Tuesday, March 18, 2014
The Bloatation Of Smaug
Next in my list of belated reviews is The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.
This movie was really cool and exciting--that is if you've never read The Hobbit. There is plenty of fighting, and magic, and orcs, and invisibility, and bad guys, etc.
But if you have read The Hobbit you will notice lots of bloat, even more so than is found in the first installment. At least in the first movie, most of each item of bloat could be backed up with some other external source such as The Silmarillion or the appendix of The Lord of the Rings. However, in the second installment, there just isn't that much excuse for the bloat that transpired.
For example, in the book, the hobbit and dwarves had a nice peaceful journey down the river at night in their barrels. In the movie, however, it was all out war--orcs and elves everywhere.
The land of Lake-town looks like something out of Waterworld where the inhabitants are inexplicably antagonistic toward dwarves, where in the book the dwarves are welcomed warmly.
The scene with the dragon was drawn out an extra 20 to 30 minutes. (Well, that part was actually kind of cool.)
The only scene that wasn't bloated was the one with Beorn, the bear man. I think he said three lines maximum. And one of my favorite scenes with him was cut. I bet most non-readers found Beorn's existence in the movie to be confusing, and probably rightfully figured the movie could do well on its own without him. Considering how they treated him (giving much of his screen time instead to barrel bloat), I would agree.
Bloat can be fun, and the movie is indeed enjoyable. But the magic and innocence of the book is entirely destroyed. What I liked about the book was entirely absent from this movie.