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Desolation of Smaug *spoilers*


dwarvenranger
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Enjoyed it. Actually liked some of the changes and most others felt at least logical. And of course the movie is going to be padded. Bitrch all ya want, spreading this one across thin across 3 movies put mad bank in PJ's wallet.

 

Smaug's VA did a very good job. Especially the time when his voice cracks and has that 'shamed bully threatening vengeance' quality. To me it makes it seem like Smaug was playing cat and mouse the WHOLE time, even during his attacks. But when he was dealt the indignity of the gold bath, it was like the bully you triped into the mud is now going to go burn down your home.

Edited by scorpio616
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Saw this movie on Sunday and was a bit disappointed to be honest. It felt too forced, PJ could easily have done this in two installments rather than three and adding in the pretty elf chick wasn't needed in the least bit since that wasn't part of the original story. At this point it's a successful money grab, but that's all it really is. I'll still buy the movies when they come out to Blu-Ray to complete my collection, but I know I won't be watching as much as the LOTR trilogy.

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Finally got around to seeing it today with the SO.

Consensus: A movie CAN be three hours long, but it needs to not sag in the middle so much. It's pretty exciting and fast moving ... up until the dwarves make it to Lake-Town, at which point the whole show slams to a halt and doesn't really pick up again until they get to Erebor. And then we have a great deal of dragon exposition before we get the story rolling again.

Perhaps I am an elitist, but we did not need to have a thing going between Kili and Tauriel. I don't object to Tauriel, or even shoehorning Legolas in there, but the extra plot thread is just more than we needed here. As well as a special effects battle between Gandalf (who seems to have slipped a cog -- he's going into Dol Guldur ALONE?) and the Necromancer. This was all handled offscreen in the book, and it slows the whole show down.

Radagast the Brown has still not washed his hair. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised.

You know, the title of the movie is "The Hobbit." This felt more like "A whole buncha violent protagonists and a wizard having it out all over hell and half of Georgia. Oh, and Bilbo helps out here and there."

"Morgul-arrow?" Really, PJ? Random orc archers are issued with arrows that have the same effect as Morgul knives? Any GM who tried that would be accused of pulling plot devices out of his rectal safety deposit box, if you know what I mean, and I think you do.

Why does Smaug no longer have front legs? Tolkien actually painted his own picture of Smaug... who has four legs and wings. THIS one has a pair of wings and one pair of hind legs. Beautiful design and animation, but it needs more legs. I am pondering that maybe they did this to interfere with unlicensed knockoff toys? Anyone can make a red four legged dragon... but anyone making one with only two legs is gonna get hit with a lawsuit from WETA or someone?

On a related note, the Evil Miniatures Company has released a special set of minis: Dwarves In Barrels. They have not released or advertised a Smaug miniature. I must therefore presume there will be a scenario in which elves and orcs cheerfully attempt to murder each other while chasing barrelled dwarves downriver, but there will be no Smaug scenario? See, this is how they got the "evil" label... well, that, and charging $25US for individual elves and suchlike. In plastic.

And what is it that dwarves have against handrails? If I was going to hollow out a mountain and put elevated walkways everywhere, I'd put some fraggin' HANDRAILS here and there. They're DWARVES. They'd be making the most attractive AND functional handrails in Middle Earth!

So... yeah. Basically, my call is this: "I liked it... but not as much as I liked the first one. Too much movie, and parts were typically Peter Jackson Overdone." Makes me think about the leadup to this movie:

PETER JACKSON: "Well, yeah, I'd be interested in making the Hobbit movie, but first I think New Line ought to pay me all the money they owe me for my cut of the LOTR franchise."

NEW LINE: "Oh, there are no profits. None. We're still way in the red. And that goes double for the merchandising."

PJ: "I call BS. I'm not doing a thing with the Hobbit until you jerks pay up."

NL: "Go to hell."

PJ: (waits)

NL: (A scuffle is heard, as well as a few screams, followed by silence... pause...) "Hey, Peter Jackson's Agent? Listen, we've had a shakeup in administration, and we'd like to talk to Peter about making the Hobbit movie."

PJ: (to his agent) "I need to get paid what they owe me. And I want a contracted hunk of the money for Hobbit. And I really think we need to break this story down into two movies."

PJ'S AGENT: "Go ahead and talk to them."

NL: "Glad to have you back, Peter Jackson. Listen, we're sorry about all that nonsense about the money. Here's your back checks, and we'll keep your cut coming from now on. However, about the Hobbit? We'd like you to break it down into THREE movies..."

...and I suspect that's where a lot of our problem lies...



Edited by Dr.Bedlam
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Note: The spoilers are for people who haven't read the book and may include plot points from the third movie.

 

I liked the movie. It had problems, a great many of them, but at the end of the day I was very entertained.

 

I went in expecting to dislike Tauriel, especially since I didn't care for Evangeline Lilly on Lost, but I really liked her character.

 

I was okay with Legolas being there, but he never should have left the Wood Elf realm. That would have still given him a solid cameo for fans, and he wasn't needed in Lake Town. Tauriel and the Dwarves could have dealt with that leg of the adventure without him. I did enjoy the ridiculous barrel ride/running battle with the Orcs though.

I think Legolas was sent to Lake Town to set up the Elven presence at the Battle of Five Armies. I expect him to see the Orcish hordes then ride to warn his father.

Still, Tauriel could have filled that role as well. And Legolas' big showdown was very disapointing. He is a master archer, so when he faces off against a powerful Orc leader, does he shoot him dead from 40 yards away? No, he pulls out a sword and gets into a melee with a creature twice his size. Very dumb.

 

The Smaug redesign was a major negative for me. Smaug is a Dragon, and as Tolkien illustrated, that means four legs and two wings, with the wings being optional. And the whole evolved discussion? Dragons didn't evolve. They should have done their research and read the Silmarillion. The first Dragons had four legs and no wings, but an evil God-like being (or fallen archangel if you prefer) decided it would be better if Dragons could fly, so he added wings. No evolution involved. Overall though, I liked what they did with Smaug, the conversations and action weren't very true to the books beyond the flattery, but I felt it suited Peter Jacksons' saga. The big battle, the running chase was all a lot of fun until the statue. That went on way too long, if it had lasted half a second then melted over Smaug it would have flowed (heh) a lot better. I liked the gold dipped version of him, I always pictured him more gold than red when I read the book as a kid.

 

The broken scale was actually a good idea, and makes more sense then the soft underbelly/gem encrusted version of the original. Overall I liked the fleshing out of Bard the Bowman, he played such an integral part in the novel but we learned almost nothing about him. Unfortunately, they seemed to have dropped his most fascinating feature, his communicating with the old Thrush. The Stephen Fry character made no sense. Why exactly would the mayor stop the delivery of food? Because he's a villain? It wasn't like he was running an overpriced fish shop so he didn't want competition, there seemed no reason for his behavior.

Of course they are probably just making him evil to telegraph his betrayal in the final movie, but by making him such a comical villain this early, it makes no sense Bard would ever have trusted him.

 

 

Another disappointment for me was the lack of singing. The Dwarves singing in the first movie was a real highlight for me, and I was hoping for much more of the same, this time from the Wood Elves.

 

Still, like I said at the beginning, I enjoyed it. The original book is so precious to me nothing could really do it justice, but this version is pretty good. I look forward to the final chapter, and I'm sure I'll buy the nine disc blu-ray box set of the three films when it comes out.

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You know, I didn't even notice his legs were missing. The first couple posts I saw about it, I thought they were just wrong, and went screenshot hunting. It's really not as big a deal as it's being made out to be. "Oh no, this fictional creature is slightly different than I imagined it!" In Tolkien's drawing, Smaug's super long with dinky little dachshund legs, but I bet no one would be upset that they made him different than that...

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I think some of the annoyance is that unlike some other matters, this was something explicitly spelled out (well, visually depicted, but you get my meaning) by Tolkien himself.

 

It is as if the movie's producers decided that thirteen dwarfs was a bit much and the movie could do just fine with six.

 

I suppose a fair case could be made that the issue of the number of Smaug's legs is trivial, especially when compared with all the eviscerations Tolkien's story has already suffered under the producers' hands and the bland Hollywood plot and character impositions grinding Tolkien's brilliant work away in favor of standard Hollywood tropes and clichés.

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I suppose a fair case could be made that the issue of the number of Smaug's legs is trivial, especially when compared with all the eviscerations Tolkien's story has already suffered under the producers' hands and the bland Hollywood plot and character impositions grinding Tolkien's brilliant work away in favor of standard Hollywood tropes and clichés.

That's just it though, it's the straw that broke the camel's back for me. After I saw that I was so irritated with them that I couldn't really enjoy the rest of the movie. I could deal with all the rest as being loosely based on the Hobbit and various material from the Appendixes, I could deal with Ms Mary Sue and Super Elf intruding into the movie, and I could (barely) deal with what they did to Bard the Bowman (it probably helps that the actor is teh hawtness :rolleyes: ). But after seeing that they made Smaug a fracking wyvern... I just wanted to find Jackson and start beating on him. The whole dwarf chase afterwards became tiresome and the scenes in Laketown made me want to throw my drink at the screen. :grr:

 

It's like their copy of The Hobbit was missing all the pictures. Or any description of Smaug. <_<

 

I liked that they included most of the original dialogue between Bilbo and Smaug, but it was dumb that Bilbo wasn't wearing the ring the whole time. I liked the way the rest of Smaug looked, and the neat effect when he started charging up his breath weapon. And Cumberbatch did a great job on the voice. It's a pity it was wasted on a wyvern. :angry:

 

And my hubby is even worse. He loves dragons. Is fanatical about them even. He was all prepared to cry when Smaug gets shot down. But now he won't have anything to cry about because it's not a dragon, it's a wyvern. <_<

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So wait, people are more upset by the number of limbs on the dragon then the massive and deleterious changes to the plot? Smaug was easily the best part of the movie and the most faithful reproduction from the book but the number of limbs is the deal breaker? Ok.

No, that's more or less what I was saying and redambrosia answered that it was simply the final straw.

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But I mean, Tolkein's Smaug looks like this: DragonSketch.jpgtiny-little-legs.jpg
I, for one, think that looks like a pretty goofy dragon. If we're insisting that we go by Tolkein's vision, movie!Smaug plus two legs is just as bad, since it looks like our modern conception of what dragons should be, thick, stocky body and all.

And the wyvern thing is... questionable. I mean, like so many other things, only a select subspecies of nerds would make the distinction between dragon and wyvern the way we do. A wyvern is traditionally distinguished from a dragon by more than just the number of legs (which can be either two or zero); it usually must have a barbed tail, which dragons don't (though Tolkein's drawing seems to...), so movie!Smaug isn't a true wyvern any more than it is a "proper" dragon. And etymologically, they both just mean "snake" (more or less) with any legs at all being a medieval addition. There are plenty of modern depictions of dragons with two legs and wings, and honestly a wyvern is just a type of dragon anyway.

It's fine to be disappointed that the movie didn't match the picture in your head (in which case, get in line) but claiming that it's either some catastrophic failure on the filmmakers' parts, or especially that movie!Smaug isn't a dragon at all, is just silly. And the claim that you're upset because they didn't respect Tolkein's drawings is just as bad, since if that were the case, the legs would be the least of the problems with Smaug alone. It would be weird, to say the least, to be upset about something that specific but not about any of the myriad other design changes (remember the goblins from the first movie?) Jackson and his team chose to make. You're upset that Jackson didn't recreate your mental image of Smaug as well as you would have liked. That's fine, but don't act like it's anything bigger than that.

Edited by Slendertroll
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