Top Ten: Things I Disliked About the 2nd Hobbit Movie

the-hobbit-desolation-of-smaug-movie-poster As a Lord of the Rings fangirl, I loved The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. But it is my least favorite of all the movies. The first Hobbit movie was so much better in my eyes, even though it gives my friends fits when I say so. I saw the movie twice in theaters and still didn’t feel like I could write a proper review. I felt so let down during the movie. It’s full of great moments I loved (see next week’s list), but my overall feeling each time I walked out of theaters was disappointment. So I waited until I could watch it again at home before writing up a list.


Top Ten Things I Disliked About The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

  1. Pacing- This is my #1 dislike, so I thought I’d start with it. Everything. Moved. So. Slowly. I know the Hobbit is a short book and breaking it into three pieces means needing to extend scenes a bit. But I honestly found some of the scenes painfully long. I love Bilbo & Smaug’s discussion… but the whole thing went on SO LONG. The dwarves standing up against the dragon was awesome (and sad because of so much destruction), but it just kept going on and on and on. I love the barrel scene, but it just went past the point where it was important to the plot until it existed just for action and special effects to make the movie longer. BUT where the movie could have used some extra time… the plot went wooshing by in an instant. I didn’t FEEL like the dwarves were going to be imprisoned for a hundred years in the elf dungeon; I never truly felt the sense of hopelessness. It took the people of Lake Town, like, 30 seconds to change their minds (“Hey, Bard, thanks for helping provide for us and for standing up for us all these years. But this dwarf from a family I’ve mistrusted for generations promised me a possibility of wealth so I’m suddenly siding with him instead.”). Bard spends all of a minute running across town, finding an old tapestry that makes him remember the answer to everything (“Where’s that old tapestry everyone but me has forgotten exists? Oh, there. That was easy. Now I know their entire plan.”). And then there’s the thing that I put last on this list. In all, the pacing just did not work for me. It’s a 10-minute Knight Bus chase scene included instead of explanation of who the Marauders were all over again for me.
  2. Nothing good comes of this- I came out of the movie the first time saying “nothing happened!” at which point my friends jabbed me repeatedly with pointy objects. I still feel this is true to some extent, but I’m revising it a bit now that I’ve seen the movie multiple times. It’s a middle movie, which is something I frequently have trouble with (I’m sorry, but my least favorite Star Wars movie IS Empire Strikes Back!). In trilogies, the first movie is where you get setup. Adventure is introduced, a quest is begun, characters start coming together. We start with nothing and build. In the last movie, sh*t has gotten real and characters overcome it. Then there’s a big happy ending. In the middle… there are just complications–some necessary, some not so needed. In this movie, I felt like the characters end up pretty much where they started. The dwarves still don’t (technically) have the stone, they just managed to piss off an entire town, the entire woodland realm of elves, orcs, spiders, and a dragon. In fact, there’s pretty much no positive evolution of plot at all. So when I say nothing happened, I mean nothing GOOD happens. Okay, yeah, I’m sure Bilbo’s got the stone in his pocket and Bard’s got a new purpose for his pot-holding arrow, but that’s about it. They manage just to mess a whole lot with very little positive growth either in the mission or personally (even in the face of set-backs there needs to be positive personal growth for characters).
  3. My favorite part of the book was excluded- There was even setup for it in the first movie. Yet, when it came down to it, my favorite moment in the book wasn’t there. This is a very personal thing and I don’t blame them for excluding it, it was just disappointing.
  4. All of the progress Bilbo makes with Thorin goes right out the window- We spend the entire first movie watching Bilbo start to believe in himself on the adventure and then convince Thorin that he belongs on the quest. Finally, by the end of the first movie, Thorn believes in Bilbo and stops merely referring to him as the Burglar. In this movie? He’s back to calling him the Burglar again. Even when Bilbo repeatedly saves their behinds, he doesn’t give Bilbo a bit of credit and all character development and progress made in the first movie is gone. It’s not even some slow downward spiral as the bad effects start to take him over… he starts out cold against Bilbo all over again.
  5. Silly repeated zooming red eye effect- I hate this moment. It is the only thing I truly hated. I thought it was painfully cheesy and did not belong in the movie. In an old low-budget B movie maybe, but not in The Hobbit. Of all the Necromancer/Sauron’s eye images they could have used and this was what they decided would be the most powerful? It’s like they handed the special effects off to a five-year-old for a few seconds.
  6. Jerky CG- There are a few moments in The Fellowship of the Ring I have to excuse because of jerky CG (like Legolas during the cave troll scene). That was years ago and our technology is so much better now. So there’s no excuse for the badly-done CG moments during this movie. They take a beautiful sequence like the barrel scene and make it look terrible in places. Perhaps that’s one reason it felt too long to me as well.
  7. Dividing up the company- There are a LOT of things that came out of this change that I liked. So I don’t completely hate what dividing up the company made possible. I understand that it was a good decision for a filmmaker who needed to continue the narrative in Lake Town (though we were already attached to Bard by then; that would have been fine). But it was painful to have so many dwarves stay behind while others continue the quest and go to the mountain. I like my fellowships/companies full and whole… I don’t even like when Gandalf takes off whenever he pleases. Which brings us to…
  8. Gandalf sits on some really important info- So he has his suspicions in the first movie that Sauron is only mostly dead. And in this movie it’s spelled out for him that the Necromancer is in fact Sauron and he’s starting to take over Middle-earth. And so… what? Gandalf now knows about as much as he did at the beginning of The Fellowship of the Ring. Did he just spend this whole movie finding out this incredibly terrible reality only to just sit on this information for 50 years? That’s not very Gandalfy of Gandalf. Maybe he’ll have his mind wiped in the third Hobbit movie and only a lingering suspicion will remain. Here’s hoping.
  9. 3D Shots- A bee flying at me, an axe coming at me, etc. I absolutely cannot stand unnecessary 3D effects put into a movie just to to be a cool effect. It is painfully obvious when watching in 3D and just plain stupid when watching in 2D.
  10. The dwarves give up so damn easily- It took them one and a half movies to get to the mountain. Their whole lives have been building to this quest. Months of planning and journeying, of fighting and escaping. And they spend just a couple minutes trying to get into the mountain before giving up and turning back around. Some of them don’t even spend the time to look for the keyhole for themselves both when there was light and when there wasn’t light. They just sort of glance at the wall, give up, and start back home. What the heck? Apart from being an incredibly stupid dramatic moment, it’s completely out of character for all the dwarves, especially Thorin. Thorin is so obsessed with this he’s been starting to do bad things (including forgetting Bilbo has a name) and I can give him a pass because he’s getting so close to the arkenstone now. But I expected him to–at a minimum–try the key in some hole in the rock and–more likely–sit down by the wall, utterly defeated to never be moved because of his disappointment in failing at his quest. Instead he just shrugs and heads for home. WHAT? These are not the dwarves I was looking for.
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