Smaug desolates expectations

The same theater, same time, same friends—another unexpected journey. After the first installment of director Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy of movies, I thought I knew what to expect.

I thought I knew that I was in for another extremely long but well done movie, one where every detail is looked into thoroughly and perfected.

I was partially right but something very unexpected happened.

Even though it was past midnight, after a long day of school, with class starting at 7:45 that morning, the movie still seemed to fly by. Not a moment of drowsiness. Each scene was filled with something rivetingly new, with a touch of the familiar.

The cartoon movie of The Hobbit is something I look back to my childhood on with a great fondness. Jackson did a wonderful job integrating familiar elements of the old cartoon into this new movie, while putting a purely Jackson spin on the film.

One of the first silhouetted characters in the beginning scene of the movie is actually Jackson, who walks by the camera munching away on a carrot. I thought it was absolutely hilarious that he appeared in his own film. The entire movie is filled with little tiny nods to the cartoon movie and to The Lord of the Rings.

One of my favorite parts of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is when one of the dwarves mentions his son Gimly, who is featured in the epilogue The Lord of the Rings. The little hidden connotations in phrases and scenes really makes the movie more enjoyable to watch and brought me back to nostalgic roots.

But even without past experiences, the movie standalone was excellent. The actors were absolutely amazing at conveying the character’s emotions and personalities.

The locations and backgrounds throughout the film were awe-inspiring. The camera work, overall layout and the design of each set was flawless. It seemed as if the characters were truly inside of the cabin-home of a giant humanoid or in a grand mountain hall in Middle Earth.

And then there is Smaug, the terrible. He was beautiful. It seemed as if each scale on the giant dragon were real. Every movement he made inside the cramped mountain halls perfectly juxtaposed his immense size.

One of the few complaints would be that Jackson almost put in too much of his own flair into the movie. There was a lot of stuff added into the movie that was not in Tolkien’s original novel, which I suppose had to be done because the rather small novella was turned into three extremely long and detailed movies. If you have not read through the book though, this will not be a problem.

Although not from the original work, I think that the elements Jackson added to the story complimented the movie profoundly. The added elements make the book able to be split into three distinct parts that leave you craving for the next installment, which I cannot wait for.

I also could complain about some scene transitions and one scene in particular. I felt that some of the transitions happened rather briskly and at spontaneous spots. And then there is the water and barrels scene… When you watch the movie everything seems perfect and real. But the scene where the dwarves are floating down a river in elven wine barrels, it was almost like they strapped a GoPro to one of the wine barrels and had it float down the rapids. It was almost sickening to watch.

But overall, the movie was unexpectedly memorable and enjoyable to watch. I cannot wait for the third and final installment of The Hobbit, so that between The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, you can have a movie marathon that will last over 24 straight hours.

I highly recommend watching both The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. Who knows, maybe you will find some things about the movie that you truly enjoy like I have, something unexpected.

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