Well it took over two months, but I finally got to see The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, with my daughter and her boyfriend. We arrived at the theater just in time to snag three seats in the back row. I'm too prone to motion sickness to sit any closer, especially with today's theme park ride special effects. Fortunately, I didn't need the Dramamine I said I'd need in my review of the first film, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
I enjoyed this movie as much as I did the first one. Probably more so because I didn't get as nauseous as I did the last time. I certainly agree with IMDb's 8.2 stars-out-of-10 rating. (Or 4 out of 5 stars). My daughter on the other hand thought the movie was scary and after I alluded to what's to come, she has no interest in seeing the final film.
Keep this in mind if you're thinking of
dragging inviting someone to the show who doesn't care for hideous creatures and intense fight scenes. If they've read the book, this might help; although Peter Jackson and crew certainly amped-up the action and graphic violence compared to the original children's tale.
Speaking of the book, The Desolation of Smaug seemed to take even more deviations from the original source material than the first movie did.
Azog continues his pursuit of Thorin and Company, but is recalled to Dol Guldur to raise an orc army. So he hands off responsibility of the dwarf hunt to Bolg. Which I just discovered in researching this post, that the producers made him Azog's son, rather than a successor to the Goblin King of the Misty Mountains.
Okay, I can live with that.
Here's some other deviations--and plot spoilers if you haven't seen the movie or read the book--that I liked, or at least didn't mind:
Including Legolas into the adventure. He is King Thranduil's son after all, so why not?
The barrel ride out of Mirkwood looked something like this...
...with scores of orcs in hot pursuit.
But orcs weren't the only ones following Thorin and Company. Legolas and non-canon character Tauriel chase after the orcs.
What's more, a love story blooms between the elf woman and Kili.
At first, I thought: Are you kidding me?!
But as the movie progressed, I thought this sub-plot was sweetly done and very moving towards the end. I'm not the only one who thinks so either. The internet's awash with Tauriel & Kili fan art, ranging from serious...
|(Image by Noidship)|
|(Image by "amoeba-butter")|
|(Image by Minipraw)|
|(Image by Jeni Hudson)|
Along with everything else in between and beyond.
Oh yes, there's even racier images available. But I don't want to be required to slap a warning label on my blog for adult content.
Okay now, where was I?
Oh, yes. Back to hideous creatures, fear, death and destruction...
Another scene that was deviated from was Bilbo entering the Smaug's lair in Erebor. Unlike the book, the dragon is able to sense the true origin of the One Ring, so Bilbo takes it off. (Prior to this, Bilbo began to suspect the dark power in his fight with the giant spiders in Mirkwood). Eventually, the dwarves, minus the group attending a wounded Kili in Lake-town, join Bilbo and a battle ensues. This provokes Smaug to leave the mountain and fly to Lake-town with the intent of destroying it. This is where the movie ends.
Some cliffhanger, eh?
But if you've read the book, you know what's coming next, so the third movie promises to be a doozy--and a tearjerker. Despite the fan artists' hope that Tauriel and Kili will live happily ever after (HEA as romance writers abbreviate it), I fear this elf-dwarf love story will end in tragedy.
So I plan on bringing extra tissues to the next movie.
Now for those deviations I didn't care about:
I don't remember Lake-town being such a wretched police state in the book. The town's goon squad's primary job is to keep is to keep tabs on Bard and keep the population in line. So when Bolg leads his company of orcs through town and gets in a fight the few dwarves left behind, along with the two elves, Legolas and Tauriel, no one notices.
And speaking of Bard, I have mixed feelings about how he's portrayed. He turns on the dwarves when he realizes Thorin is the descendant of Durin and fears the prophecy of doom. But I know he and his trusty black arrow will come through in the end.
I just hope that no matter how much Peter Jackson and crew have changed Bard's arsenal, I hope they keep this line from the book...