re: Official Hobbit The Desolation of Smaug Review Thread (spoilers)(Posted by OMLandshark on 12/14/13 at 5:49 pm to Mr Gardoki)
Just watched it, and I do have some mixed feelings about it.
First off, whatever you do, do not see it in 48FPS. It took me until getting to the Lonely Mountain for me to get remotely used to it, and even then it looked like a cartoon. I can not fathom what Peter Jackson is thinking with this format. With a nature documentary, it's great, but really anything else, especially when your movie has a lot of special effects in it, it's just awful and frustrating.
And with that ridiculously abrupt conclusion, this almost certainly should have been 2 and not 3 films. There's no way when Del Toro and Jackson were originally writing it that they had any intention of ending it there. The Hobbit is a tricky one to stop in the middle, but I guess I would have stopped the second one at the Spider Pit, with the Dwarves being captured and Bilbo escaping, then kick off the next one with them escaping from the elves, briefly stop in Lake-Town, and then head straight to the Lonely Mountain to where we meet Smaug about an hour or less into the film.
I'm hesitant to judge it without seeing the truly finished product, but they have been taking their sweet time with the filler. Beorn wasn't great, the escape scene was a bit over the top (though thankfully no where near as bad as the mine sequence in the last film), and they spent way too much time in Lake-Town. When they intermingled it with Smaug's appearances, I actually got a bit frustrated watching Legolas kill some Orcs that aren't going to really matter in the long run.
I would like to say these were minor nitpicks, but they're pretty major for me. That said I'll wait until next year to fully judge it, and I do think this is a better installment than the previous one, but it's still not near the greatness of Lord of the Rings due to the sheer amount of tediousness going into it. For all I know, they may grow on me once I see the finished product as well as their Extended Editions (if that were possible), but not for the time being.
That being said, I did quite enjoy myself. The spider attack scene was great, and really loved how they showed the Ring already taking slight control over Bilbo.
I did enjoy the addition of Legolas and the original character of Tauriel. It makes sense that Legolas was likely present for many of the events of "The Hobbit", so why not add him? And Tauriel was great too to break-up the sausagefest, and actually really liked the love story between her and Kili (even if it did get corny at the end). Those were both good additions to the story, even if I wanted them to stay more focused on the dragon at the end.
And speaking of the dragon, holy shite did Jackson just blow Smaug out of the water. Absolutely perfect, and my biggest concern going into the Hobbit. It's curious to me that the scenes Jackson knows he can't afford to frick up, he succeeds gloriously, but has tended to mess up or stay too long in the non-iconic scenes. Jackson got his personality down to a T, and Cumberbatch was perfectly cast. He has the narcissistic, cocky, sly, and sociopathic vibe of the character that actually makes you squirm. Maybe the best non-human villain since HAL 9000.
3 stars out of 4
1) Fellowship of the Ring
2) Return of the King
3) The Two Towers
4) The Desolation of Smaug
5) An Unexpected Journey