Monday, May 19, 2014

Now at Netflix: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013) - Directed by Peter Jackson; Written by Fran Walsh, Phillipa Boyens, Jackson and Guillermo Del Toro; Starring Martin Freeman, Ian McKellan, Orlando Bloom, Evangeline Lilly, Lee Pace, Stephen Fry.

By Kenny Howell

I am so Tolkien'd out.

Why this 300 page book was turned into three, three hour movies, I have no idea. Three normal length films would be too much. I mean, I know the reason was money, but the excess is showing in the second installment.

The first one set up the story, and took its time doing that, knowing that there was plenty more hours to go. But it wasn't bad. It was definitely a step down, especially in the visual effects, which looked much more cartoonish than The Lord of the Rings films. It might have had something to do with the frame rate Jackson used, which was up for much debate. Whatever it was, it looked generic. It never really sucked me into the world like The Lord of the Rings did.

The visual effects are a little better, but the story is not. This is the meat of the story, or it should be, but with no beginning and end to frame it becomes a bit like a chore. It is lots of walking, as the group continues their trek to Erebor where they are to confront the dragon Smaug. That is basically it. For nearly three hours. There are of course some obstacles and some action scenes, none of which are terribly exciting. They are passable, but I never really found myself excited about what was unfolding on the screen.

The real draw is still Jackson bringing the world of Tolkien to life. It is pretty impressive, but it can't take away from what is happening, or not really happening in that world. And when the film wraps up, there of course isn't much closure, and it makes you realize there is still three more hours to go.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is also available at Redbox, iTunes and Amazon.

Rating: *

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