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Subject: The cool thing about the Desolation of Smaug is... rss

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Marc Kob
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that reading The Hobbit doesn't really give you any spoilers.
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Brook Gentlestream
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That's so sad... cry
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Rob
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Be that as it may, I thought it was outstanding. Just got back from seeing it as a birthday present from my wife and kids. I now trust Jackson's vision with this project, and I already can't wait for the conclusion.
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Marc Kob
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Sinister Dexter wrote:
Be that as it may, I thought it was outstanding. Just got back from seeing it as a birthday present from my wife and kids. I now trust Jackson's vision with this project, and I already can't wait for the conclusion.


Yeah, I'm not complaining. I enjoyed it. Peter Jackson big budget fan fiction in Middle-earth is my idea of a good time.
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This thread is sparking my interest a bit because I have been in two minds about going to the cinema to see this. The first movie, with idiot bunny rabbit man, video game action scenes, and singing goblin king 'Scrotum Beard the Great', have kind of put me off Peter Jackson's hobbit movies.

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I went with my son and his friend (who both read The Hobbit) and afterwards (there's a cliffhanger) I said "I wonder what will happen next" My son's friend said, "You haven't read the book?" and I said "Yeah, but I still don't know what will happen!"

And for he record, I think that's a good thing. "Desolation" was a lot of fun and much of the fun was the embellishments.
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I was amused that the cliffhanger at the end of "Desolation" appears to be about 5 pages from the end of the book. But it has such an "Empire Strikes Back" feel that I guess there really is plenty more to come . . .

The videogame / huge battle scene nonsense that was my biggest issue with "Unexpected Journey" has been scaled way back (and the little that's left is more effectively played for laughs), the pacing of the story is far tighter this time, and as ever you can't get too much Gandalf - his every moment on screen is so powerful.

And Legolas continues to give his patented "constipated look" every time he is faced with human mortality . . .
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Gotta say, I'm pretty excited to go see the Desolation of Smaug. I liked the first movie, but it definitely had some issues (whoever designed the Goblin King and cast his voice needs be shot, and that 40-minute scene with the dwarves was way drawn out). So if Desolation has managed to avoid the traps and pitfalls of An Unexpected Journey, then it could just end up being fantastic.
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nycavri wrote:
I was amused that the cliffhanger at the end of "Desolation" appears to be about 5 pages from the end of the book.

5 pages is a bit of an exaggeration.
The battle with Smaug is still to come and then the Battle of Five Armies.

The pacing of the first movie might have been slow, I found parts of this movie to be too fast. Especially the parts with Beorn and Mirkwood.
I'm not dissatisfied with the changes from the book. Tauriel was pretty cool.
It was a bit weird for some of the dwarves to be left behind in Laketown. My guess is they will be going to the Iron Hills.
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Michael
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While I generally liked the movie, I think that the change in pacing could feel weird when seeing the 3 movies as one piece of work. Desolation devotes hardly more time to Mirkwood as Journey does to the Unexpected Party, which feels wrong, even though I did like the long party scene.
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William Boykin
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I hate the modern 'action movie' aesthetic of just one....damn....chase scene....after...another!!!

The escape from the Elvish Kingdom just dragged on and on, and after a bit, was incredibly repetitive. Peter Jackson could learn a few things by watching classics like William Friedkin's The French Connection- chase scenes need their own sense of narrative, rather than just being a series of violent images flashed on the screen at 48fps. I already 'know' that the dwarves are going to get away, and I don't really care that much about of the orcs involved- they're just caricatures, and not actual characters.

And don't get me started about the utterly unnecessary extended action sequence in the Lonely Mountain. Jackson managed to turn Smaug into a bit of a dweeb, leaving to destroy Lake Town out of enraged pique. I would have much rather that Smaug was more shown as the bored narcissist that he is in the book- playing with Bilbo and the dwarves much as a cat with a bird or a mouse. Smaug should never actually get angry with the dwarves- they're beneath his contempt.

Finally, I'm annoyed that the ONE time the movie settles down and has some characters actually talking and relating to one another, as characters, its a scene that isn't even in the actual novel!

But I can't say that I was disappointed with the film, as that would imply that I had higher hopes for the film. I didn't, and got exactly what I expected- another God Damn Peter Jackson One Thing After Another movie.

Darilian
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Rob
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Anfauglir wrote:
I found parts of this movie to be too fast. Especially the parts with Beorn and Mirkwood.


This was one piece that surprised me. I think I actually said during the movie, "Wait, they're already through Mirkwood? That was it?"
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Darilian wrote:
one....damn....chase scene....after...another!!!


Darilian


Oh, so you've read the Hobbit.
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Jeff
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So, can I just watch Desolation without watching the first one?

(for what it's worth, I've read the books, but I understand after seeing some comments that this may not mean anything...)
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jeffreyac wrote:
So, can I just watch Desolation without watching the first one?


I wouldn't. A number of story arcs are set up in the first one that move forward in the second, as well as identity of the Dwarves (they are trying to give them their own personalities/looks so audiences can follow them).
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Darilian wrote:
I hate the modern 'action movie' aesthetic of just one....damn....chase scene....after...another!!!

The escape from the Elvish Kingdom just dragged on and on, and after a bit, was incredibly repetitive. Peter Jackson could learn a few things by watching classics like William Friedkin's The French Connection- chase scenes need their own sense of narrative, rather than just being a series of violent images flashed on the screen at 48fps. I already 'know' that the dwarves are going to get away, and I don't really care that much about of the orcs involved- they're just caricatures, and not actual characters.

And don't get me started about the utterly unnecessary extended action sequence in the Lonely Mountain. Jackson managed to turn Smaug into a bit of a dweeb, leaving to destroy Lake Town out of enraged pique. I would have much rather that Smaug was more shown as the bored narcissist that he is in the book- playing with Bilbo and the dwarves much as a cat with a bird or a mouse. Smaug should never actually get angry with the dwarves- they're beneath his contempt.

Finally, I'm annoyed that the ONE time the movie settles down and has some characters actually talking and relating to one another, as characters, its a scene that isn't even in the actual novel!

But I can't say that I was disappointed with the film, as that would imply that I had higher hopes for the film. I didn't, and got exactly what I expected- another God Damn Peter Jackson One Thing After Another movie.

Darilian


One thing, though. I always got from the book that Smaug was enraged that Bilbo stole that one cup, so it seemed to me to be some sort of a combination of hubris and rage, mixed with lesser amounts of contempt.
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Ben Vincent
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Terrible movie.

It was bad from a technical standpoint. The whole thing looked like it was shot on a soundstage - like an old Dr. Who or Star Trek episode. LOTR was great in part because of its realistic looking if fanciful sets and superb location work. This movie looked fake - like a stage play. We didn't get many of the epic landscape shots that LOTR was known for - instead it was mostly extreme close ups and the wider shots were heavily CGI. Lots of really poorly framed shots. Some very oddly edited cuts.

From the narrative side, the pacing is all wrong. Mirkwood is supposed to be a huge obstacle, but it took about a day and a half to cross in the movie. There's 30+ minutes of action inside the Lonely Mountain that never happened in the book, and do not add to the story. Some of the additions are fine (the extra Gandalf scenes, for example, which provide background for LOTR), but others are just nonsensical.

Peter Jackson is no longer in the circle of trust. His name now belongs in the same breath as George Lucas: someone who badly needs an assistant he trusts to tell him "No."
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(Chuck Singer)
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I thought Mirkwood was fantastic. The spider action scene was scary and exhilarating and even funny when Bilbo puts on the ring. The escape from the Woodland Realm was worth the price of admission alone.

I agree that the ending action scene was long and unnecessary, but I still relish spending as much time in that universe as possible. Watching the dwarven forges start up tickled my inner 12 year old in that I got to see something I wasn't expecting but always imagined.

Really enjoyed the movie and I can't wait for the third one.
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shumyum
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Chuck Singer wrote:
II still relish spending as much time in that universe as possible.


This is the key for me.

I don't know, I'm old and got over the "It's not like the book" thing way back with Lynch's "Dune" (which in turn enabled me to really enjoy Verhoeven's "Starship Troopers").

If you want to play the "It could have been better" game remember that it could have also been much much worse.

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shumyum wrote:
Chuck Singer wrote:
II still relish spending as much time in that universe as possible.


This is the key for me.

I don't know, I'm old and got over the "It's not like the book" thing way back with Lynch's "Dune" (which in turn enabled me to really enjoy Verhoeven's "Starship Troopers").

If you want to play the "It could have been better" game remember that it could have also been much much worse.



Yes, in my mind, this is a separate universe leading up to Jackson's War of the Ring that visually fills that sweet spot for me, but abridges much and adds much (some of which the purist in me does not like and makes no narrative sense). However, it is fun and enjoyable as a film.

Besides how many sword and sorcery epics are there that have this kind of scope and don't suck really badly?
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All I know is that when the 3rd movie comes out, I will live with the fact that I can watch 24 straight hours of Middle Earth all in a row.
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William Boykin
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mister lunch wrote:
shumyum wrote:
Chuck Singer wrote:
II still relish spending as much time in that universe as possible.


This is the key for me.

I don't know, I'm old and got over the "It's not like the book" thing way back with Lynch's "Dune" (which in turn enabled me to really enjoy Verhoeven's "Starship Troopers").

If you want to play the "It could have been better" game remember that it could have also been much much worse.



Yes, in my mind, this is a separate universe leading up to Jackson's War of the Ring that visually fills that sweet spot for me, but abridges much and adds much (some of which the purist in me does not like and makes no narrative sense). However, it is fun and enjoyable as a film.

Besides how many sword and sorcery epics are there that have this kind of scope and don't suck really badly?


My biggest problem with the film ultimately comes down to the fact that the three movies are going to cost 1 BILLION dollars- and I don't see that money on the screen.

Heck, Hobbit 2 only made $75 million (domestic) this weekend, making it very unlikely that the film will really be that profitable.

I'd much rather see that money spent on 10 $100 million films, that are imaginative, innovative, and actually dare to be different, rather than these big, bloated set piece $315 million monstrosities that aren't allowed to be that interesting by the marketing departments.

Darilian
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Darilian wrote:
mister lunch wrote:
shumyum wrote:
Chuck Singer wrote:
II still relish spending as much time in that universe as possible.


This is the key for me.

I don't know, I'm old and got over the "It's not like the book" thing way back with Lynch's "Dune" (which in turn enabled me to really enjoy Verhoeven's "Starship Troopers").

If you want to play the "It could have been better" game remember that it could have also been much much worse.



Yes, in my mind, this is a separate universe leading up to Jackson's War of the Ring that visually fills that sweet spot for me, but abridges much and adds much (some of which the purist in me does not like and makes no narrative sense). However, it is fun and enjoyable as a film.

Besides how many sword and sorcery epics are there that have this kind of scope and don't suck really badly?


My biggest problem with the film ultimately comes down to the fact that the three movies are going to cost 1 BILLION dollars- and I don't see that money on the screen.

Heck, Hobbit 2 only made $75 million (domestic) this weekend, making it very unlikely that the film will really be that profitable.

I'd much rather see that money spent on 10 $100 million films, that are imaginative, innovative, and actually dare to be different, rather than these big, bloated set piece $315 million monstrosities that aren't allowed to be that interesting by the marketing departments.

Darilian


Part of the reason you don't see the billion spent is because they do their best to make sure you don't see it. The set design, the art direction, the color corrections, the foley, the stunts, the make up, let alone the CGI and 3D... the best use of it makes it disappear.

I'd rather see 10 $100 million movies, too, to be honest, but we are talking about a franchise that has scads of money from the studios and I personally think it works. It happens to be one I care to see. Some folks gush about other big budget films and franchises that I am not as inclined to see, but to them it's insanely important or significant. Granted the LOTR/Hobbit films aren't that important to me really (I greatly prefer the books), but dang it if they aren't fun to watch.

And when more smaller, more creative, and risky movies get made then I'd love to watch those, too. I prefer those kinds of films, anyway.
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Ben Vincent
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Quote:
Part of the reason you don't see the billion spent is because they do their best to make sure you don't see it. The set design, the art direction, the color corrections, the foley, the stunts, the make up, let alone the CGI and 3D... the best use of it makes it disappear.


The problem is, they didn't do this well. I was prepared for the story changes. I just expected the film to be better executed from a technical standpoint. Previous movies in the franchise have done a much better job at blending these elements together, which is why it was so jarring that they stood out in this one.
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SabreRedleg wrote:
Quote:
Part of the reason you don't see the billion spent is because they do their best to make sure you don't see it. The set design, the art direction, the color corrections, the foley, the stunts, the make up, let alone the CGI and 3D... the best use of it makes it disappear.


The problem is, they didn't do this well. I was prepared for the story changes. I just expected the film to be better executed from a technical standpoint. Previous movies in the franchise have done a much better job at blending these elements together, which is why it was so jarring that they stood out in this one.


I haven't seen it yet, so I can't speak from experience...

Did you see it in high frame-rate? I heard that it actually made it worse (in a review by an avowed Tolkien nerd) because it shows all the warts of the production, but he still loved the film.

As far as the first installment, practically the entire thing was sound stages and green screens. I knew this, but was still visually swept away. If you've seen the extras on the extended edition, there's even more that I didn't realize was green screened, and I further appreciated the effects and how they were accomplished. There were also quite a bit of practical effects and that made me even happier.
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