Guest Writer: Laura Andrews
[Editor’s Note: Laura is a regular visitor to this blog, and I enjoy her writing style. If you do, too, visit her “Taleweaver” blog at http://lauraeandrews.blogspot.com .
I’d like to bring in more guest commentary as time goes on: so if you’ve got a good idea for an article or a rant, let me know. I always check my “comments,” so I won’t miss you.]
Hello, all! I’m so pleased to b e featured on Lee’s blog for the first time. A while back I interviewed him on my blog, and now here I am with a review of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. I guess I’d better start off by saying that I have very fond memories of my dad reading The Hobbit to us when I was about eight years old. At the time, I knew nothing of the “fantasy genre.” I don’t think I’d even read Narnia yet. So The Hobbit was my first fantasy book, which makes it a bit special to me. If the tone of my review is a bit hard, well, that’s why. Don’t take it personally if you disagree.
The Hobbit is a story about, well, a hobbit–a hobbit named Bilbo Baggins, who goes on an adventure with thirteen dwarves to reclaim, by burgling, a treasure stolen by the dragon, Smaug. Along the way he is almost eaten by trolls, briefly enslaved by goblins, finds a magic ring, and becomes an indispensable member of the company. This is Bilbo’s story, and the movie ought to have acknowledged that. Instead, it’s The Tale of Thirteen Crude Dwarves and Two Amazing Elves. [Editor’s note: neither of the Amazin’s appear in Tolkien’s novel.] I don’t have space here to point out everything wrong with this movie, so I’ll go with three examples.
1. Bilbo has no brains and relies solely on dumb luck. He hardly ever uses his ring when it would be the perfect time for it. On the rare occasions that he does use it, he almost immediately takes it off: one time he lets Smaug see him by doing this.
2. A completely new character, Tauriel the Elf, is introduced. Legolas is in love with her but, predictably, she falls for Kili the Dwarf [Editor’s note: Aaack! Ugh!] and this becomes an integral part of the non-existent plot. Instead of the story moving along to the actual important parts, we’re treated to flirty little scenes and Stupid Things Done For a Crush.
3. Fighting. Seriously, I’ve never seen a movie in which there was this much fighting. All three Lord of the Rings movies put together probably had only a little more fighting than Desolation of Smaug. The only fight that was actually in the book, Bilbo vs. Spiders, was rushed, while we are dragged along to witness Elves vs. Orcs, Elves vs. Spiders, Dwarves vs. Orcs, Dwarves vs. Smaug (who doesn’t really seem to care whether he catches them or not), Dwarves vs. Elves, Gandalf vs. Sauron (really!), Gandalf vs. Orcs, Thorin vs. Bard (verbally), and others that I can’t remember.
Not only was this a terrible adaptation; it was a terrible movie as a whole. It dragged on and on, the dialogue was horrible, the acting was for the most part subpar, the plot didn’t exist, and the characters were lifeless paper cutouts. I think I know why this movie seemed so cluttered. It’s because it’s supposed to be about Bilbo, with the Dwarves as side characters. Instead, it’s completely switched around so that we have to endure thirteen Dwarves who are supposed to have each his own distinct characters, plus a myriad of other characters who, despite attempts to give them depth, end up being as shallow as water in a sieve.
[Note: If you enjoyed this, Laura has a longer and less favorable review of this movie on amazon.com .]