Movie – The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug: B+

hobbit desolation of smaugB+
Perhaps my love of the first Hobbit was excessive. Possibly, I overlooked its faults due to my love of The Lord of the Rings. But this time, I just couldn’t get past some things. It wasn’t about the titular Hobbit, but rather out-of-theme wizard duels, forced love triangles, and epic end-of-the-world stakes. While Bilbo proclaimed his famous, “I’m going on an adventure!” in Unexpected Journey, he now is forced to wade through a grimdark epic instead. That said, there were moments when the light adventure story I longed for came out, most notably during the river-riding scene, one of the best cinematic moments of the year. And Smaug’s scenes with Bilbo were stupendous, though Smaug’s video game boss fight with the dwarves was decidedly not. Everything padding the film so as to trilogy-ify the story did nothing but bog it down, but even more so than part one.

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Movie – The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: A+

hobbit unexpected journeyA+
While the Lord of the Rings trilogy is epic and awesome, The Hobbit is fun and energetic. I was surprised to find myself more impressed with the visuals than I was with LOTR. The exposition flashbacks were especially amazing, each dwarf and orc looking fantastic. The only time I felt it dragging was when they departed from the primary source material to further establish its position as a prequel (and no doubt pad the length enough to account for 3 three-hour films.) As Peter Jackson had done before, everything lived up to, or exceeded, what I had envisioned.