Saturday, March 29, 2014

Hobbit 2 Review

Just saw The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.

Good time, great film. I’ve heard some negative reviews and honestly I don’t agree. I thought it was heaps better than the first one and its plodding scrotal chinned goblin king section.

The barrel ride has been described as overlong, but I wonder how short of an attention span do you need to think so. PJ turned a short, boring page in the book into tense, action packed ride followed by some humour and subterfuge. There was a hint of rubber leg CG Legolas, but on the whole actors and CG flowed well.

One minor flaw that came later was a bit of CG lingering. CG effects work best when the camera spends little time on them, like the great dragon chase. The CG lingering on the gold king felt overlong and muddled the meaning, but didn’t ruin the film at all.

If there is one complaint, it is that in making characters and dialogue out of whole cloth, PJ sometimes doesn’t know when to stop. Case in point is Tauriel. I am all for adding in tough female characters in Tolkien – in LotR, we get tough women like Eowyn, who gets promised action and agency only to get cut off at the knees figuratively and relegated to a handmaid.

Tauriel seemed about to break that mold. She did her own thing, turned away love from a friend, then saved an enemy because it was the right thing to do. When this dwarven enemy deliriously remarks that she shouldn’t be there, this would have been a great place to end the scene. Instead he asks, “Would she have loved me?” and marks the return to the sappy chains of womanhood. Didn’t ruin the film, but made me wish PJ had taken a chance and let one strong woman stand alone.

My Report Card:

Hobbit 1 = B
Hobbit 2 = A minus

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