The Desolation of Smaug: A Discussion of Expectations


It is not often I see a movie close enough to release to be able to review it, but there seems to be an exception to this rule when it comes to the Middle-Earth movies. I saw Fellowship of the Ring for midnight release – it was a blessing to have others to bemoan the lack of Tom Bombadill with – and viewed all others within a week of opening.

I would suggest seeing this movie in 3D. Though the glasses weren’t themed to the movie as they were when I saw An Unexpected Journey, and Jackson has a weird obsession with floating random insects towards the audience, I do feel the addition of a dimension enhanced the movie. Barring the insects, it was a fairly seemless experience, though I wish Gandalf had blown some epic smoke rings as he did in the first movie. However, I felt more a part of the movie during this second installment of what was originally going to be a singular add-on to the Lord of the Rings franchise.

And so we arrive at the title of this post. If Jackson stayed with the one movie project, the general expectation would be a live action version of the animated movie – all adventure, NO filler. Albeit with a cooler version of Gandalf. I can’t be the only one who could not watch the animated Hobbit more than once because Gandalf was wimpily-pompous to a degree past comical and into tears of pain. With the expansion to three, options for debate expand. What will be there? What won’t even though there’s three movies? How is Peter Jackson going to generate a love story in The Hobbit? The Hobbit!

Oh. Wait. Tolkien wrote in a couple handsome dwarves. And a bare mention of Legolas. Love story, here we come.

While I mock the choice to add teh luvs, there are obvious reasons it was made, so I’m not really mad about it. I suspected the addition of Legolas and love when they announced an expansion to three movies. Now, some fans may have let themselves believe it would be a more accurate reproduction of the book if done as a trilogy, more time for frolicking about Mirkwood and waiting for the sunset to fall on a door. But expecting any movie to play accurate to the book is setting up for disappointment. This is not what Hollywood does to novels. Or novellas. Or short stories. More time means more additions and effects. Fans of the book can get mad about it, or come to terms with the realities of the movie business and enjoy the ride.

Readers of The Hobbit, prepare to accept and enjoy the ride for this second installment, with the promise of needing a similar attitude for number three. Scenes are twisted, love is in the air, things are missing despite the expansion to a trilogy, and the Woodland Realm is so beautiful you may wish for Bilbo’s days of wandering about invisible just to stare at it longer. If all else fails, take solace in Smaug living up to all expectations, and look forward to seeing him rain fire down upon Laketown in 3D.

I know I am.


About June Faramore

Writer of fantasy, mainstream, and young adult fiction. Poet and sketcher. Mother. I read a lot and love cheese. Guitar playing singer-songwriter. I also enjoy stepping on the cracks in the sidewalk.
This entry was posted in Books, Juvenile Fantasy, Movies, Recommendations, Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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