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Desolation of Smaug *spoilers*


dwarvenranger
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Personally, I tend to prefer my dragons with four legs. As an aesthetic. Anyway, as regards The Hobbit Trilogy I have decided to enjoy it as a "pretty cool fantasy movie" rather than an adaptation. I haven't seen this new one yet, I'll view it when it comes to my 3rd World Theatre (Disc), but I strongly suspect that unlike LotR I won't be able to make a case that the changes make for a better "second draft".

 

It seems distinctly more like padding this time around. I can roll with it, but I'm not invested in the source material. Which is not a way of saying I'm too cool for that, just that my nerdpicker side is more invested in other source material. I was the guy watching Saving Private Ryan and got grumpy because the "Tiger" tanks clearly had T-34/85 tracks. Most people wouldn't care, even if they noticed. I wanted to scream out loud that the roadwheels weren't interleaved.

Edited by buglips*the*goblin
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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.

 

The image of Smaug you linked was a sketch on a map, it was hardly meant to be an accurate illustration.

Here are the two presumably more anatomically accurate images Tolkien created:

Smaug-Tolkien2.jpgtolkien_smaug2.jpg

 

The legs are still small, but hardly like that salamander thingy you posted, and quite in line with terrestrial lizards. And since the primary means of locomotion for a dragon is it's wings, legs needn't be proportional to those of a mammalian quadruped like a horse or a bear. Neither are their claws their primary form of offense. Finally, Tolkien wrote (from The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien) that he could only draw: "imperfectly what I can, and not what I see" so it is possible the scale is less than perfect.

 

Just because you think something is silly, doesn't mean it isn't important to other people.

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I doubt the change to Smaug was done lightly. They probably were more focused on making Smaug look like a living creature than making sure he had 6 limbs. By the time they felt Smaug's wings were big enough, they probably got to thinking lets kill some catgirls, the forelegs would cause massive interference with the muscle groups needed for wing flapping.

Edited by scorpio616
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Okay, sure, he has other slightly less improbable illustrations, but my point is that the fact that it's just the legs that people are upset about makes me less convinced that it's actually about Tolkien's vision at all. No one cares that movie!Smaug didn't have the barbed tail (more like a traditional wyvern than a proper dragon) or that he's missing the pointy little ears, or the looooooooong body and tail, or that he never stuck his little snake tongue out like that. It's just the legs. Only ever the legs.

 

And that quote is quite right, but I think it makes more of a case for my side: Tolkien wasn't a visual artist, so sticking to his drawings really wasn't important. (Someone upthread mentioned that Jackson's copy of The Hobbit must have been missing the illustrations.)

Edited by Slendertroll
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I doubt the change to Smaug was done lightly. They probably were more focused on making Smaug look like a living creature than making sure he had 6 limbs. By the time they felt Smaug's wings were big enough, they probably got to thinking lets kill some catgirls, the forelegs would cause massive interference with the muscle groups needed for wing flapping.

That makes a lot of sense, and probably was the driving force behind the change.

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Okay. First of all, let me preface my review by saying that I am deeply in love with The Hobbit, even moreso than any other of Tolkien's works. Also, I tried very, very, very hard to appreciate the movie in it's own rights.

 

I also rarely have opinions this strong about anything. Bear in mind that this is just my opinion, take it or leave it as you choose.

 

I'll put my thoughts in a spoiler tag, just in case I mention something in the third movie. Also, because of MASSIVE SPOILERS for those who haven't seen the movie yet.

 

 

 

The Good:

 

I'll start with the good, since it's a shorter list, and what I liked, I liked a lot. The pacing was much tighter than the first movie, and the costuming and locations were beautifully done.

 

I also really liked that Peter Jackson added in the material from other sources that gave more information about what Gandalf was up to. I actually went and got a copy of Unfinished Tales to see what he was drawing from it and what he was just making up, and it was a lot of fun to get that extra information. I think he integrated the canon material very well, and I feel it was a welcome addition to both movies.

 

I liked how the Arkenstone was upped slightly in importance. It made an already cool thing even cooler. ^_^

 

Far and away my favoritest part of the movie, though, was Smaug. It's what I'd been waiting for ever since I read the book, and having loved the http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rWVeZx2IP30'>1977 animated depiction of him, I was incredibly excited to see what CGI could do for him.

 

It did not disappoint.

 

The voice acting was just perfect, and literally gave me shivers. I couldn't keep my eyes off of him the entire time he was on-screen, he looked so amazing. To be honest, I didn't really notice the change in limbs, I was too enthralled with how gorgeous he was. :wub:

 

When/if we get a copy of the movie, I'm just going to watch the parts with him in it, because he was the high point of the movie for me.

 

Unfortunately, he was the only high point.

 

The Bad:

 

I did not like Lady Elf for a number of reasons. I can understand why she was added in, since The Hobbit is severely lacking in females, but I still don't think she added anything of substance to the movie. She felt like a token character stuck in just to give an excuse to introduce some lukewarm romance into the movie, which is a shame because she had the potential to be totally awesome, as someone else already pointed out in this thread.

 

I wouldn't have minded the addition of Legolas, if he'd stayed in Mirkwood. He's a wood elf, it's obvious that PJ thinks he's the coolest thing since sliced bread, so okay, a cameo would be fine. Having him trail along with them into Laketown not only distracted from what was going on there, but also gave him far more screentime than he needed. This is Bilbo's story, not Legolas'. <_<

 

Speaking of which, Bilbo seemed to sort of disappear for most of the movie. He's very much a hero in this part of the story! This is where he comes into his own, and starts really being the awesome person he becomes. He's fighting spiders and rescuing the dwarves from first the spiders, then the wood elves! He's the one who confronts Smaug not once, but twice! Instead, he seems to get lost in the shuffle a lot of the time, with the focus being on either the group he's with in general, or somebody else altogether.

 

Too many gratuitous fight scenes, far too many. This is not The Lord of the Rings, PJ, please stop trying to make it so. <_< This is not a movie I would take children to go see. Unlike LotR, The Hobbit was written as a children's story. Adding in random beheadings and gory fight scenes didn't add anything of value.

 

Several editing flubs, which I caught on my first watch-through (which is unusual; it usually takes 2-3 times watching a movie for me to catch filming mistakes). The two biggest ones I noticed were the magical multiplying barrels in the barrel scene (Bombur's barrel gets destroyed, yet he still somehow jumps back into one afterwards? Um, they only had 12 barrels to start with...), and the part where Gandalf gets knocked over while holding his sword and staff, both of which go flying, yet in the very next second, his sword is somehow sheathed, and his staff is back in his hand.

 

I could go on, but there's still-

 

The Ugly:

 

The romance PJ was trying to create between Kili and the she-elf. Ugh. No. Just no. Don't even go there. That's not a thing that ever happened, nor would it ever happen. Just stop. :P

 

The game of Hide and Seek that the dwarves were playing with Smaug. He started out so EPIC, and then...this. The longer that whole chase scene went on, the less scary awesome he was and the stupider they made him seem. I mean, really? He could have toasted them in seconds (ignoring for the moment the fact that they weren't even supposed to be in there in the first place) on multiple occasions, but instead allowed himself to get fooled time and again while doing no more than snarling at them. I died inside a little when he was wiggling around, apparently tangled in chains he was more than strong enough to snap like thread. I can only hope his coolness is restored in the next movie. -_-

 

The molten gold statue thingy. Um, hello? He's a DRAGON. He probably bathes in molten gold on a weekly basis. Whose idea was that?!

 

The poisoned arrow+leaving some of the dwarves in Laketown dealy. Um...yeah. I'm guessing it was to create dramatic tension, or something? It just felt so wrong, though, splitting up the party like that. I can't even explain why it bothered me so much, it just did. :P

 

One last little thing; however, it was my "last straw" moment: It was "the setting sun with the last light of Durin's Day" that shone upon the keyhole. IT WASN'T THE FREAKING MOON! IIRC, Bilbo even SAID that part shortly before the sun set in the movie. Gah! *tears hair out*

 

 

 

*puff puff*

 

Tl;dnr: Smaug was incredibly epic and surpassed my wildest hopes and dreams. Most of the rest of the movie, I was throttling the air or facepalming or shaking my head in disgust. I tried so hard to forget the book and just watch the movie, but it was hard to hear it over the increasingly loud voice in my head screaming "They changed everything!!!! Even things they didn't need to!!! *cry*"

 

I also very much agree with those who have said that two movies would have been plenty. Trying to stretch it into three just introduced all sorts of filler and fluff and unnecessary fight scenes to pad things out. :unsure:

 

Peter Jackson, I am sorely disappoint. I'm seriously questioning whether I'll go see the last movie in theaters or whether that would be a huge waste of time and money. :down:

 

Again, just my two cents (or rather, two dollars, given how much I typed... :wacko:

 

Huzzah!

--OneBoot :D

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I don't even want to see this movie in the theatre, nevermind the next. Perhaps I'll watch the movies on bluray, but I don't really feel a need to. I think the change from a children's story to that of an adult themed one really killed the desire for me to see what Jackson has done with it.

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I really liked the movie, but I was always more in love with LOTR than The Hobbit. Basically, what I was most interested in was going and being immersed in visuals and audio of Middle Earth, rather than seeing "The Hobbit" as a movie of "The Hobbit".

 

The Desolation of Smaug was still one of the five best Tolkienesque-fantasy immersion movies ever made, and frankly, IMO, one of the five that weren't, movie nostalgia or connoisseur enjoyment aside, total crap.

 

That said, there were some clangers. I like she-elf, I liked the doomed and/or lukewarm romance. I didn't care about Legolas, although the Legolas - she-elf -king-elf - thing was blah. As was the molten gold. It would have worked just as well for Smaug, who's been napping for close to a century, to be embarrassed and enraged by his futile chase of some puny little snacks, and it seemed very much that that was the idea... apart from him snarling "Argh! It burns!" Then shaking it all off as though it did not, in fact, burn at all.

 

But there, it may well have been intended that Smaug was scalded and cranky about it, rather than hurt; he certainly was unhurt as he winged toward Lake Town.

 

For length and padding: I liked that it was a long movie. I hate to say it but I could have sat there and soaked up Middle Earth flavoured visuals until I starved to death. However there were some bits that felt padded. Specifically the cat-and-mouse with the dwarves. That whole part could have been dropped, a well-written verbal / moral duel between Bilbo and Smaug a-la Luke and the Emperor laid in instead, and really beautifully cranked up the dread and terror of trying to outsmart a Tolkien Dragon, which if you read the Silmarillion are 9/10ths of the way to being Lucifer himself.

 

I think there's an inherent problem here that if you'd pleased the real Tolkien fans, you'd have left the broader movie-going public wondering why there were any Dwarves in the movie at all. And while Smaug's cat-and-mouse detracted from Smaug for us mature viewers, I bet a 10-year old would reckon it was awesome, AND it gave Smaug more screen time. Again, for most movie goers, there needed to be plenty of Smaug on offer or they'd have felt severely ripped off. All in all I didn't love that bit, but it didn't ruin anything for me.

 

Final verdict: loved it. It wasn't perfect overall, but it was excellent in parts, and the worst bits were not at all bothersome to me.

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I watched it yesterday because I was bored, and it was free. I tried to go into it with an open mind. I did not like the movie at all. I know there are a lot of people who say separate the book from the movie, but since the movie is supposed to be at least representational of the book I was not able to do that. Again, I'm really glad that the majority of people seem to love it. I won't watch it again, unless I'm somehow blackmailed. Or I suppose you could make it into a pretty good drinking game. Take a shot every time it veers away from the book.

 

I'm not going to rant about things I disliked. Seriously we'd be here all day, and I'm not going to change any minds. People who like it will continue to do so, rightfully, and I don't want to influence anyone who might still be on the fence about whether or not to watch it. One thing that bothered me more than most was the treatment of the One Ring (not as good at the Two Ring I hear). To me they seemed to be playing it as if Bilbo possesses some foreboding that it's a bad thing, and is reluctant to use it. I never got that feeling from reading the book. In the book he seemed to feel that it was a useful tool, and a lucky find. Oh, and they turned Smaug into a wyvern.

 

Cheers, and happy watching.

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I loved it. My 8yr old daughter loved it. I didn't take it too seriously and as a result had a great time. The barrel scene had me grinning like a chimp the whole time.

 

For a little perspective can you guess what my daughters favorite bits were? Yeah, the dragon and "elf girl." It may not be a fan's cuppa, but anything that inspires little girls to reennact "dwarves vs orcs" with their dolls is ok in my book!

 

oh and she asked me if in the next movie "the girl elf and boy dwarf make a baby that becomes Aragorn" :wub:

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We saw it Sunday. I went in having read most of this thread, and I can certainly see where folks would be upset with the movie, but I enjoyed it. The hottie elf gal didn't bug me, most of the 'new' material didn't bother me, the major gripes I had were:

1. Splitting up the party

2. The dwarves entering the Erebor and fighting Smaug

3. Orcs invading Lake town

4. Smaug having only 2 legs.

 

While I know that these things are 'wrong', I still enjoyed the movie. I went in not expecting it to be a 100% faithful adaption of the book, and I think that made the difference for me. I'll be seeing the last one in a year or so.

 

BTW---the book is always better than the movie, so NYAH!! ::P:

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