When I saw The Desolation of Smaug last year, I made it no secret that I was disappointed. I’ve since purchased and watched the movie a few times though and I do enjoy it now more than I did before. As a movie itself, it’s not terrible. If I sit back and ask myself if the events are true to Middle Earth, then my answer is yes, even if there was a lot of filler.
Over and over, I’m told I need to read The Silmarilion. Okay, I can accept that Jackson wanted to bring some of that into The Hobbit movies. Here’s the thing though, this is about The Hobbit. I mean, let’s be honest with ourselves, Tolkien’s novel is largely about Bilbo’s journey as a character – how he went from being a homebody to an adventure-loving hobbit. I think The Desolation of Smaug missed that.
I see how each extra storyline with the orcs/goblins and Gandalf/Necromancer fit into the story and how they connect The Hobbit to The Lord of the Rings. And I’m okay with that. I wasn’t before, but I’ve accepted it. (I’ll be honest, the Gandalf parts never really bothered me.)
However, I prefer the extended edition. I see why they cut the scenes they did, but there were some really excellent scenes I would’ve much preferred to see in theater rather than a very long battle sequence with some orcs or Smaug (which is a bit unrealistic since Smaug really could have killed them multiple times).
That brings me to my next points.
My biggest problems with The Desolation of Smaug are the extended battle sequences (we really didn’t need them to be that long), Tauriel, and the morgul arrow. The extended battle sequences drew things out. Some of them really could have been cut. Tauriel… she gets on my nerves. I mean, really? She doesn’t exist in any of Tolkien’s work. Zip. Nada. Nothing. And the storyline really doesn’t need her. As for the morgul arrow… really, Jackson? Really? Why don’t we bring out every formula that was used in The Lord of the Rings movies? Neither Tauriel or the morgul arrow almost killing Kili serve any real purpose to the plot, and that’s really why I dislike them so much.
So what about Legolas, Stephanie? He wasn’t in The Hobbit. No, he wasn’t, but as I said in Riddles in the Dark: A Comparison:
A book-to-movie adaptation’s success is not based on a word-for-word, action-for-action performance. While accuracy is definitely a huge part of it, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the movie can never deviate from what actually happened. Any deviations from the source material have to be warranted and believable – they have to carry the same spirit that the original scene created.
Legolas is the prince of Mirkwood. I can believe that he was there and that the Thorin and company may have saw him. I can also accept Thranduil’s extra scenes because they seem very plausible in my mind.
Let’s just get to the bottom line though. The Desolation of Smaug has its faults, but seeing Smaug on the big screen is a pleasure for any Tolkien fan and, really, those scenes with him and Bilbo were the best parts of the movie. Over all, despite, my disappointments, I’m looking forward to seeing Battle of the Five Armies (hopefully this week).