I got to see The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug the other night and I was really excited for it. First of all, my main fandom of choice is the Tolkien universe. So, imagine my surprise last year when the announcement came that there wasn’t just going to be one Hobbit movie directed by Peter Jackson, but a three part trilogy. All my expectations for The Hobbit as a movie flew out of the window at this time. I had just re-read the book in excitement for the original one part movie, the story was fresh in my mind, and I knew that a trilogy of three and a half hour movies based on a book less than 200 pages long was just not going to work. You could actually read The Hobbit in the amount of time it would take you to watch all three movies. I kind of understood what Peter Jackson was going for, though. I’m sure he just didn’t want it to all be over because that’s the way I feel too. I love Middle Earth so much, that I am willing to watch filler just because I’m not ready to say goodbye. Just think, one year from now it really will be over, so I’m willing to go to the theater to watch a really long movie with a couple scenes of filler only to watch it end abruptly at the 3:30 mark.
Anyway, on to the actual content of the movie. In the book, the focus of the story is mostly on Bilbo and the story is told mainly from his point of view. It’s the story of an uptight, antisocial hobbit who never leaves his house, never does anything exciting or fun. His old friend Gandalf tries to teach him a lesson and to get out into the world to experience things, so he sends him on a quest with a bunch of dwarves. The quest they’re on isn’t that important, it’s the fact that Bilbo goes out and experiences life that is the main point of the story. That’s what I got from it, anyway. In the movie, however, we get to see more of the rest of the characters in the story, especially Thorin Oakenshield. This is something I really enjoy about the movie. We get to see him go from king without a kingdom, to brave warrior, to typical greedy dwarf, back to brave warrior. I don’t know if I was reading into it too much, but Thorin was presented as a really complex character and I could get a sense of an inner struggle between wanting to reclaim the throne and wanting to claim all of Smaug’s riches.
Some things I would like to nitpick on are the scenes with Tauriel, Thrandiul, and Legolas. I did rather enjoy the innocent flirtation between Kili and Tauriel, even though it wasn’t in the book. The scene I had trouble with was the one between Tauriel and Thrandiul, where he tells her Legolas cares for her, but he doesn’t approve of them having a romantic relationship. I never once in this movie ever saw any hint of a relationship between Tauriel and Legolas that was anything but a professional military relationship, for lack of better word. I really thought that scene was unnecessary, because Legolas seemed to have Tauriel in the friend zone.
My favorite scene, and the reason to see the movie in the first place is where the dwarves escape down the river in barrels. This was my favorite part of the book, and I really think Peter Jackson did the scene justice. There’s a lot of “fun violence” and a lot of humor in this part and I thought this scene made the whole movie worth my time.
In the end, I was very pleased with this movie. However, I went into it with very low expectations, considering how long and drawn out this trilogy is going to be. With that in mind, I think anyone can enjoy this movie as long as they’re not expecting Return of the King quality.