Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Penny Thoughts ‘14—The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013) ***

PG-13, 186 min. (extended edition)
Director: Peter Jackson
Writers: Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, Guillermo del Toro, J.R.R. Tolkien (novel “The Hobbit”)
Starring: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Ken Scott, Graham McTavish, William Kircher, James Nesbitt, Stephen Hunter, Dean O’Gorman, Aidan Turner, John Callen, Peter Hambleton, Jed Brophy, Mark Hadlow, Adam Brown, Orlando Bloom, Evangeline Lilly, Lee Pace, Luke Evans, Benedict Cumberbatch (voice), Cate Blanchett, Sylvester McCoy, Mikael Persbrandt, Stephen Fry, Ryan Gage, John Bell, Manu Bennett, Lawrence Makoare, Anthony Sher

For all of the excitement I had over the first “Hobbit” movie, the second one left me wanting more, and not in the way the second film in a trilogy should. Really, leaving them wanting more is exactly the purpose of a second in a planned trilogy; however, I felt I hadn’t gotten enough out of what was there. Not only did the film suffer from the new phenomenon of conveying an incomplete story, which is afflicting more and more movies these days as Hollywood has discovered a new way to milk book adaptations for money by splitting a single book into multiple movies, but what was there didn’t seem to carry the weight that all of the other Tolkien films have.

This was the first Tolkien film that felt like it was just an excuse for a lot of cool action sequences, and then it all ends in the middle of one. Now, this is an incredibly well done fantasy action flick, but I fear the emphasis on just the action and not so much the emotions of it may have diminished it a bit.

Now, the extended version puts a little more of the context back into place. There’s a nice aside dealing with Thrain, Thorin’s father who is kind of forgotten about in the theatrical versions, but his fate plays pretty heavily into Thorin’s story here, which is a little different than in the book. There don’t seem to be as many all out deleted scenes added back in here as much as there are many extensions to the scenes already there. I’m sure I’ve missed some differences, as I don’t study the movies like some do, but I can say the extended edition does play better than the theatrical.

Here’s another thing to be said about the extended edition. I was not as excited about seeing the final film in the franchise until I watched this version of “The Desolation of Smaug”. Now, I’m quite excited to wrap thins thing up in glorious fashion, as I’m sure Peter Jackson will provide.

Read my theatrical review here.

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