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December 31, 2013

wherein I turn into a medium-sized pinkish rage monster

Or, I Have Been Made Angry and Know Not Why, or, I Have Been Stabbed in the Back and It May as Well Have Been Literally, or, I Can No Longer Trust Anyone to Do Anything Right, or, I Can Hear His  Beloved Bones Moaning In His the Depths of His Dark Grave, or, I Present a Brutally Honest Opinion That No One Hates As Much As I (just remember that in the dark times to come, okay?), or my personal favourite, The Sun Has Risen Black on the Horizon and I Am Confused and Troubled and I Don't Know What to Do About It Or Anything Because Holy Oliphaunts I am Angry.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug poster
So.  I've seen The Desolation of Smaug (a couple weeks by now.  This took a while.).  That great and grand spectacle we've been eagerly and impatiently awaiting since An Unexpected Journey graced us with it's glorious presence a year ago.  The movie that would smite me through the heart with it's undoubtedly inevitable magnificence.  Allegedly Peter Jackson's favourite of 5 Middle-earth films.  And all I can think is, "This must be what Edmund felt like when the White Witch promised him a throne and a lifetime supply of Turkish Delight and instead he just a hunk of stale bread, a mug of ice, and an all-inclusive stay in a bloody deep-freeze on a dungeon, only he must have had some inkling that things might not go well, and I actually didn't see this coming at all."

No one wanted to love this movie more than I did, okay?  Let me just get that out there.  Weeell, I can't say no one.  The people camping out in full hand-sewn costume on opening night were, I'm going to assume, a bit more stoked than I was.  But that's not the point.

I'm not going to say it sucked and I hated it, because it neither sucked nor did I hate it.  I didn't sit through the whole thing fiddling with my 3D glasses (the 3D, by the way, was the best I'd ever seen.  But trying to get 3D glasses to sit straight over top of regular glasses + Tauriel hair = really dumb) wishing it would be over so I could hurry up and track PJ down and give him a hulking chunk of my outraged mind.  
No, no.  The reoccurring thought going through my head the whole time was, "Hmm.  That bit could've should've been better, but no doubt the next scene will be brilliant, and it will certainly be amazing before the end.  How could it not be?  This is Peter Jackson, maker of the greatest films of all time."

Turns ol' PJ here is not a genius as one would like to believe.

It started out on a good note.  Gandalf and Thorin meeting in Bree.  That was a good scene.  

Then Bilbo doing his nose-twitch thing while expertly spying on some orcs.  

Then it was all just, "Ermergersh, a bear!  Oh look! a little barn we can chill in while we hide from this nasty bear who's trying to brutally slaughter us!  Wait, the barn belong's to the bear?  And the bear is actually a menacingly boring old porcupine man with a fetish for the '80s look?  Well, at least he has magical identical ponies he'll maybe let us ride." 
The Beorn scene, which I was so so so looking forward to, was butchered.  And as if it was ashamed of its own disgraceful appearance, it was rushed over.  Where was that classic introduction scene?  Why did Beorn live in a barn?  Where was the dwarves' song that should've been in there (I was so excited for that)?  And why in bloody heck did Beorn look like a mulleted porcupine made of boring?  I'm a bit lot upset about that.

And then Mirkwood.  Also rushed.  And done pretty wrong.  No Bombur in the river?  Bah.  

The spider scene was pretty okay.  Especially when you see Bilbo's growing obsession with the Ring, and then him realizing the hold it has over him.  That was brilliant.  But that's really supposed to be his scene, in which the dwarves really gain respect for him, but it was kind of stolen from him by the Elves.  (Actually, that's basically how the rest of the movie goes, as well.)  

Which brings me to the Elves. *sarcasm warning in effect as of now*

Thranduil was very cool.  Very cool indeed.
Hmmm...looks like another good day for LEE!!!!! :D

Legolas should, of course, be in it.  It's only logical that the Prince of Mirkwood be in Mirkwood.  His makeup is truly terrible, though.  But I guess Orlando is getting on in years.  He's obviously getting arthritis.  Why else would his fight sequences look so stiff?  

And then Tauriel.  Unlike some of you, I was always fully prepared to like her.  A lot.  Sure, she was a bit over publicized.  But that's no reason to hate a girl, is it?  Anyway, I thought she made an excellent replacement for Bilbo as the main character!  Who needs Bilbo?  Bilbo's boring.  It's a shame the movie had to be called The Hobbit and not The She-Elf, don't you think?  And if you make a female character who can kill that many orcs per second, you don't even need to give her any depth or development!  

*laughs maniacally and slams head into wall*

In all seriousness though, I do like Tauriel.  But I really, really, really wanted to like her more.  I thought that I would.  I was excited to have a new female character in these movies.  But I just didn't see any depth of character in her and development was nil.  

Her relationship with Kili (or "Kiliel", as it has been so dubbed) was another thing I was actually optimistic about beforehand.  I don't really have too much trouble with it.  Except it was a bit cheesey at times, and, thinking about it, it kind of draws a bit of the significance away from Gimli and Legolas's friendship, as well as Gimli and Galadriel's.  But I did really like that scene with the rune stone (and he talks about his mother making him promise to come back to her and I just about curled up on that gross, popcorn-covered theatre floor and died) where she's talking about the stars and it was just really pretty, okay?  And I did like her passion and care for all of Middle-earth, and not just for Mirkwood, as the rest of the Mirkwood Elves seem to.  

The, shall we call it, Glowing Athelas scene at first struck me as a stupid attempt to recreate the scene in FOTR in which Arwen starts glowing.  But maybe it's just an Elf-healing thing?  I don't know.  I, personally, have never been healed from deadly illness by an Elf armed with Athelas.  But I will let you know if it ever happens and whether or not the Elf glows. 

The barrel escape scene was kind of lacklustre.  Legolas jumping on the dwarves heads and Bombur's ninja helicopter thing felt like they were trying force some sort of cheap humour on me.  Well.  I guess everyone else in that rather-full theatre was laughing.  I was just kinda like, "Wait, was that funny?  Should I be laughing?  I don't feel like laughing."

Bard though.  One of the very few things about DOS that actually exceeded my expectations.  

Instead of being just that random grim dude of the line of Girion who jumps up out of the blue and kills the dragon, we actually get to see his layers and depth and story.  He (and his family) are splendidly well done.  Definitely one of the highlights of this movie.  

Smaug was brilliant.  He looked brilliant.  He sounded brilliant (well...duh).  His scene with Bilbo was brilliant.  Until it wasn't.  All of a sudden Smaug had everything figured out (wait a second... Sherlock?  Is that you?) and Bilbo took off the Ring and then there was a lot of noise and somehow a lot of gold?  What the...?  But I ain't gonna lie bro, him shaking off that metric ton of molten gold against the night sky looked pretty magnificent. 

In conclusion, it's okay as a movie in it's own right, aside from the choppiness of it and it's lack of natural flow (it felt like it had been chopped into chunks and then sloppily stuck together with a dried-out bottle of craft glue).  

But as an adaptation of The Hobbit?  I'm not sure which gif is more applicable here.  Is it sad Batman?

Exasperated Ichabod?

Or judgmental Aragorn?

Let's go with all three.

Heaven knows AUJ wasn't perfect.  But it had so many good from-the-book moments that made it sparkle.  This one seemed to think it could get away without any of those.  All the good bits from the book were either cut or rushed to make room for Peter Jackson's own ideas.  It became a chaotic, noisy, sloppy shmozzle of orc-slashing and CGI (it often looked like a video game).  

Martin Freeman's flawless (as we saw in AUJ) performance as Bilbo could've carried much of the weight of it, but he was barely in it!  Did they forget who the main character is? 

It showed a complete disregard and disrespect for Tolkien and his beloved story; the sort of story that could've been told by a weather-beaten bard with an old harp in the halls of an Anglo Saxon lord 1200 years ago.  Where was the wit?  The classic humour?  The intelligence?  The charm and homeyness of it?  

I'm not such a fanatical purist that a movie has to be exactly like the book is based on.  I'm all for the director's artistic license.  Take The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, for instance.  It's possibly my favourite of the Chronicles of Narnia, and certainly one of my favourite books ever, but the movie, despite being so far from the book, still manages to be my favourite of those movies (well... LWW is maybe tied with it).  Things often need to be added to or taken away to make the story work as a movie.  A movie is different from a book, remember.  Making the barrel scene a little more intense (I said intense, not dumb) might be a better movie-thing than closing the dwarves in barrels for a couple days.  But that's all the excuse I'm making for that.  

Oh, and the effects in the Sauron vs Gandalf scene were really cool.  And Bard was brilliant.  

Now I'm done making excuses for it.

It's like the path through Mirkwood, you know?  Don't leave it.  Be creative, but don't leave the path!  Well, he left the path.  And the bloody fool went and got himself lost.  

So.  What did you think of it?  You probably loved it.  Well.  I'm very happy for you.  Please enjoy the happiness that should have been mine.  

On the upside though, There and Back Again can hardly be much worse.  More painful, perhaps.  But not worse.  Hopefully this was just a rebellious teenaged middle child or something.  

I'm going to go Hulk-smash something now.  Goodbye.  Happy New Year.  Not that I'll get much happiness out of it.  I've had my movie hijacked by idiots.  And then there was something about a falling bowtie and Amy Pond. 


  1. I really liked that movie, apart from the Lame Love Triangle Fail of Epic Proportions; however, Tauriel really annoyed me, and Beorn was simply and utterly the worst. He should've been big, buff, black-bearded and lumberjack-ish, not old, dim, and made entirely of eyebrows. There was a lot of lack of explanation. Maybe if they hadn't cut out so much, they wouldn't need all the filler. :/

    1. ^That's exactly how I've always pictured Beorn.

      Like I said, I do like Tauriel. But you'd think we'd be safe from the clich├ęd atrocities of the Love Triangle in a movie like this.

  2. Oh dear. I felt that AUJ hadn't quite done justice to Tolkien's vision so I went into Desolation with very little expectations and was pleasantly surprised. I suppose I'm such a bad fan that I'll take any Tolkienness I can get even if it's rushed, chopped up and thrown into a vat of mad orcs.

    And I'm a great Tauriel fan. Don't get me started on Legolas and Kili. I could talk for hours.

    I hope you like There and Back Again better! If you don't care about Thorin,Kili and Fili it won't hurt when they all die, right? *evil chuckle*

    1. I truly do envy your enjoyment of it. It's not a bad movie. But I'm at least 63% sure that if I saw it again, I would like it much better
      Oh wow, that hurts... Even if TABA isn't so good, it will still cut me deep I WILL BLEED.

  3. I actually am angry at myself for liking it as much as I did, although I am currently in a very heated war with myself over the fields of wHAT LEGOLAS EYELINER WHAT NO LOVE TRIANGLE WHAT IS THIS WALNUTS WHY IS SHE GLOWING EW STOP and SSHGDASHGAJKFGJKDFGSDFGSKJ BARDF MUSIC FTG HDEH TAURIEL GHSFSDFV YHJTRER THRANDUIL also your new design is prettier than I am.

    1. How I wish I had liked it, even for it's own sake. But strictly speaking, I dislike it more right now, as I'm sitting in this chair at home, than I did when I was actually watching it, so I guess that means I did like it? I don't even know anymore. BUT NO NO THE EYELINER AND THE LOVE TRIANGLE AND THE GLOWING? BARD AND THRANDUIL AND YES TAURIEL IS PRETTY COOL and she's from Alberta so I feel an automatic kinship with Tauriel so that's also cool.

      Thanks for the lovely compliment, girl, but you're talking rubbish.

  4. I loved Bard too. I had no idea he was going to be so...good! And I love how we get to know his family a bit too.


  5. Heeeeeeeeeeeee!!! I loved this post! It had me cracking up. I actually did like the movie, but I agree with *everything* you said.

    1. Again, I'm feeling a tiny bit envious of all you guys who managed to really like it. I just got a headache and watched as my dreams of a proper adaptation were plucked from my desperate grasp.

  6. There were three things about this movie that made me sad:

    1.) They should have had the dwarves come up two-by-two and get introduced to Beorn properly, as was done in the book.

    2.) Bilbo should TOTALLY have been taking down the spiders on his onesy, and singing about Lazy Lobs and Crazy Cobs while he did so.

    3.) ALL the dwarves should have been in the Lonely Mountain when the thrush broke the snail and they found the keyhole.

    4.) The elves should have been jolly like they were in the book, singing Tra la la lally, come visit our valley.


    6.) WHAT WAS UP WITH TAURIEL AND KILI?!?!?! Honestly, when THAT little firecracker went off, I was like, Okay, I take it back! Legolas and Tauriel would have been an awesome couple. I'm sorry I didn't see it before. (Really, I could have done without that whole ugly lovey dovey thing in the first place. As an elf, Tauriel was quite lovely. As a main character in the Hobbit DOS, she was totally annoying. To me, anyway.

    Okay, so six things I wasn't happy about. So I can't calculate.

    However, I loved Smaug. He was so dragony. And I loved loved loved Bard. I really hope he stays cool. I of course adored Bilbo, because he is the cutest hobbit ever, and I really liked how they showed the Eye of Sauron with the silhouette of Sauron forming the pupil of the eye. That was clever.

    There was a lot I like, and a lot I didn't, and a lot I was disappointed they cut. I'm hoping the last movie goes back to being more faithful to the book. I mean, while AUJ had it's problems, it was at least more faithful to Tolkien's narrative than this one was. This one was a total fan fiction film.

    Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed it. There was much about it I liked. I'm only sad they didn't stick closer to the actual story. Why add Tauriel and Kili when they could have REALLY fleshed out the parts that mattered? You know what I mean?

    Well of course you do. :)

    1. Apart from the fact I don't hate Kiliel thing (but then, I don't really love it either. I don't know. I'm so confused...), that pretty much sums it up. It was like they were making it for the general public instead of the people who actually care about the book/story. Which kind of annoys me. A lot.

  7. Urgh, you are SO right!! Beorn was TOTALLY butchered; every part of his character, his scenes, his looks, his house, was a pale, ruined carcass of what it was in the book. He is not a porcupine or a wookie, he is a man who can change into a bear.
    Creative liberties? That's fine. Taking out the most humourous and epic parts to replace them with jerky, almost slapstick action and weird additions? No.
    And what is up with the walnuts?!? *sigh* I enjoyed it at parts. Bard was amazing. Bilbo was amazing. Let's just hope the next one is better.

  8. Yeah, I was kind of traumatized by the movie too. Not so much as last time though, because for the first movie I had much higher expectations, which were more or less deflated by the time I left the movie theater. So this time I was prepared, so it wasn't as bad... maybe... I enjoyed some parts of the movie, but other parts made me feel like I was watching a very high-budget fanfic.

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  10. Oh my word YES. You said exactly everything that I have wanted to say about this film but was too aggravated to sit down and say. No where near enough Tolkien and far too much pointless fight scenes and CGI. Ugh.

    The house of Beorn is one of my favorite parts in the Hobbit, and my heart is still weeping for that. Smaug was a bright spot of comfort for me though (until he started smashing up the mountain, at which point I yelled "do you know how long that will take to fix?") Seriously. Benedict was born to be the voice of Smaug.