Movie Thread — The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (SPOILERS)

Beware, the unspoiled: both the post and the comments can be assumed to contain copious spoilers.

Because it appears to have been days since our last media thread, here’s one for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, which opened today in Australia.

Miscellaneous thoughts:

I am pleased that the pretty legitimate grievances that pretty much everyone between the Blue Mountains and Erebor has against the King Under the Mountain (and Thorin as his heir) is being treated seriously from the narrative point of view. As well they should be. Thrór and others have a lot of blood on their hands.

There seemed to be… less impossible physics in this one. Don’t get me wrong, still impossible, but there wasn’t someone surviving a two hundred metre fall every third minute.

This is far more One Ring-centric than the book is (and I believe later editions of The Hobbit are actually already edited to make the One a little more prominent), which makes me wonder if Thrain being the last holder of one of the Seven Rings is going to arise at all.

Essentially every time Balin appears on screen, I can’t help but be all “DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT RETAKING MORIA. NO. NOOOOOO.” I don’t think I’m getting through.

Still annoyed that dwarves are more dimorphic on gender lines in Jackson’s films than they are in Tolkien’s books (the Appendices to LoTR clearly state that non-dwarves cannot easily distinguish any of their men and women). And Legolas’s joke about it is then yucky.

For that matter, I can’t figure out how it possibly makes sense for Legolas and Tauriel to want or promise their captive orc that his life will be spared. Warfare in this universe is take-no-prisoners on both sides, justified on the elvish side by the universal corruption and evil of the orcs. Which is immensely problematised by critics for good reasons, but I don’t think the answer on Jackson’s side is inserting one inexplicable act example of different and not thought-through ethics. Surely Legolas knew that the prisoner has seen the centre of Thranduil’s abode he was a dead orc walking. Where were they going to free him? What was he going to do then? How were they planning to prevent him returning to his fellows to recount everything he saw of Thranduil’s security arrangements? (Of which, I have to say, they seem to already know a worrying amount.) You have to think about these things a little bit, elves.

I am not clear at all on what Sauron wants with Gandalf as a captive either. It’s not their first encounter, Sauron likely knows that he’s incorruptible and that the extent of his powers is sizable and likely not fully revealed, so it’s not about enslaving him or using him as a weapon. While he’s alive, he’s a danger in some form. Sauron is not winning the Cleverer Than a Balrog award this year.

Very obvious cameo, Peter Jackson! Was yours the very first reasonably close shot of a person in the entire movie? I think it might have been!

Very subtle cameos, Stephen Colbert and family! It seems to be pretty well known by now that Colbert played one of the Laketown spies who are watching Bard, and that his family also feature in Laketown scenes, but absolutely no news source I can find has even managed to source stills showing Colbert himself, let alone his family. I certainly didn’t notice him, and we were watching for him (although not knowing to look in Laketown, specifically)!

No Gollum!! Woe.

Categories: arts & entertainment

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7 replies

  1. My kids were bemoaning the almost certain lack of Gollum on the way to the cinema.
    That impossible falling thing really got up my nose in the first movie.
    What I want to know is how any of the empty barrels the elves send back to Laketown ever arrive at Bard’s barge in one piece?! All those waterfalls and rapids!

  2. Smaug was everything I could have hoped for.
    Tauriel’s not a bad addition, but I could have done without the part I’m not going to mention because I don’t know how to do the orange spoiler bar thing.

  3. Nick, I’ll edit your spoiler bar in. I’d rather that the thread discuss the movie and spoil people a little than that we all talk around it for fear of spoilers!
    mimbles: yes, I did think that about the barrels. I guess if the barrels are elf-made you could handwave something about elven wood.

  4. Actually, given that we didn’t open this thread during prime speculation season, I’m just going to go ahead and mark it spoiler-happy.

  5. Thanks, Mary. My issue with Tauriel was, as might be predicted by those who have seen the film, the love triangle between her, Legolas, and Kili. She and Kili had an interesting spark, which might have been attraction, but could just as well have been an instant rapport because they’re fairly similar people.
    But there’s no reason for her to be in a relationship with Legolas. Indeed, I think it would be more fitting for him to disdain her – she’s obviously way ahead of him on the overcoming-prejudice curve, it would make him look better as he goes after her anyway, and serve as a prologue for his eventual friendship with Gimli.
    And I’d have been more interested to see her torn between her duty to the elves and her sense that helping the dwarves was right than between Kili and Legolas.

  6. Sunless Nick, I didn’t read her as being interested in Legolas as anything other than a friend and comrade (indeed she calls him mellor at one point), and thought she was bemused by Thranduril’s warning her off of him.
    Mimbles and Mary – I had the same thoughts about the barrels…
    Smaug was great and I also really enjoyed seeing Gandalf take on the Necromancer.

  7. We saw this yesterday as a family, and all enjoyed it. Although it was long, it was fairly well paced, and I’m enjoying the extra time devoted to worldbuilding.
    Smaug was excellent, and hurrah for fewer instances of impossible physics (although I think the elves might be doing some highly implausible acrobatics).

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