Monday, December 16, 2013

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Movie Review)

The best thing, worst thing, and main thing about the second Hobbit movie The Desolation of Smaug in about the time it takes to watch the trailer. Don't forget to take a shot at the "best ever" question in the comments!

 

REVIEW TEXT:

I want my Oreo packaging to be made of the same material as Elven quivers. Cause then I would never run out of Oreos. Seriously how many arrows do they have in those things?
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“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” is the middle child of the Hobbit films. The second of three eventual films based on Tolkien's classic tale. Everybody’s back as the Dwarves and Bilbo finally make their way into meet Smaug, the dragon that has taken up residence in the dwarves native mountain. Now it’s no secret that the Lord of the Rings films are my favorite movies of all time, and that I loved the first Hobbit movie despite some flaws, so can entry number two continue the awesomeness? Well… mostly? Let’s get into some details.
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First, this movie is a ton of fun. Martin Freeman is so perfect as Bilbo Baggins and picks up right where he left off in movie one. And when this movie gets moving it’s some of the most mind blowingly cool action scenes I’ve ever seen on screen. Much of this is due to the return of everyone's favorite archery magician Legolas and his new female doppelganger Tauriel. I mean, seriously, the way these elves move and fight is absolute poetry to watch on screen. I was also extremely impressed with Smaug, beautifully voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch, but even more beautifully animated by the gang at Weta. In fact the entire film looks absolutely stunning. Of course much of that could be seeing the film in HFR3D (the HFR is High Frame Rate) so the colors and actions just pop off the screen. I think I may be in the minority on this because seeing an HFR movie does take some getting used to, but I would love to see all movies done in this format. There are some scenes in this that are just heart stoppingly beautiful because of how crisp and clean everything looks. Going back to a regular 24 frames per second film after watching this just makes everything feel blurry and slow. And if every movie were shot and projected this way, the “Soap opera” effect that people complain about would be forgotten as the brain would adjust to the new normal. Anyhow I’m a huge fan of the process and it made middle earth once again come alive in vivid detail.. But the best thing was my favorite 20 minutes of the film, which will henceforth be known in cinema lore as “the barrel scene” Pure adrenaline, pure giddiness, pure fun. I could watch that scene on repeat for a full 3 hours and see something new every time. Incredible stuff.
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Speaking of a full three hours, let talk worst thing. This movie is just too long. I really think Peter Jackson made a huge mistake in dividing this book into 3 movies. You can just feel the movie strain under its own misguided need to fill in as much backstory and character development as possible. It results in a movie that takes too long getting started and never feels like a complete tale. And I’m the guy that loves the Extended editions of Lord of the Rings! But that was three giant books made into three giant movies. This was one small book stretched into three giant movies. Don’t get me wrong, I cherish every moment I get to spend in middle earth, but even a geeked out fan like me can tell there is too much bread and not enough butter here. I also didn’t like one, maybe two, of the jokey Lord of the Rings callbacks, but that’s a very minor thing overall.
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All in All “the Desolation of Smaug” is another captivating and epic chapter in the Tolkien/Jackson universe. Stunningly gorgeous and aggressively fun it has some of the most exciting moments you will ever see on a big screen. It’s only too much of a good thing that brings it down to a mildly disappointing B+.
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Thanks for checking out this Your Movie Friend review, stay tuned for this review’s “Best Ever” challenge here in bit but first, I’m going to put up some stuff you can click over in this area. If you’d like to subscribe, which I would much appreciate, you can do so by clicking the big gray subscribe button. Want to see more reviews? You can click here to see reviews of the Tyler Perry’s A Medea Christmas, Nebraska, or Saving Mr. Banks. You can also Click the logo up here to go to yourmoviefriend.com where you can search by title for reviews. And finally this review’s “Best Ever” Challenge, where you name the best movie ever in a particular category and also try to identify my choice. This time you must name “the best dragon movie ever”. Yeah this is a gimme, you could probably name mine without a hint, so I’ll just say I can’t wait for the sequel. Drop your own answer and a guess at mine in the comments and first person to guess mine gets a point! Thanks and don’t forget to subscribe!