So, the other day, I finally watched The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.
I liked it better than An Unexpected Journey, but . . . I just can’t seem to get into this new trilogy at all.
The dwarves continue their quest to get to the Lonely Mountain, defeat the evil dragon Smaug, and reclaim their homeland. Bilbo, meanwhile, starts playing around with his nice, new, gold ring.
1. This is definitely going to be a Baby Review because, honestly, I don’t have a whole lot to say about it. The Desolation of Smaug isn’t a terrible movie, and I think it’s faster-paced than its predecessor. Unfortunately, it also feels almost as directionless as its predecessor, and there’s virtually no tension in it of any kind.
2. Also, the characterization is shit because I have now spent two movies, or over 360 minutes, with these dwarves, and I still barely know anything about them. Without cheating by going over my last review (where I know I complained about this), I can now say that the Dwarf Party includes Gloomy Pants Thorin, Cute Boy Kili, Kili’s Loyal Brother (who I think is named Fili and is actually rather attractive himself without his dwarf hair), Gimli’s Pa, a Goofy Looking Dwarf, an Old Mentor Dwarf, and an Overweight Dwarf who Happily Uses Himself in a Barrel as a Bowling Ball for Orcs.
369 minutes, and I can’t describe, much less name, all thirteen of these assholes. And you know, they aren’t just any assholes — they are the main characters on the quest. And those I CAN describe . . . I have basically told you everything I know about them.
3. Thorin obviously has the most characterization, which is unfortunate, since I actively dislike him.
It’s not just because he’s annoying — although he is. It’s that he continues to be a more surly and unlikable version of another heir to the throne who could potentially succumb to the mistakes of his short-sighted ancestors. Thorin is basically Aragorn Jr, but with virtually none of the charm, which doesn’t exactly endear me to the guy.
4. On a more positive note, I had forgotten about the Stephen Colbert cameo, so I was delighted by that. Also, Stephen Fry! I am always happy to see Stephen Fry around.
And I guess I found Radagast less annoying this time around. That’s a positive, I suppose.
5. I don’t know. I just can’t seem to get into these movies. They aren’t all bad — like, Benedict Cumberbatch? Benedict Cumberbatch is totally enjoyable as Smaug,
And I actually didn’t hate Evangeline Lilly’s character, Tauriel, despite how much I hated Kate on Lost. (I was kind of bored by Tauriel’s whole character arc, though, which is less of an arc and more of a mission to save the one really cute dwarf because he’s cute — but that’s hardly something that can be blamed on the actress. She’s fine as the slightly feistier version of Arwen, I think.) And, of course, I continue to enjoy Martin Freeman and Ian McKellan because they’re great actors — but that’s it. I have no emotional investment in these people, in whether Thorin becomes King Under the Mountain again, whether Smaug eats everybody, whatever. I kind of hope Smaug does eat Thorin. Also Thranduil. Also Legolas — and I liked Legolas in the LOTR movies, dammit.
Maybe my disappointment with these movies stems from the fact that I’m comparing them too heavily to the original LOTR trilogy. I don’t know. There was a sense of something new and breathtaking when I first saw those movies in theater, something epic and kind of wondrous, and here . . . I don’t get any of that. Almost everything in these past two films have felt stretched out and tired to me. In a way, I feel like I’m still waiting for the real story to fucking begin.
6. Sadly, The Desolation of Smaug doesn’t appear to be the film that will break my ‘Luke Evans will never be in an awesome movie’ rule. Which is too bad, actually — I don’t think he’s a horrible actor, and I kind of want him to prove me wrong at this point. Be in something I will actually like, Luke Evans, because right now, my favorite movie with you in it is the 2011 remake of The Three Musketeers, and I don’t know that film should be the pinnacle of anyone’s career.
7. Finally, about the likelihood of Smaug eating all of these annoying or thoroughly inconsequential people, well. I read The Hobbit a bazillion years ago, but since I don’t actually remember what happens in it, I don’t know who will die in the third movie. I feel like at least one of the dwarves has to, although to be fair, I remember making up an extremely thorough mental chart in my head when I was seventeen about who had the strongest possibility of dying in Return of the King, only to almost disappointed by the lack of moving deaths at the end. Maybe I’m too morbid of a person.
But since I still liking making lists . . .
THE POTENTIALLY DOOMED CHARACTER SHORTLIST
The Old Mentor Dwarf (Because he’s an old mentor, obviously.)
Cute Boy Kili’s Loyal Brother (Because it’s especially tragic to kill a sibling, and it’s unlikely to be Kili, who has already survived a serious injury.)
Gimli’s Pa (Because he took out a picture of his wife and son, for Christ’s sake.)
Tauriel (Because she’s not even supposed to be here today. Also, because it’d be an easy way of explaining why we never see or explain Legolas’s unrequited lady love interest in the LOTR movies.)
We’ll have to see if I’m right about any of those guys. I’ll probably find out over a year from now, when I go up to my parent’s house one weekend, and my stepfather is flabbergasted that I haven’t watched Battle of Five Armies yet. Until then, sadly, I’m unlikely to watch it.
I’d consider giving back my Geek Cred card — but later this month, I’m flying out to somewhere as hot as balls, just so I can dress up as a time-travelling Vulcan, a hipster superhero, and a psychopathic clone who really loves to eat. So I feel relatively secure about my nerdiness, if not all of my nerd life choices.
It’s okay, but I want it to be special, you know? Especially at a three hour run time.
Elves are dicks, and dwarves are quitters. Seriously.