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Sound Off: 'The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug' - Your Thoughts?

by
December 13, 2013

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Now that you've seen it, what did you think? Beyond darkness... beyond desolation... In theaters now is the second movie in Peter Jackson's trilogy based on the J.R.R. Tolkien novel, titled The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. This time we continue the journey of Bilbo and the dwarfs as they make their way to Erebor and encounter the dragon Smaug within. Martin Freeman is Bilbo, Ian McKellen is Gandalf, Richard Armitage is Thorin, Luke Evans is Bard, Orlando Bloom returns as Legolas, and Evangeline Lilly plays Tauriel. Once you've seen it, leave a comment with your thoughts on The Desolation of Smaug.

Spoiler Warning: We strongly urge everyone to actually see the film before reading ahead, as there may be spoilers below. We also encourage all commenters to keep major spoilers from the film to a minimum, if possible. However, this is an open discussion from this point on! Beware of spoilers, don't ruin this film!

To fuel the dragon fire, I certainly enjoyed The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug quite a damn bit. It has some incredible action set pieces and some heartfelt moments and I always enjoy spending more time in Middle Earth. However, it's still the middle movie, it's still the link between the beginning and the end of the story, and I still wanted to see more. Everything with Smaug was amazing to watch, and it's the perfect climactic moment to the movie, but it cuts out right when things are getting good. The other scene I loved was the barrel riding sequence, so awesome, so much fun. Jackson pulled out all the stops on that one and nailed it. I'm also fond of the relationship Tauriel is starting with a certain dwarf. Though I'm anxious to see if there's a lot more to see in the Extended Edition of this movie, as those versions still feel more complete.

So what did you think of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug? Is this one better, or worse? We will remove any comments that indicate you have not seen the movie, as this area is meant to discuss the film only once you have seen it and can talk about your thoughts. Please keep the comments civilized!

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  • Xerxexx
    Glad you liked it Billington.
  • Chris Groves
    It was a definite step up in quality from the first film. The pace, characterization, and action were all handled in a superior fashion. I saw it in 48 Frames Per Second, and in general I really liked it. I would say the HFR experience was an 8-9 out of 10. 3D was brilliant, action and movement were very smooth, and the image was crisp. There were some moments where things seemed a bit off. Part of that is due to simply not being used to the aesthetic, but I also think some comes from an inexperience in filming in the format. Douglas Trumbull has talked about how HFR would sort of require the birth of a 'new cinematic language' and that the typical close ups and over the shoulder shots as traditionally done might not be the best fit, and I believe he is right. I think matters such as: How far the camera is from the subject, how far the subject is from the background, if there are foreground elements(and if so, distance from the camera and subject), and what kind of movement the subject is performing in the shot all have a clear bearing on the result of the shot. I mean, it looks amazing sometimes, very good others, and a little off at others. I don't think that's a commentary on the framerate as a whole but more on the aspect of adjusting the filming techniques to the framerate and what it yields.
  • ProjectionistHP
    Loved it. Smaug/Benedict was the best part. Only things negative were the fact that it's a middle film and that shows in the ending, and those elfs seem to get even more over the top than in lotr.
  • Snev De la Fontaine
    This may just be me, because people seem to be reasonably positive about it, but I was very disappointed. And let me add that I did actually like An Unexpected Journey. For some reason Desolation of Smaug, with the exception of a few scenes, felt quite messy to me. Obviously there were some middle-movie problems, but I don't mind excusing those. But a lot of its dramatic moments seemed like it was just adding empty movie-clichés (in a way that a starting film-student would). SPOILER ALERT Here are some examples of my problems, (and I would invite you to change my mind, because I'd like to): -. In the opening-scene two unsavory characters were watching and supposedly planning to attack Thorin. They took enough of an effort to sit at a table to blend in, but in every other way, they couldn't have been less subtle if they tried. The threat soon disappears and then we just get a kind of a boring exposition dialogue. - Beorn's entire dialogue is spoken in a dramatic-tension-movie-character kind of way. Should I believe this is a real character? - I have a hard time believing the relationship between Tauriel and Kili. What essentially happened is that Tauriel went from a bit of a speciest to dwarves to being home-abandoningly smitten with one. Love-at-first-sight is an acceptable movie-cliché if we have some notion of why there would be such a strong attraction, but one rude search-my-trousers-joke and a rock-anecdote isn't it. I'm kind of hoping that she has some ulterior motives that we haven't learned about yet. - It might not be intentional, but Legolas looks to be a bit of a sociopath. - I don't mind that characters are a bit obviously of a certain type, but the Master of Laketown's dialogue is a step away from flat-out saying "Look at me, I'm an opportunist politician." - When the last sun of Durinsday disappears, all of these dwarves just give up and leave. These stubborn dwarves who have travelled halfway cross Middle-Earth accept their fate in a matter of minutes. Why? So it seems more dramatic when Bilbo finds it on his own. - Some of the moments where characters had "clever ideas" were so obvious that it's a bit insulting. When you are running away from a fire-breathing dragon, are you really asking yourself "Where would we get fire?" or is that just to make it seem dramatic? - What exactly did they do with the gold statue to make it melt in such an explodingly quick way? - The music seemed to rise and fall at dramatic moments in such an extreme way, that it seemed silly. Usually these moments were accompanied by characters turning to a travelling in camera. This is an incredibly cool shot if you can believe what's happening, but I usually couldn't. . Contrary to most films though, I found the action-sequences (most notably the barrel-sequence) to be everything but a bore. At least in those, Peter Jackson finds original and dramatic little moments which thrill and delight. The world, costumes and characters look great and the Smaug-scenes did work for me. I don't hate it, but I can't say I thought it was a good film.
    • Elbak
      Although I enjoyed the movie, I agree that all those cliches you pointed out brought it down significantly. This felt like a good action movie. It's a fun ride with some entertaining visuals, but some of the dialogue and plot points keep it from being great.
    • Brian Sleider
      I think the gold had not yet cooled, they had only poured the gold moments before. At least that was my thought.
      • Snev De la Fontaine
        I assumed that was the idea, but it remained still for such a while before it started to explode in liquid form. It could actually be very realistic, but it seemed strange to me.
  • Nick Henderson
    I think most of us know what to expect now from these hobbit films. Just an above average film. nothing great. It is a nice little treat for all the LOTR movie fans. But I don't really think hobbit is anywhere near as good/great as LOTRs. I am disappointed by only having the option to see IMAX films in IMAX 3D for all 3D movies. I would of really liked to see this in IMAX. But only IMAX 3D was the option so I saw it on a normal 2D screen. REALLY cannot stand 3D. And just when things have slowly died down for 3D films.. Avatar sequels will be coming to get more and more followerss to make 3D movies... uhggg. Just give me 2D IMAX.
    • Chris Groves
      HFR improves the 3D experience by 10 fold, in my opinion.
  • Jacob Denton
    3D and HFR was the reason why I saw it. Not even a big fantasy or Rings fan. I just love a good movie theater experience, and seeing a movie this way is absolutely amazing. did it last year too. Movie itself was entertaining. lots of fun adventure and action. don't see anything wrong with that. Smaug was amazing. solid 8.5/10 (7.5 out of 10 without 3D and HFR)
    • VAharleywitch
      I finally found a theater I can reasonably get to, between my 2 jobs & home, that's showing Smaug in HFR. I missed it for Hobbit 1, so I'm curious what the hubbub - good & bad - is all about.
      • http://www.youtube.com/user/skazillashmack Danimal
        I saw the first Hobbit in HFR 3D. I'll say it's definitely an experience, but personally did not enjoy it. I felt it took away from the cinematic quality of the film and just felt really hokey. I will say that it does make the 3D look incredible though. Other than that, I'd encourage anybody who's curious about it and loves film, to check it out because everyone has different opinions. That's just my 2 cents :)
  • Jamie
    My review of The Desolation of Smaug - http://wp.me/pWv1y-2HQ
  • fazha
    --Possible spoilers. Saw it in 24fps 3D IMAX The Good: -Production values meet or exceed those of LOTR trilogy (with the exception of a few scenes which seemed like an extra layer of gloss was applied). -The last 40 minutes of the film with Smaug and Bilbo/The Dwarves. -The Spider scene in the Mirkwood Forest is tense and thrilling. -Pacing (much better than the last film though still felt over long by about 45 minutes) The Bad: -Excruciating romantic triangle between Legolas, Tauriel and Kili. -CGI-tis. Whereas LOTR felt 'real' via intricate costumes, props, sets, Hobbit feels like a video game cut scene most of the time. Good God Mr. Jackson, don't go all George Lucas on us! -Run Time. Again, padded out wayyyy too much. Not just for the source material, but for an entertaining film in general. While I enjoyed this one more than the last, I could not get over the feeling that everyone involved were rubbing their hands together with dollar signs in their eyes. I feel like a Stockholm syndrome hostage: In love with my captor. Will I see the final film? Goddam right. Will I like it? Probably a resounding 'Meh'.
  • Nathan D
    I left happy with what I saw. Of course the ending left me a bit cold, but thinking back I was pleased with every aspect of it aside from that and the music which felt a little over bearing at times. I always appreciate it when the music is dialed down like the Legolas fist fight in Laketown. Other than those small complaints I was entertained steadily throughout. I miss the LOTR theme, I'm hoping they end the next one with it as a send off to those movies. Good stuff!
  • Ehsan Davodi
    8.3/10
  • blkstar
    I loved it, just got back from the 8:30 showing and I was happy. I will say I enjoyed the first part a bit more just because there was more action. This film focused more on story. Glad to see the Elves are back and kicking ass like always. The ending will make everyone go WTF just because it leaves you hanging but part 3 will be the best. It has to be since it will be the last of the trilogy.
  • cobrazombie
    I'm just not feeling these Hobbit movies the same way I did the LOTR trilogy.
    • Xerxexx
      Because the hobbit isn't that good of a tale.
      • shane willett
        Its should have been a 2 part movie if it wouldn't fit into one film, but 3 is like just playing saying, im now a lazy hot shot director and me and the studio wants all your money for a lil idea...
      • Brian Sleider
        I disagree, it just isn't the same kind of tale. But PJ is trying to make it the same. The Hobbit was/is a lighthearted romp to a mountain to slay a dragon with no over tones of a deeper conflict out side of a small mention of a "necromancer". This new tale is wrought with danger and fright with a brooding Throin and a cloud of war on the horizon. Also dragging it out over 3 movies kind of leave a "watered down coffee taste" in my mouth, movies too long not enough real content.
  • jonnyb61
    it was good. very predictable. the dragon was great
  • DJROBL
    Killer flick I would say the only odd moment was the transition from EPIC BATTLE between Light and Dark sorcery to Bilbo standing quietly alone... My 10 year old daughter plugged in "Meanwhile...."
    • VAharleywitch
      LOL Indeed.
  • dangeer
    Loved it. Even better the second time.
  • Brian Sleider
    As a movie, I loved it, as a book adaptation, I hated it. All the parts with Gandalf going off are excellent, much of those parts were written by Tolken. I dislike the adding in of a dwarf/elf/elf love triangle, felt like time padding to justify the making of 3 movies. Other than that no big complaints. I saw it in 2d and some of the CG looked awful but hearing from friends they said 3d looked amazing.
  • Jocke
    I don't see why some people have issues with it being long. It's not like you will experience this ever again. Enjoy the ride, i did it in 3D HFR. I love'd every bit of it, Can't wait for another adventure next time with the third movie. There won't be anything like this fantasy world ever again. Smaug was 10/10.

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