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MikePA's Movie Reviews (137)

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The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug 
Review: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
2/4 stars

Blah. I hoped for more from "visionary" filmmaker Peter Jackson, who enthralled audiences with his beautiful, epic, and emotional Lord of the Rings trilogy 10 years ago. Since than he had made King Kong, which is, in my opinion, his best film ever. In 2009, he released The Lovely Bones, which was wrecked by critics and audiences (can't really go against them for that). Now he's pulled a George Lucas and created CGI-reliant prequels to The Lord of the Rings. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was actually kind of fun - delivering thrills, laughs, and a LOTR series highlight with the Gollum sequence.

Now, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug came out. Besides the dumb title, irrelevant characters and plot threads, shitty CGI, cartoony action sequences, and the loss of our main hero, Bilbo Baggins, the ultimate sin of this second installment is that it's utterly devoid of the sense of excitement that blew through the air of the first film. Let's not forget, An Unexpected Journey had its big problems, lots of which strike back in this second installment, but that film at least felt like a Lord of the Rings FILM. This feels like a Lord of the Rings video game. The first film had tiny little side stuff, but the main story was - the dwarves, the hobbit, on an adventure, bad guy chasing them. Boom. In this thing the horrible elves get involved in the mix and there's unneeded business involving the Orcs. The movie never shuts the fuck up. Mr. Jackson, just leave the dwarves on their mission, let Gandalf do what he's got to do so the story can tie in with Lord of the Rings, and keep it at that.

The film does not justify its runtime. Everything in the film feels so loose and dense and poorly constructed. The transitions are too quick and abrupt. There's no hint of building tension or edgy curiosity. The cliffhanger ending is terrible and goes to show you that Jackson was just better off cutting some of this stuff out (which he had plenty to work with) and making it into two films. To me personally, the cliffhanger doesn't really matter to me because, at this point in Bilbo's adventure, I don't really care. An Unexpected Journey had a solid ending - an awesome action scene followed by a subtle closure, raising hopes for the next one without injecting frowns.

CGI. CGI. CGI. CGI. CGI. CGI. And more CGI. "Visionary" director Peter Jackson is getting way too CGI-greedy. An Unexpected Journey had lots of CGI, but at least it blended well with the actors. Here PJ is too reliant on it, to the point where he replaces the characters with completely CGI beings in certain moments. It made me feel like he's just getting lazy at making real movies and real action scenes. He'd be a great video game director.

The confrontation between Bilbo and Smaug is pretty darn fantastic. In this sequence, Smaug breathes menace and terror as scared yet heroic little Bilbo attempts to escape the beast's cleverness. It's a terrifying, powerful, and very well-written sequence that's tragically ruined by the non-stop action that follows. The great Benedict Cumberbatch is forced to say silly lines which makes the dragon a laughable little gecko. The visual effects become inferior and much too cartoony. The action looks more like video game cut-scenes rather than intense Middle Earth combat. I was waiting for Gollum to crawl in and have a game of riddles with Smaug. Dude... imagine how amazing that would be.

I wish people would listen to me when I say don't bother with The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. I don't understand why this film is receiving better reactions than the first film. This thing sucks. If there's something commendable about the film - it's the Smaug sequence with Bilbo, and it's that Martin Freeman continues to showcase enjoyment as his character. Love Bilbo.

2/4


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