The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is one trip too many to Middle Earth, Michelle’s Review!

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Ok, after five trips into middle earth, I’ve officially crossed over from being completely ambivalent about the world that JRR Jackson, I mean Director Peter Jackson created to pretty much hating it. I’ve seen film padding before, but Jackson’s nearly 3-hour The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is a textbook example of the old adage that “Even the best directors need an editor,” and Jackson hardly qualifies as a “best director.” Someone at WB needs to learn how to say no to Jackson.

Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), the Wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and thirteen Dwarves, led by one of the worst leaders in recent memory, Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage), continue their epic-ly [sic] boring quest to reclaim the Lonely Mountain and the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor.

As much as I disliked the first film at least that movie did a nice job of setting up and progressing the story. This one just meandered all over the place. It felt like I was watching a movie called “Hobbit: The Sidequests.” Smaug seriously stretched my patience to the breaking point. I wanted to scream – “Get to the freaking point, already!”

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This installment picks up right where the last one left all, our heroes are still on the run from the Orcs as they head towards the Lonely Mountain. Along their journey they encounter several obstacles including a big shape shifter. This entire sequence felt like filler and did nothing to move things forward. Yes, Jackson did an amazing job on the CGI Bear; it looked appropriately scary and menacing, but again what was the point?

They eventually find themselves going through a scary forest of darkness where they spend an inordinate amount of time fighting giant Giant Spiders and falling out of trees. We find out how Bilbo’s sword got its name of Sting.  Speaking of Bilbo, he comes into his own in this film, thanks to the one ring, he becomes bolder and ends up rescuing the bungling Dwarves – a lot.

Besides the tedious length of the film, the shallow story, and the lack of any characterization, the movie fails to make you sympathize with Thorin. If anything it made me root for him not to succeed in his quest. He would make a lousy King. He’s mean, selfish and has shown no sense of loyalty to anyone in his party. After six hours of movie, I still have no clue who any of these dwarves are or why they are even following Thorin, other than the basic “We want our homeland back.”

Every time someone is injured he shows no qualms about leaving them behind to continue his quest.  He did it to Bilbo several times in the Hobbit and does it again this time around. The one time he ever shows any kind of King like quality is when he promises a Village that if they help him, he would restore prosperity. It was supposed to be a ra ra moment, but it comes across as more of Thorin’s selfishness. He doesn’t give a crap about that village; he just wants his precious stone.

When did the Elves become such jagoffs? In the first trilogy they were noble, conscientious (if not arrogant and pretentious) kick-ass warriors. In this film they are still kick-ass, but they have a feud going with the Dwarves that is never explained and there’s some weird romance thing going on between one of the Dwarves and new character Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly) who seems to have something going on with Legolas (Orlando Bloom).

Thorin is also a really bad military strategist. The final fight with the Smaug drove me nuts; it was over done, and made no logical sense. I just wanted one of them to scream – “hey, let’s try putting an arrow in that gigantic glowing soft spot.”

It is clear Jackson didn’t know where he wanted to end this film.  I swear there were about five different points in the last 30 minutes where I gathered my things and was ready to get the heck out of there, but it kept going and going.

Every five or ten minutes our merry band of adventurers were falling, rolling, running and fighting their way through one ridiculous thing after another. It felt like I was watching someone giving a video game or theme park pitch than a real movie.

This method of serpentine, never ending, storytelling is only acceptable if it was pitched as being told in real time – 3 years, 9 hours (not even factoring in the extended additions). So basically it’ll be what, 2015 before we see the complete story? The middle part of a trilogy is supposed to make you want to return, this one just makes me dread visiting this depressing, drab, world ever again.

Final Grade F

11 thoughts on “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is one trip too many to Middle Earth, Michelle’s Review!”

  1. Your comments regarding Beorn being filler and not feeling ‘sympathy’ for Thorin make it quite clear that Eclipse chose someone in the newsroom who hadn’t read the book to write a review. No wonder it went right over your head – your editors should be embarrassed with themselves.

    1. Can’t say I agree with everything in Michelle’s review, but as someone who *has* read the book as well as LOTR, and has seen Smaug, knowing the source material only serves to make this a worse film in my eyes.

      1. Have you read the appendices in the LOTR? How about the Quest for Erebor in the Unfinished Tales (I believe) or the Silmarillion? As a reader of all the source material, I have to disagree with your statement “knowing the source material only serves to make this a worse film.” While P.Jackson’s movies do diverge from the story he is drawing from all the source material rather than making a kid’s story that would, quite frankly, be disappointing as an addition to the LOTR films.

        1. What’s your point? I have read all that you mentioned and Jackson twists all of these references into silly putty that neither adds new excitement to the story nor pays homage to the original sources ….. It is all a bad bad stupid stupid video game of a movie … Yuck!

  2. You shouldn’t have to read the book to like the movie. Simple as that. Those “side quests” are going to culminate into a much larger merging point by the end, but I agree, Peter Jackson introduces too many side story lines without any explanation. Perhaps the weakest part of his movies. But they are no less entertaining, and perhaps by the end, you’ll realize they weren’t so unnecessary after all.

  3. Superb review by Michelle Alexandria … The movie is an absolute disgrace to JRR Tolkien … Nothing of what made the Hobbit a classic is in this video game … Does not deserve to be even called a movie … Jackson effed this up about as embarrassing bad as one can ..

  4. … even considering this .. ahem .. “movie” as distinct from the classic book .. TDOS sucks giant troll balls … boring and stupid … and makes virtually every character unpleasant and campy ..

  5. don’t mess wit me, I’m a g,i,n,g come and giv it to me im bout to s,l,e,e,p. Harry-Pott-er>LOTR

  6. I don’t think someone who admittedly feels ambivalence toward the Middle-earth mythos can write a reliable review for a film targeting fans of Lord of the Rings. If you didn’t like Lord of the Rings, I’m pretty sure you’re not going to find much of interest in the Hobbit. (If you do, good for you.) And as for Thorin being an unsympathetic character, clearly you have not read the book. He’s NOT a sympathetic character in the book. He’s arrogant, self-important, and blinded by his own greed. If anything, at least the films make the underlying causes for his behavior more apparent than the book ever did. I don’t find it difficult at all to see where he’s coming from and sympathize with him. I don’t have to like him or agree with everything he does to sympathize with him. Flawed protagonists are more interesting than perfect ones.

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