December 20, 2013

Guys Movie Night: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Another flabby, overstuffed Hobbit movie, with more plot and action than the previous, but still groaning with extra weight.
After three brilliant, near-perfect Lord of the Rings movies, my Hobbit boredom, seeping into my movie brain around two hours in, surprised me. When was this movie going to be over? I thought to myself for the first time in over a dozen hours of Middle Earth adventures.
I am a fan of the extended versions of the Lord of the Rings films, where director Peter Jackson restores scenes to the films that were only deleted for reasons of total running time. These restorations extend the three feature films to epic "miniseries" length, but don't feel bloated, slow, or unnecessary.
These first two Hobbit films are just plain too long.
Martin Freeman is terrific, with many wonderfully subtle moments.
When was I pulled out of the drama by my boredom? Was it when Legolas and Tauriel were musing over the fate of Middle Earth with no purpose? Perhaps it was the gripping scene where the dwarves and Bilbo are smuggled into the lake town past a corrupt and evil bureaucrat. Why do we need to sit through this? How does this advance the plot or characterization?
I last read The Hobbit about a decade ago. In my mind's eye, the dwarves gold hoard was a big pile of gold, not mountains of gold receding to the horizon as far as the eye can see. I also don't remember the dragon Smaug talking so much?
Truly sad was the addition of a female elf, Tauriel. Sure she kicks Orc ass effectively, but she also falls googly-eyes in love with the one hot, young dwarf. They literally have a moony scene at the jail cell door. Why does this new elf, added as a token female role in a movie with no other female speaking parts, have to have a romantic storyline? So pathetic.
If these Hobbit movies had been made just like this but The Lord of the Rings films never existed, I'd give them A grades, easy...but Jackson's LOTR films are so terrific these entries pale in comparison. Stub Hubby's Grade = B-minus. (Guys Movie Night at Regal Fenway with Marc, Angus, George, and ...?)