December 16, 2013

"The Hobbit (Part 2)" Spoiler-Free Review

I saw a few movies lately - Catching Fire, Frozen and The Hobbit (Part 2). Here is my review of The Hobbit, the rest will follow later.
  The second part of The Hobbit picks up pretty much where the first part left off, with a 'prologue' that set up the first film. The adventure continues, but it gets darker along the way due to dangers and ancient revealed. Some of the lightheartedness has been replaced with somber, because the race is on to get to the end of the journey. 

Everything about the first film is made better (or, depending on your viewpoint, worse). The effects, look and tone of the film are top notch. So too is the sound. Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage continue to shine..and well, Sir Ian McKellen is Gandalf. So glad am I to see him as Gandalf the Grey in four Tolkien movies total. But it is the titular character Smaug who definitely makes the film seeing. 

If you enjoyed the extended versions of Lord of the Rings, as well as seeing Part 1 last year, it's a safe bet that you'll enjoy this film (I have not seen the extended version of The Hobbit (Part 1) yet, I'm waiting for the extended box set). If you are puzzling how we got 3 movies out of a book less than 400 pages, then don't see this film. Or the next one. Peter Jackson still knows how to create a spectacle on screen, and breathe history and meaning into it. Legolas is the son of the don't be surprised to see him show up. Also, Gandalf shows that he is the 'link' between The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, as emphasized by his side-mission and the opening scene. I should note that the ramped up role of 'The Necromancer' does not take away from Smaug as being the villain of the story. The Necromancer side story is, at this point, a mystery that some secondary characters are trying to puzzle out. But when Gandalf realizes his identity and utters the 'S' word, I am curious how that story arc will play out in Part 3....

This movie, is not perfect. I found it to be about as good as Part 1, though in different ways. 

Regardless, I had a great time at the theater, and am already looking forward to Part 3 next December....

What they got right, worthy of note:
- the 'prologue'
- Mirkwood and Spiders
- The Woodelves (incl. the integration of Legolas)
-  'Barrels out of Bond'
- Gandalf's side-mission
- Smaug

What they got wrong, or what I felt was off:
- how Beorn looked in human form
- Tauriel. No, not the fact that she's an original creation. At times she stuck out like a sore thumb. But the actress did a great job with her.
- a little too much time in Esgaroth after the company arrives.

Like the first film, I give this installment a solid


Although, I was close to giving it an 8.5 / 10. (my score goes in .5 increments) More movie reviews coming soon....

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