The family and I viewed “Hobbit 2″ at the discount theater the other night. I was curious about the decision to expand filming from one to two to three movies. I enjoyed the first Hobbit film well enough. As a piece of film-making, I think the Desolation of Smaug installment was a little bit better. A few faint spoilers coming up.
As presented in the first two films, this is not a kid’s story. But Middle Earth near the end of the Third Age isn’t really a place for children at all, truth be told. The scriptwriters, directors, and braintrust tell the story with plenty of menace, gore, and material to fill in the gaps. (Like why Gandalf disappears for long stretches of the original book.)
Much was made of the extra frames per second in the filming. Meh. Didn’t notice.
Stuff was made of the introduction of the female character Tauriel, and the infatuation triangle with Legolas and one of the dwarves. (Fili or Kili–I can’t remember who.) Again, meh. Tolkien didn’t write much or well about women. Pretty much like fellow inkling C. S. Lewis. If it’s important to have strong women characters, the Hobbit braintrust gave us a good one, even if she wasn’t in the original.
Criticism is often leveled that the middle film or book in a trilogy is, well, meh. Yet again, meh. This installment moves pretty well. The dwarves are less reliant on their burglar, and unlike the book, very nearly pull off a defeat of the dragon. So most of the characters come off a bit better, and a bit more complex than they do in the original book.
In a way, I suppose, who’s to say that the book version was “edited” down to be child-acceptable? Tolkien fanatics are probably fuming about the lack of faithfulness–some of them.
Yes, I would recommend this film. I think the Tolkien estate is holing on to a slew of good, filmable stories from The Silmarillion. I would look forward even more to viewing some of those.