6 hours ago
Wednesday, 18 December 2013
Film: 'THE HOBBIT -THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG' (in 3D)
This 'middle one' of Peter Jackson's Hobbit trilogy, like the first episode, left me not caring that much about what was going on, because I simply couldn't follow it all. I've read the book twice (and LOTR at least five times). Not that it matters, as the film trilogy of 'The Hobbit' is so far expanded out of the source material from which it derives as to bear little relationship to it other than the title and the basic idea. But I'm not exactly complaining about that.
Ian McKellan and Orlando Bloom are two of the stalwarts of the franchise who turn up again here, joined for the second time by Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins, all joined by several faces particularly recognisable to British audiences.
I would be no less informed about the plot if there were no dialogue at all. A lot of that which there is, to me now sounds like pretentious doggerel , as though one has got to be 'in the know' to follow what's happening. Notwithstanding that, a lot of the action (with some brilliantly-created monsters of various species) is good fun, chases galore, fights, battles, a bit of amusing slap-stick. I must give credit to the inventiveness of some of the antics - and the special effects cannot be praised too highly. On the other hand I once again experienced a few yawn-inducing longueurs, though I don't think there were as many as in the first film.
I'd already forgotten how the first part had finished, and I hadn't been interested enough to have my memory prodded. I reckon that by the time the final part mercifully appears I'll also have forgotten the 'cliffhanger' that concludes this part.
There's no doubt that this trilogy is turning into a major achievement, though in no way eclipsing the 'Ring' films, which I found much more entertaining, probably because I was more familiar with those books, and those films were an attempt, largely successful, to transfer that story to the cinema screen. 'The Hobbit' trilogy, by blowing it up so far, contains more of Jackson and his writers than it does of Tolkien, simply taking the latter's characters and creating an extended story for them. But that's cinema for you, which is fair enough.
If one is a great fan of this franchise then this film will have everyone one hopes for - interesting and varied characters (though only very few are female), no shortage of thrills with some astonishing camera work (particularly impressive in 3D). I've mentioned my reservation with the script but if one has a keener interest than I own maybe it is possible to make some sense of the gobbledygook.
I will be going to see the final part, though not with any great enthusiasm - just to be able to say "I've seen it!"
In terms of achieving a level of entertainment for me personally, I award 'The Hobbit - Part II'.............4.
Added one day after writing above:
As a result of Walt's comment (WCS) below, I referred back to the review I wrote for Part I of 'The Hobbit' in December 2012 and, to my deep embarrassment, find that, contrary to what I say above, I was fulsomely positive about that film, even going on to award it a 7/10 - and furthermore, saying that I was actually looking forward to its sequel! (Ouch!) But it would be unforgivably mendacious to alter the above review upwards (or downgrade last year's) so, with abject apologies for my inconsistency and faulty memory, I have decided, albeit red-facedly, to let both stand.
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*holds head in hands* Oh no, Ray. I have tickets for Saturday. We are seeing it in 3d so that might make it worth while. someone else at work said it was AWFUL. OH wanted to see it more than me. I hope he is not dissapointedReplyDelete
"Awful"? It's decidedly NOT that. In fact I think that a lot more people will enjoy it much more than I did. You only have to look at the voting on IMDb to see that it's being very well regarded.Delete
No, if you'd set your heart on it (presumably because you liked the first part so much) I don't think you have anything to fear about this not coming up to scratch. General opinion seems to be that this is better than its predecessor, and I would agree with that. Go with confidence - mine is an grumpy old man's view anyway - and post your verdict here.
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I am looking forward to seeing this movie, although my arachnophobia will probably make me wet my drawers in the process.ReplyDelete
That particular section will make you squirm and avert your eyes, Dr Spo (as well as what you say might happen) - it's 'orrible! Even just the sight of the webs got me trembling. But be brave - and keep telling yourself that it's not for real. It might help, though can't guarantee it. (He says gleefully.)ReplyDelete
I think we will see it at the cinema which sells booze. I think a stiff drink will stiffen my resolve.Delete
I recommend you being stone cold sober when you see it in order to fully experience the exquisite terror. Embrace your phobia, face up to it and don't let it get the better of you. (Tee hee!)Delete
I just saw the first installment this week (it was shown on one of our movie channels) and I thoroughly enjoyed it. In fact, I watched it again two nights later. The first time through I needed to concentrate on the plot (I read the book over 30 years ago); the second time I could enjoy everything else. I'm looking forward to the second film, but probably won't see it until it's on the satellite channels.ReplyDelete
I own all 3 LOTR films and have seen them probably 10 times. I've also read LOTR at least 11 times in the past 30 years. Except for a few minor quibbles, I think Peter Jackson nailed that story. And for that I think he deserves to take license with The Hobbit. Good show!
Well, well! Would never have guessed you were a die-hard fan of the works, Walt. Despite my having read 'Rings' (only) 5, maybe 6 times, it's not been anything more than moderately diverting to me.Delete
Now I'm having to eat humble pie because I look back at my review of Part I of the Hobbit, a year ago, and find that, contrary to what I thought above, I was, in fact, full of praise for it, actually giving it a 7, which is extraordinary considering how defective my memory can be. And I actually say above that this new one is even better than the first one. (So whence the lowly '4'?) Seems like it's proof positive of my advancing senility. I've now added an appendix to the above putting the record straight.
So it seems that I have no grounds to criticise your decision to re-watch Part I so quickly because from what I said this time last year I might have wanted to do the same thing. I'm quite certain then that you're going to like Part II at least as much - though it's a pity you won't be able to appreciate it in 3D format.
But I agree entirely about Peter Jackson and LOTR, any quibbles about that trilogy fade in comparison with his scale of achievement.
I just found out that The Hobbit, The Desolation of Smaug, is playing at out humble local theatre this week. Once in English 3D, and once in English 2D. I am tempted to go, but I won't because we have other things on. So I'll wait for it to be shown on the movie channels. You know, I actually listen to the soundtrack (LOTR) on the iTunes. I'm that far gone... lolDelete
Shame that you're missing the chance to see it in 3D, Walt, but for me that was an added feature to enhance a subject on which I wasn't overly keen. It sounds like that feature may not be so important to you as you're more accepting of the topic anyway.Delete
But to listen to the LOTR soundtrack! That really shows how serious you are. I bet I wouldn't recognise it if it was played to me. It won't surprise me in the least to learn that you've got all the memorabilia - including hobbit garden gnomes!
Nope. No gnomes. But I do have a ring... ;)Delete
Ah well! Now just be careful about whose finger is allowed inside it!Delete
OMG Ray, I score it 2. 2/10 that is it. I was bored after 5 minutes. I love the LOTR. The first hobbit was ok. This DREADFUL. Even with my Harry Potter 3d glasses on it still didn't make it any better. I much preferred the orcs in LOTR. Could it be that maybe too much CGI and 3d is killing it? I wont see the 3rd now. When you and my friends mark below a 5, it doesn't seem that I like them either.ReplyDelete
Well, blow me down! I was NOT expecting that one bit! Rather lost for words now as I feel almost obliged to defend a hobbit film - though that is rather too much to ask.Delete
I thought the 3D have enhanced it. You have a point regarding too much CGI. I always get the feeling that it distances the audience - and I got that feeling on the very first Jurassic Park film. One feels that one is expected to be watching it in wide-eyed wonder when all it it achieves is the reverse, maybe as a reaction against knowing that one is being manipulated.
I'll have to go away and contemplate what you've said, so out of the blue it was. Who knows - perhaps when Hobbit III comes round I'll be telling you what you've missed. That'll be a turn-up for the books!
I never got into "The Hobbit." Maybe someday. I like psychological thrillers.
No, 'The Hobbit' isn't as epic as LOTR, Ron, at least not in its literary form. But now the films have given it an equal weight in length and scale as the LOTR trilogy when, as a book, it was a a comparatively lightweight prelude to the really big adventure. I can't bring myself to see it as an equivalent enterprise.Delete
I too tend to prefer down-to-earth thrillers rather than flights of fancy. The latter have their place, absolutely, but I find that they can also be quite tiring too watch. e.g. Harry Potter.