Sunday, 29 December 2013

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Review

J.R.R. Tolkien must be turning in his grave.

I came away from seeing The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (in a stifling Odeon IMA) in several minds.  It’s true that only about 25% of the film followed the original story and there were a number of scenes that left out detail that could have been included, such as the encounter with Beorn, Bilbo taunting the spiders in Merkwood and Bilbo putting the lids on the barrels before the dwarves are pushed through a hatch into the river by the Wood Elves. Maybe some of these will be featured in the extended edition. I’m also struggling with the fact that there were no Orcs in the book either, just goblins.

After the first thirty minutes I stopped being annoyed and started trying to see the film as a film, rather than as an adaptation of a book. And then it occurred to me that although the Hobbit is an excellent book, it’s quite a simple story and may not translated directly into a film well. Although the film felt unnecessarily long, a lot of the story that was added (invented?) made it excellent. The plot line about Sauron gaining strength is exactly what should have been in the book, it makes for better continuity with the Lord of the Rings. It is of course possible that Tolkien wrote about it, and Gandalfs involvement in other books like The Silmarillion. I don’t know, I haven’t read them, but it did make me think that I would like Peter Jackson to go on and make more of Tolkien’s work into films.

Having said that, the fight scene in the lonely mountain added nothing for me, except more original plot discrepancies. They may as well have put Kili in a red star trek shirt in the Wood Elves prison and I don’t recall any of the dwarves staying behind in Lake Town in the book or any special bowes. And did I mention there weren’t any Orcs in the book? There weren’t many (any?) women in the book either, but I totally fell in love with Tauriel.

I was glad when the film was over, only because it was so long, but I want to see it again.

1 comment:

  1. I think it's safe to say that this trilogy has already over-stayed its welcome, but needless to say, I had fun here and I hope they do well with the next, hopefully last installment. Good review Paul.