A Trilogy Of Reviews Of ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’

BOOK THE FIRST: A REVIEW In which we reveal our feelings about the motion picture.

When last we saw Bilbo and the Seven Dwarfs, they were wandering Middle Earth enroute to the Lonely Mountain, which is an ancient Dwarf kingdom that looks like the Paramount logo:

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The journey was troublesome, as they were being chased by a pack of Orcs led by the Big Gay Persian from 300:

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Needless to say, the new movie picks up where the last left off, with our dwarves hanging off a cliff or being rescued by eagles or something like that. This time the guys (SPOILER) make it from the Misty Mountains to the dragon’s den, but if we want to find out what happens next, we have to buy another movie ticket, or dig out the book from our parents’ basement.

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The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was a fun film, but the tone was a little mixed throughout the movie; it lurched from suspense to comedy to musical without much warning. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug does much better in that regard, maintaining a decent amount of action and suspense, with a complete absence of Dwarf sing-alongs. The escape scene (SPOILER) involving barrels was probably worth the price of the picture by itself. We enjoyed the movie muchly, and we don’t want to be accused of being anti-dwarfites, but there were some issues with the movie that will be introduced in the sequel to this review.

BOOK THE SECOND: THE SEQUEL In which we whine about everything we didn’t like about the movie, and a new term is introduced.

(1) If Thorin Oakenshield (son of Thráin, son of Thrór) and his friends are such badass warriors, why are they captured and disarmed so often? The first time around they were captured by Mountain Trolls and Goblins, this go round they are captured by everything from Elves to the Sentient Fungi of East Rivendell.

(2) Too much Prequel Foreshadowing! Though “Chamber Monsoon” hasn’t caught on (yet!) it is nevertheless incumbent upon us to introduce a new term: The Lucas-Jackson Effect. This occurs when a character in a prequel ominously invokes a character or event in the future trilogy.

ANAKIN SKYWALKER
Democracy is pretty cool, but ya know what would be great?

PRINCESS AMIDALA
No, what would be great?

(Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana begins playing on the soundtrack)

THE LOST SOULS OF SITH LORDS (V.O.)
Klaatu Barada Niktu!! ROMANES EUNT DOMUS!!

ANAKIN SKYWALKER
It would be great if the entire universe was ruled by one guy – a sort of Dark Father.. bwahahaha

PRINCESS AMIDALA
That’s nice, honey

Now compare that to this scene from The Hobbit 2:

BILBO BAGGINS
I… I found something Gandalf

GANDALF
What have you found, Bilbo?

BILBO BAGGINS
I found a cool ring

GANDALF
Be careful with that, it might be precious to someone

(Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana begins playing on the soundtrack)

THE LOST SOULS OF ELVEN KINGS LONG AGO (V.O.)
Klaatu Barada Niktu!! IxNay on the obbitHay!!

BILBO BAGGINS
Yeah, whatever dude

(3) Not to flog a dead horse or anything, but in The Hobbit (book), Bilbo never heard elvish voices or anything when he put on the ring. That didn’t even start for Frodo until The Two Towers or thereabouts.

(4) Speaking of George Lucas, I don’t know why the Attack of the Clones “Droid Factory” scene got spliced into a Hobbit movie.

(5) Too many bridges over yawning chasms.

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Why does everyone have them? Goblins, elves, dwarves – do they all use the same architect?

(6) What’s up with all this new Gandalf/Necromancer material? In the book, Gandalf says something like “Oh, I had some other business to attend to” to explain his absence. End of. In these two Hobbit movies, Peter Jackson is really dragging out that whole “other business.” We realize this has something to do with the Lucas-Jackson Effect, but the new material just takes attention away from the main story. Oh look, Gandalf found another long-abandoned castle with yet another bridge over a yawning chasm, how fun.

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BOOK THE THIRD: THE FUNNY VIDEO In which we end the review with some footage which may or may not have anything to do with the The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)

FARE THEE WELL until the sequel to this trilogy: THE SILMARILLION!

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