I so wanted to love this movie. But, I didn’t.
That’s a hard thing for a Tolkien geek to admit. After all I so loved Peter Jackson’s film interpretations of The Lord of the Rings books. They brought me a whole new appreciation for the books, and as a side story that’s too long to relate here, a whole community of friends I met online with whom I’ve now shared more than a decade of friendship, weddings, births, deaths and a significant amount of Irish Car Bombs.
I liked the first installation of The Hobbit, and I’ve been anticipating seeing The Desloation of Smaug. Shows and schedules and holidays and parties kept me from seeting it until tonight.
My son, the film student, pointed out some problems with filming. I wouldn’t have known why they bothered me, but I would have known something wasn’t right. The younger son liked the movie, but he too recognized differences with the book.
Here, in no particular order, are the problems I have with the movie (spoiler warning).
Legolas – Sure it was cool to have Orlando Bloom back in the movie. But the thing about elves is that they don’t age. Hugo Weaving did not look like an older version of Elrond in An Unexpected Journey. But Orlando Bloom looked both older and wider (that’s not a typo). He’s supposed to be sixty or so years younger.
Elves in general – All of the elves looked a little weird.
Bard – Luke Evans looks too much like Orlando Bloom. The younger son pegged him as Will from the Pirates of the Carribean movies, which of course, was Orlando Bloom.
These people are masters of special effects. Couldn’t they make the elves look younger and Bard look different?
Gandalf – Way too much extra story that’s not in The Hobbit book. And it messes with the story in The Fellowship of the Ring. It’s obvious that somewhere on this journey (as he does on the book), Gandalf learns about the ring. If he knows that Sauron is on the rise, wouldn’t he suspect the ring a long time before Bilbo’s birthday party in FOTR and before he rides off to meet with Saruman? See, this part doesn’t just mess with the book, it messes with the other movies.
Benedict Cumberbatch – Love him as Sherlock. Love him as Khan. And sure it’s cool that he’s in a movie with Martin Freeman. But with the modifications to his voice, it really could have been anyone. That said, the animation of Smaug is pretty cool.
Tauriel – There are no, or very few, females in the books, so I understand why Peter Jackson feels the need to include them. And, as a LOST geek, I was excited that Evangeline Lilly had been cast, but to have an elf maiden become infatuated with a dwarf (and vice versa) kind of made me want to cheer for the smoke monster.
Beorn – The human version just bothered me. I can’t quite say why. Although I could have believed it if he had a huge library of books and an enchanted rose that he kept under a glass.
The spider scene was cool even though it didn’t exactly follow the book. I could deal with elves rescuing them since that helped to move the story along.
Other things in the movie that weren’t in the book:
- The dwarves didn’t fight Smaug.
- Kili didn’t get stabbed by a Morgul-blade and/or fall in love with an elf.
- None of the dwarves got left behind in Lake Town while Thorin and company went off to the mountain.
All in all, even thought it strays significantly from the books, the movie was enjoyable and those who haven’t read the book will probably enjoy it even more.
Still, I could have waited for the DVD.
Image: LOTR Wikia