Thursday, January 2, 2014

Your Daily Ralph Review of the Hobbit, The Desolation of Smaug

Be warned, there will be spoilers listed here so if you go further you have only yourself to blame.

I'm going to say first up that I am a huge fan of Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Many people have complaints about little things throughout the trilogy, I do not. I read them all so long ago that to me, Jackson's movies ARE the Lord of the Rings.

The very same holds true for the Hobbit. The first movie that came out last year 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey' was to me, perfect. I had zero complaints with it. I held it on the same level as 'The Two Towers', my favorite of the LOTR trilogy. Plus it was slightly more whimsical which it should have been. Tolkien wrote the Hobbit for his children. Not so 'The Lord of the Rings'.

'Desolation' is a bit of a different beast. While I thoroughly enjoyed it , I felt it was about a half hour too long. There was just too much extraneous junk thrown in to make it longer. What I DID like about it was a lot. I like that for the first time in four movies even though this movie happened 60 years before the LOTR movies we actually get to see Gandalf look powerful. I wish he had looked this powerful during LOTR.

What I also loved was the way Bilbo was a true hero by the second film. He was far braver than Frodo was, and far slicker as well. Bilbo was sort of a guy who was taking charge and making decisions. Frodo was a guy who was lost at sea and floating wherever the currents took him, not that he wouldn't protect himself, but he just wasn't as good at it all as Bilbo was. Bilbo was brave and he had a cunning to him that Frodo sorely lacked.

As usual the special effects were flawless and gorgeous. Middle Earth was alive.

Everything was spectacular here. Especially the enemies appearance near the end when Sauron is revealed for the first time to Gandalf.

Smaug. What can one say? He was perfect and flawless. The way his scales moved and his chest puffed, he was as close to being alive and real as you can imagine.  Benedict Cumberbatch played him as malevolent and more of a force of nature who couldn't care less if he stomped on a few human or dwarf insects. But make no mistake he was evil. The cliffhanger ending did not leave that in doubt.

But, like I said the movie was a bit too long and began to drag toward the end. Did that ruin the movie for me? No, not at all. In fact I may even go see it again, it was that good. I was very impressed with it, it was a true masterpiece and just magnificent to watch.

I freely admit I liked the first installment better, but this was damned fine as well. I can't wait until next winter to see the final installment.

Even with my complaints about length I have to give it 4 1/2 stars out of 5. It was just a spectacular.

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