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 – Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows: A-


A-
There was definitely lots of what I liked from the original, but all the world-jaunting and technology-expanding seemed to add gimmick instead of substance. I liked how Moriarty’s abilities mimicked Holmes’ but my favorite aspect from the first, Holmes’ unwavering assurance that the widely believed explanation was incorrect, was sadly downplayed to allow for a bit of humanizing failure. Rapace’s character was almost entirely pointless. Still a fun film, though.