We went to see The Hobbit 2 this weekend as the last part of my birthday celebration. My initial reaction is, LOVED IT! However, now that I have taken a day or so to digest it, let me go into more detail
First of all, I liked the first movie better. It had a more “adventure” feel to it, and a more even tone. The second movie flipped back and forth between an exciting adventure and a brooding, doom-and-gloom story. The difference was stark, and a bit hard to follow at times. But really, that’s kind of a minor thing, so I can let it pass. Besides, even in PJ’s first trilogy, I liked the first one better than the second as well.
The one gripe I had with this one was Legolas. Ok, I get that Tolkien loved his elves, and that PJ loves them too. But the scenes with Legolas were kind of annoyingly over-the-top. Plus, Bloom’s make-up was not so good, and you could tell that he had aged a lot since the first trilogy, and that they had to cover that up (I noticed the same thing with Elijah in the first one). In short, he didn’t really look like the Legolas I remember. He also didn’t act much like him, though that can be chalked up to this being the “angry teenager” version, who eventually matures just a bit by the time Frodo sets out from Rivendell.
The dwarves were all just as fun, though I still have a hard time remembering which one is which. But that’s just the nature of there being so many of them. Though I have to say that, as they got closer to Lonely Mountain, Thorin seemed to become kind of unstable. Of course, that was probably intentional as a character development, so I can live with it.
But really, the best part of this movie was all of the scenes involving Smaug. He was just awesome to behold. Probably even more so than the Balrog, which has long been one of my favorite fantasy-movie monsters. Cumberbach’s voice was excellent, and he clearly got into the role. In all honesty, whenever I have a dragon in one of my D&D games, this is how I imagine it.
Visually, the movie is stunning, and once more makes you believe that Middle Earth is real, and that you can actually go there. I understand it deviates a lot from the book (even when you include the details from The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales), but that has never mattered much to me. I can understand the view of those to whom this is important, I’m just not of the same opinion. The basic story is still there, and there were some cool additions (I really liked Tauriel). So, I’m fine with the movie being the movie, and the book being the book.
But that last moment of the film...I am VERY excited for next year!