunch to the Battle of Five Armies.
kitmizkit on December 14th, 2013 08:08 pm (UTC)
(no subject) - chrysoula on December 14th, 2013 08:10 pm (UTC) (Expand)
anthony_lionanthony_lion on December 14th, 2013 08:26 pm (UTC)
Strange, really, that a single book can end up as 3 movies...
It's not even particularly thick.

I wonder what they'll do with the Silmarillon?
(Probably flesh it out to 5 3hour movies.)

cgbookcat1: giraffecgbookcat1 on December 14th, 2013 09:27 pm (UTC)
The Silmarillion would be best as a miniseries, I think. There are too many story arcs to fit the movie format well.
(no subject) - anthony_lion on December 14th, 2013 10:18 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Deborah Blakedeborahblakehps on December 14th, 2013 09:42 pm (UTC)
I'm going to see it next week. Thank goodness I'm braced. I can go in pre-annoyed and save myself some time :-)
M. C. A. Hogarth: presenthaikujaguar on December 14th, 2013 09:49 pm (UTC)
Everyone I've talked to so far who's seen it has said, "Well, it's nothing like the book, but--"

And then I wonder, "Why did he make a Hobbit movie if it wasn't going to be a Hobbit movie?" :P
anthony_lionanthony_lion on December 14th, 2013 10:15 pm (UTC)
Who knows what directors think, or if they think at all...

For some reason or another, someone also thought that 'Quantuum of Solace' was a James Bond story, that the main character of Brin's "The Postman" was a hero. There's the travesty known as "Starship Troopers"...

There's this movie "Prometheus" where a bunch of upposedly archeologists travel to a distant star system in a spaceship. What do they do when they arrive in orbit around a planet with a stormy atmosphere? Launch drones and do a radar/infrared/manetometer mapping, or land?
They find an artificial structure to land near soon before a storm hits, and do what?
Yeah... Head out... They even take their bl**dy helmets off while in the structure... Doesn't matter if they can breathe. No self-respecting scientist would risk damaging the site that way.

I really, really hope you haven't been subjected to the Dungeons & Dragons movies. It's not something I would have wished on my worst enemy...

Science Fiction and Fantasy seems to mean "we can do whatever we like to the story and not care if it looks horrid or has plots you could drive a Moxy D16B dumptruck through..."
(I challenge anyone to find one thing that is best mined with the Babylon5 reject ship that was in the Star Trek movie a few years ago... )

And the Sci-fi channel changed name to the SyFy channel...
(no subject) - philippos42 on December 15th, 2013 09:21 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - anthony_lion on December 15th, 2013 10:06 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - silkiemom on December 15th, 2013 10:54 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - anthony_lion on December 16th, 2013 06:09 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - chrysoula on December 16th, 2013 07:33 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - anthony_lion on December 16th, 2013 08:31 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - anghara on December 15th, 2013 01:18 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - haikujaguar on December 16th, 2013 02:37 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - mizkit on December 15th, 2013 09:44 am (UTC) (Expand)
UrsulaVursulav on December 14th, 2013 10:25 pm (UTC)
All the hot dwarves die. All of them. If it's hot and dwarf, curtains. (Except for the bald biker one, who is semi-hot in an interesting sort of way.)

I found that bitterly cruel.
kitmizkit on December 15th, 2013 09:43 am (UTC)
You know, I knew this was your comment without seeing your username...

My interest in the third movie has pretty well bottomed out now. I don't want to wait another year to see Smaug raze Laketown, and I don't want to see it enough to pay for it and then leave the theatre when he's done because I don't want to watch all my favourites die either.

freyawfreyaw on December 14th, 2013 11:35 pm (UTC)
Dwarves build high ceilings so they can practice dwarf-tossing.
kitmizkit on December 15th, 2013 09:45 am (UTC)
+1 +1 +1 +1 +1!
(no subject) - anthony_lion on December 16th, 2013 06:06 am (UTC) (Expand)
Human pyramids? - rasmusb on December 17th, 2013 10:57 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Human pyramids? - mizkit on December 17th, 2013 11:01 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Brienzebrienze on December 15th, 2013 05:04 am (UTC)
Interesting. I saw it in a room full of game developers (literally - DH's company rented a theater as their Christmas party) and while everybody gasped at the end, and there were some comments of "no way" and "dude!" (my contribution) the tone of the room seemed to be impressed that they would end it there. It's a pretty ballsy thing to do.

Mostly though, I'm just glad that the House Stark-stylized Qwertee "Desolation is Coming" t-shirt that I got hours before the movie and thought I would only get to wear the once, actually is still valid to wear for the next year.

Also, if you're a knitter, His Golden Lair (Ravelry link) is Smaug-inspired and was designed months before the movie even came out, which I think is pretty impressive.
kitmizkit on December 15th, 2013 09:47 am (UTC)
I didn't hear a reaction in my theatre except from my husband, who was sitting beside me, and who also couldn't believe they cut it there. I believe my own actual words were, "Are you fucking kidding me?"

That is an absolutely beautiful shawl/throw.
(no subject) - tersa on December 16th, 2013 05:56 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(Deleted comment)
Alix (Tersa): Hazel-Rah (tersa)tersa on December 16th, 2013 05:53 pm (UTC)
I pretty much agree with everything you said.

I've been mulling it over ever since I got out of the theater on Saturday, and the non-spoilerly elevator pitch I condensed my criticism down to is that it feels like Peter Jackson moved from loving the work to being in love with the work. And that's a terrible place to be when you're trying to tell a story.

There was way too much Legolas and the stupid Legolas Tricks he started inserting as far back as Two Towers (which was a big reason the barrel scene was as long as it was), he tried too hard to sell Tauriel, and Tauriel/Kili (I was just happy to have her there *), and I literally wanted to drag him out and begin beating him with clubs when he took his lifting of the Kingsfoil and treatment scene wholesale from Fellowship. Seriously, when they said "Do you have any kingsfoil?" and Bard said, "It's a weed", I was fully expecting Aragorn to come strolling swooping into the scene five minutes later to heal him. And although he didn't, doing an almost 1:1 copy of Arwen-Tauriel and Frodo-Kili...(*)@#()@*#()*@#()*@)(#*

But OMG, yes, it was really unfortunate how much Luke Evans looks like Orlando Bloom. And also how easy it is to tell that Orlando Bloom is a man in his 30s instead of his 20s--as someone who keys off facial structure for recognition, it was actually very distracting.

But, good points--the scene between Gloin and Legolas. The butterflies. Smaug--his CGI was fantastic, Cumberbatch was great as his voice, and I loved all the stuff between Smaug and Bilbo. That moment of mesmerization at the giant golden statue. The golden dragon, and the glittering droplets as he shook them off in that sinuous twist. Also, the Laketown spy sequence, that was nicely choreographed and shot, and it amuses me even more to find out that Stephen Colbert was buried in it somewhere, as were a couple of his kids (I'm assuming).

* - It was great to have a female character, a strong female character, and I actually enjoyed the sense of the "love triangle" with Legolas and Kili, but I think the way Jackson pushed so hard to sell her to the Tolkien fans actually ruined it for everyone else and made her more cardboard and two dimensional than if he just treated her like any other character and let the story flow naturally. It's not like anyone who hasn't read the book would know she didn't belong there.

Edited at 2013-12-16 05:57 pm (UTC)
kitmizkit on December 16th, 2013 06:15 pm (UTC)
I have to say that my sense of the 'love triangle' was really very much that Legolas was kinda on his own in there. I mean, sure, if Kili hadn't shown up and if Mr Crazy Daddy Elf King hadn't forbade it, no doubt Tauriel woulda been happy to hook up with Legolas, but drop the dwarf into the mix and there was nooooooo competition. Which actually I was just fine with. :)

Orlando Bloom is still a very pretty man, but yes, he's a man now, rather than a boy--I think that when LotR was actually filming he was in fact still in his teens when filming started, because wasn't it like 3 years of filming or something, all told? Plus post-production? But yeah. They frankly could've left him out and just gone with Tauriel and Kili and it would've been smokin'.

There were a lot of moments I loved, and you've highlighted several of them. (Actually, my favourite moment in the barrel scene was Legolas hopping along on their heads, primarily because for once it looked like he actually had to concentrate to do that. :)) But cutting before the raze was ... really bad.
(no subject) - tersa on December 16th, 2013 06:48 pm (UTC) (Expand)
rasmusbrasmusb on December 17th, 2013 10:48 pm (UTC)
I totally agree about the half-brother thing. When I first got a glimpse of Bard in the trailers -- I thought they had pulled a slightly brawnier Will Turner from the Pirate movies. :D

Also loved the inclusion of Tauriel. Her flirtation with Kili was cute -- particularly with the a glowering elf in the back ground.

I also didn't mind the length of the barrel scene -- then again if it has Legolas/elven battle moves in it -- I find it an acceptable inclusion. :P

I didn't mind the movie overall -- maybe I had lower expectations. It did send me back into the LotR movies -- and I was mildly offended by how Gimli was constantly used as comic relief throughout. ;p