December 16, 2013 by phicks2012
On December 13th at midnight I eagerly joined some old friends at the Carmike Cinema in Conyers, GA for a showing of The Hobbit, Part II: The Desolation of Smaug! Because I’ve long loved the books, and because I really enjoyed Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings Trilogy in its entirety, and his production of The Hobbit, Part I: An Unexpected Journey, I was really looking forward to this particular premiere. I had been anticipating it for months, or I’d probably not had ventured out that late at night in cold and otherwise iffy weather to see it as soon as it opened, and I did, in fact, enjoy it. Much of it was excellent, including some truly marvelous creature effects, but I regret having to say that this particular installment did not quite impress me as much as I’d expected.
I’m not such a Tolkien purist that I can’t tolerate any deviation from the original, and as long as the fleshing out of the film plot is done in ways that are consistent with the world and the characters JRR Tolkien created I can adapt quite easily. I didn’t mind the fact that, as in Part I, characters from LOTR (like Legolas, Frodo, Saruman and Galadriel) who were not actually in Tolkien’s Hobbit as far as I recall, were included in the movie version. I didn’t even mind the creation of new characters (like the female silvan warrior Tauriel), or the rather intriguing addition of potential Elf/Elf and Dwarf/Elf romances involving her. However, some of the CG action sequences seemed to me to be unnecessarily and unnaturally extended, as though stretching them out might have been necessary to make the film long enough, and at several points in the movie I found my attention drifting away from these sequences simply because they seemed interminable.
In Jackson’s defense, it isn’t just The Hobbit. I’ve had the same sort of experience with other CG-intensive films featuring lengthy and highly improbable action sequences in which car crashes, falls from enormous heights, and attacks by space mutants are survived by non-immortal characters with barely a scratch to show for it, so this is not a new complaint for me, I merely have to regret that it happened with a movie I’d hoped to love and be riveted by from start to finish.
The point at which the film ended also seemed a bit awkward to me, not because of the plot point at which it occurred but because the impression was of cutting the story off with no warning. But otherwise, as I said, the movie was mostly great, and it had a lot of truly excellent parts. I’ll definitely get it on DVD. It just wasn’t quite as incredible for me as Part One. Just sayin’.