This evening we saw The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. I just saw the first Hobbit movie (An Unexpected Journey) last week or so. That being said, both are fresh in my mind, and I'm rather glad to have seen the films so close together. That being said, I'm not clear on why everyone is hating on the movies so much.
I have heard so much negativity about the first movie. It's to the point that even in positive reviews of the second movie, they will bring up how much they didn't like the first movie. It puzzles me. Now, having seen both films, and having adored them (#gandalf4life), I have decided to address everything that people are picking on, and everything that I loved.
Let's begin with what people are picking on.
The fact it's in three movies. Sure, we have to wait longer to get the whole story. At the same time, when it's back to back, or even closer together, it feels like such a complete story. I don't feel like anything is missing. I think that if people were to marathon all three movies after they were out, they wouldn't complain. As for things being added in, all of the "extra" stuff is stuff that Tolkien did write (it was just written in the other books that aren't the Hobbit or the Lord of the Rings trilogy). I mean, I would rather get more, and feel like I'm witnessing everything than have something cut out. It's really no different than having Game of Thrones made into a TV series. Peter Jackson just opted for movies, which befits the story of the Hobbit a lot better. It's just another way to make sure that nothing gets left out. After all, look how much people complained when a lot was cut out of Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and Return of the King.
How Smaug looks. I heard someone complain about the appearance of Smaug. I don't want to give anything away, but to be fair, Smaug is biologically and anatomically accurate and realistic. Something with wings tacked on cannot fly, and it can't move properly. Why do people think bats look the way they do?
Pretty dwarfs. There is some dispute over how Fili and Kili (the young dwarfs) look pretty. Aidan Turner plays Kili, and he does look prettier in comparison to how dwarfs normally look. I don't mind it. He's a younger dwarf, and I don't think it's literally written anywhere that all dwarfs have to look insanely rugged and what is considered to be brutish and manly on a stereotypical level. There are female dwarfs, and they are pretty. In the human race, we have effeminate men, who are more lightly built, a bit fairer, and so on. If humans can have that relationship, why can't dwarfs? It's not like they have one sex or one age group.
Lack of female characters. I heard someone say this in the theater, and it must have been in relation to the film. Even if it's not, I know it's going to come up. 1) What were they watching when they saw the Lord of the Rings trilogy? 2) It's based on books from the 1940s, so strong female lead wasn't in the vocabulary. 3) Most fantasy movies don't have many female characters. 4) What about Tauriel? I'd consider her to be a strong female character (even if I don't like Evangeline Lilly. But that's kind of irrelevant).
PEOPLE HAVE GOT TO STOP VIEWING EACH MOVIE AS ITS OWN ENTITY. All of the movies are part of one story. It seems like a main criticism is how each movie seems to have little story, or just stop, or not have a full story, or anything that you would expect from a single part of a full story. It's kind of like taking a novel, or even a single movie for that matter, only watching a third, and then deciding with absolute certainty that you hate it. It's a part of a whole, and the whole is going to be amazing. Again with the marathon-ing the movies, and watching them in one giant go. I want to do that.
Now, on to what I like, and what I was left swooning over.
The costume and set details. Oh my Lord. The details. I'm a detail oriented person. I'm also a tactile person. So, when I can physically feel things with my eyes because of the textures shown... My soul. There are so many parts where someone is wearing something, and the textures just shine through, or the details beg the attention of wandering eyes. It's such a treat. Even without looking into the work done on the costuming and props (and a lot was done), you can just feel that work was done. The details. Oh, the details in everythiiiing.
The characters, and the people who played them. I think that the films are well cast, and everyone fits their roles impeccably. Everything. Everyone. And again, with the costumes, I enjoy how unique the costumes are to each character. Did you know that every character's costume is so unique that some armor has phrases etched on the inside, where only the actor can see it?
Everything is done by WETA Workshops, and they are lovely, talented, people. WETA was at the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo last year, and we met them. They're really nice folks (Kiwis, I tell ya), and you wouldn't believe the skill and detail that goes into the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit movies. They even handcraft all replicas that they sell, and put as much authenticity as they possibly can. Does this have anything to do with the movie? Not necessarily. But it does play a part. As much as it goes unnoticed, these kinds of detail, and this degree of work does matter. No one necessarily notices, but if it was any different, it would feel like something was missing. And then people would have reason to complain. I think that these details are important, and they probably play into how people perform as actors. It's unbelievable.
It's divided into three films. I was hesitant at first. But the movies don't feel long, and they don't feel rushed. Three hours just flies by. I honestly can't wait to marathon all three. For the first time when watching a film adaptation of a book, I don't feel like anything could possibly be missing. In terms of hours, it's actually less hours than it would be as a TV series. Just food for thought (and not suggesting that the Hobbit should be a TV series. Because it shouldn't).
I love Lord of the Rings, but so far I'm enjoying the Hobbit more. That is saying a lot. The Hobbit movies are fun, entertaining, action-filled, and everything I could want from a fantasy action movie. I've been invested in a lot of fantasy recently (reading Game of Thrones, playing Skyrim, watching The Hobbit, watching Xena, so on), and The Hobbit movies combine all of the things that I enjoy about fantasy. Not to mention what is absolutely fantastic about playing Dungeons and Dragons.
I think that's about it for now. At least, it's 1:33 AM and I should go to bed.
In conclusion, I don't think that people should be so hasty to disown the movies. I think that if you're hesitant to watch The Hobbit movies, just watch them in marathon style. If you can. I just think that it removes the dispute of not feeling complete. Just keep remembering that it's part one, part two, and part three. The beginning, the dramatic climax, and the end. You can't judge a story based on one of those things. And come on. There's Gandalf. And a giant dragon. And... Everything. Just watch them.
#Gandalf4Life (Who am I kidding. Octothorps have no power here.)