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28 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly songs and tales fall utterly short of your enormity, O Peter Jackson...)))
I liked this second part of "Hobbit" film trilogy, even if the changes made to the original story become here as large and sometimes as vicious and destructive as Smaug the Magnificent. Below, more of my impressions, with some SPOILERS, which I tried to keep to strict minimum.

First, the good stuff:

1) Visually this film is breath-taking! Mirkwood,...
Published 10 months ago by Darth Maciek

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33 of 42 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A film by people who didn't love the story
It's ok, if you like big action movies. But emotionally unsatisfying. It's beautifully filmed, the score is lovely. The acting is ok. And yet there are serious problems with this movie. It's not that easy to put my finger on what they are, but I'll have a go.

I don't mind if plot details are changed from the book. A lot is changed. That's ok. It doesn't have to...
Published 23 days ago by Bertie


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28 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly songs and tales fall utterly short of your enormity, O Peter Jackson...))), 16 Dec 2013
By 
Darth Maciek "Darth Maciek" (Darth Maciek is out there...) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
I liked this second part of "Hobbit" film trilogy, even if the changes made to the original story become here as large and sometimes as vicious and destructive as Smaug the Magnificent. Below, more of my impressions, with some SPOILERS, which I tried to keep to strict minimum.

First, the good stuff:

1) Visually this film is breath-taking! Mirkwood, Dol Guldur, Erebor, and of course Smaug - pure perfection. Creatures were also very well made, with the attercops (ettercaps) from Mirkwood and Bolg, son of Azog being the most impressive.

2) The excellent casting. Not one mistake, and that includes Evangeline Lilly, who did a great job even if her controversial character Tauriel shouldn't be here at all... (see below). Special acclamation for Stephen Fry as Master of Lake-town of Esgaroth

3) Acoustics and music. Flawless.

4) Certain (but not all - see below) changes and additions to the story were well done and are very welcome, even if they take really big liberties with Tolkien's lore. Amongst them my favourites are the dark tombs in high mountains of Rhudaur and the long sequence in which Gandalf finally discovers who EXACTLY is the master of the "abandoned" fortress of Dol Guldur. I also rather liked the glimpse into the background of Elvish king Thranduil, as it explains why is he such an a-hole...

5) Some of most humorous action scenes. I liked the deliberately over the top character of some of the stunts during supposedly very dramatic fights - it very pleasantly reminds of the lighter tone of "Hobbit" as compared with the much more serious, darker and violent "Lord of the Rings".

6) Some insight into Orcs minds, especially when one of them, made prisoner by Elves, is interrogated... I found this scene very good and I wouldn't mind to hear more from the Orcs to know more of their point of view about all this Middle Earth business...

There were also things which I liked less, even if they can be defended:

1. Tauriel. Peter Jackson shouldn't create her and honestly, Evangeline Lilly shouldn't have accepted this role, because adding such an important character is no more "licentia poetica", this is RAPING Tolkien's books by conceding to political correctness... Nowhere in Tolkien's books are there elvish female warriors - extremely powerful and influent elvish females of course existed, but they were spell-casters and charm-weavers like Galadriel or Luthien, not shield-maidens.

BUT, that being said, considering that what is done is done, I must concede that Tauriel is definitely not half-bad looking and also that the strange game she plays with Legolas and Kili is interesting to watch. She certainly is one kinky, flirtatious wench and maybe even more than that - me I wouldn't be surprised if she was in fact a cynical manipulative vixen, playing poor Kili to try to inflame Legolas feelings and therefore bed her way into royalty...

2. Master of the Lake-town. In the book he was greedy and cowardly but he was an elected leader respected for his ability. Why destroying completely this character and make him a kind of little tyrant? BUT, on another hand, that gives Stephen Fry an occasion to fully deploy his great talent...

But then there were also some things and changes which simply went too far and can NOT be forgiven:

1. Portrayal of humans and their dwellings. Both Bree and Esgaroth are really kind of disgusting, with mud, waste and dirt everywhere, as opposed to perfectly neat cities of Elves, Dwarves and Hobbits. Sapristi, even the supposedly evil fortress of Dol Guldur, infested by orcs, wargs and attercops, is not as piggishly disgusting as those two human cities! And most of people living there are ugly and wear horrible, colourless, dirty rags! This was already a little bit annoying in "Lord of the Rings", in which we saw people from Rohan and even from mighty Minas Tirith dressed as beggars in deep mourning - here that is really too much!

2. Beorn. Even if he looks impressive in both of his shapes, his character was comprehensively jarjarbinksed and for some reason Peter Jackson deprived us of one of the merriest scenes in the book (the one in which Gandalf tells Beorn the story by introducing more and more dwarves...). Let's not lose all hope however - maybe at least this scene can be somehow re-introduced in the extended version...

3. Too many useless, repetitive fights between Elves and Orcs. All those scenes could be assets rather than issues, if the Orcs were able to score at least one point from time to time - but in this film they are completely hapless sword and arrow fodder. Many dozens of Orcs appear in fights in this film and even if they always come loaded for bear and have the numbers for them all they achieve is to bring down one elf and inflict a wound on one dwarf... Then, if they are so pathetically clueless warriors, why even run away from them!? That one sided character of fights makes them finally boring...

4. SPOILER HERE! Considerable change in the whole conversation of Bilbo with Smaug and especially the stupendously idiotic Bilbo's decision to reveal himself to the dragon by taking off his ring - followed by Smaug NOT eating him!!! That was one SUPER BIG BLUNDER which absolutely cannot be forgiven...

CONCLUSION: that part is of a lesser quality than the first one, but still, it is a great show which I enjoyed mightily and all the good things ultimately overweighed the bad ones. I am going to buy the Extended Version DVD as soon as it is available and I will now wait impatiently to see the last part of the trilogy next year.
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33 of 42 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A film by people who didn't love the story, 6 Oct 2014
It's ok, if you like big action movies. But emotionally unsatisfying. It's beautifully filmed, the score is lovely. The acting is ok. And yet there are serious problems with this movie. It's not that easy to put my finger on what they are, but I'll have a go.

I don't mind if plot details are changed from the book. A lot is changed. That's ok. It doesn't have to be the book in film. So yes, Jackson is going to put in a romance story. Can't be helped, ok I'll wear that. However, it's worth noticing what effect plot innovations have. Do they help? Is more gained or lost? This is where I think the problem lies.

There's such a lack of mystery. Where characters were fascinating and mysterious in the book, Jackson has the impulse to reveal everything about everyone. We get to hear everyone baring their soul, everyone engage in mundane conversation. Take Beorn for example. By having him tell his backstory to these strangers, he suddenly becomes - ordinary. Even the dragon loses his mojo by talking too much.

The mysterious woodland lights that lead the party off the path in Mirkwood - missing in the film. It's one of the most memorable and emotionally charged parts of the story. In fact Mirkwood in general is lacking in mystery and fear. The mysterious black stream that brings sleep - gone.

Gandalf himself was an enigma in the book. Not here: we get the inside story. He too is stripped of any mystery. In fact part of the charm of the book was its simple, linear story. We pass through interesting places and touch on issues little understood, such as the Necromancer. But they never become the story,we just keep going with the dwarves. The wider world is mysterious and fascinating because it is just barely glimpsed. Jackson constantly fills in all the side information, adds in whole plot lines from LotR to create something much more complex and explained. Subtlety is not Jackson's strong suit. Sometimes things are more interesting if you don't put them under the spotlight for close examination.

Then the lightness and humour of the book is hardly in view here. So much is dark, serious and heavy. All the funny scenes are missing. When Bilbo runs off from home without his pocket handkerchief, its a funny, exciting scene in the book. Not in the film - the music is dark and grim. The introductions to Beorn, one by one. Gone. The argument Gandalf foments between the trolls - gone. Bilbo's taunts to the spiders - gone. All this humour is excised. Jackson is not keen on humour it seems. The result is that instead of the story gradually shifting from light to dark, as in the book, here it's unvaried, dark all the way, and frankly becomes a bit wearisome.

The dragon was wonderfully created. However I thought having the dwarves choose to go in and take him on was just silly. The dragon is supposed to be utterly, paralysingly terrifying. By the end of the dwarves vs dragon fight scene, we don't feel even scared about him any more. He's no match for a handful of dwarves apparently!

Cheap heroics seem to take the place of real feeling and atmosphere again and again. It feels like pretty generic Hollywood fantasy action stuff. Oh, another extended group fight against orcs. Yawn.

Bilbo's gradual transformation into a hero takes patience and discipline to pull off. It means he has to seem a bit useless earlier on. He can only come good gradually. And this is core to the story. But Jackson can't tolerate this. So Bilbo has to be a hero from the first film. Outsmarting trolls, fighting orcs, etc. No room for a transformation!

I found it disappointing that Thorin didn't look like a dwarf.

All the orc fights before they reach the mountain have to be totally one sided, because all the dwarves have to live. So the orcs are laughably easy to knock over. The dwarves and Bilbo sail through swarms of them untouched. Orcs die left right and centre. The orcs come out as pretty pathetic.

The desolation was a bit lacking. The whole territory was sposed to be scorched and barren from the dragon. Actually it looked pretty nice in the film. Good place for a hiking trip! Pity really, given the film is CALLED the desolation of Smaug!

I could go on, but overall my feeling was, this is a film made by people who didn't love the story. The Hobbit story. They often didn't seem to notice what they were losing when they changed the plot. It seemed they didn't value it much in the first place. And so much was lost. For this viewer, the losses far outweighed the gains.
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76 of 102 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars May not be perfect to the book, but its an EPIC film!, 17 Mar 2014
This film is largely criticised for not being true to the books etc, as I'm sure you are aware. However one thing that cannot be ignored is the fact that this is a GREAT film.

Some have criticised the Lord of the Rings trilogy for focussing so much on epic movie making, the story was neglected. However with the Hobbit, the best of both worlds has been achieved.

I went to see this film, and it has got to be one of the best movie experiences I've ever had. There's comedy, action, and the spectacular non-CGI scenery thats typical of Peter Jackson. The first film was perhaps a bit slow to start, but after watching this sequel, you'll forgive the filmmakers, as from the moment you see the words 'The Hobbit', the action starts.

Buy, watch, and enjoy!
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This trilogy is moving from strength to strength!, 17 Aug 2014
By 
Laura Hartley (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
Although An Unexpected Journey was a very impressive film, I still firmly believe that The Lord of the Rings trilogy is much better, despite the fact that it was made over ten years prior to The Hobbit and with the release of the second instalment of The Hobbit, I still stand by that. Although perhaps more visually impressive, the use of computer generated effects is also much more obvious and things are less 'real' than in Lord of the Rings. What I do love about this, however, is the vibrancy that these effects bring to the film. Both The Desolation of Smaug and An Unexpected Journey are such colourful and vibrant films and this really stands out to me. Whether the scenes are full of dark magic, Smaug's orange fire or the green Shire the picture on screen always looks incredible. It's so nice to see familiar places from The Lord of the Rings trilogy made even more impressive by the use of modern technology, in addition to the fact that The Hobbit is set before LoTR thus these places are much 'younger' in this story anyway.

In term's of plot, being the middle instalment I feel that this film was much more developed that An Unexpected Journey which did much for setting up the world of The Hobbit but not much for developing the plot. Of course, the big plot point that is introduced in this film is Smaug himself, a fearsome dragon who sleeps on a bed of Dwarf gold. The voice of Smaug is absolutely perfect, giving off an incredibly dangerous and evil feel and every time Smaug spoke it sent shivers down my spine. Benedict Cumberbatch has proved that even when you can't see him on screen, he's still incredibly talented. There are a few different plot strands running through this film but they all fit together nicely meaning that there's very little room for confusion and it's always quite clear what is going on. Although I have read the book, it was a very long time ago and I'm glad to see that it's still easy to keep up with the plot even if you don't have any prior knowledge of Middle Earth or Tolkein's world. That said, you will almost certainly have to watch this film after having seen An Unexpected Journey otherwise the full impact of the quest that Bilbo is on will not be realised. Despite the fact that there's nothing explicitly 'funny' in this trilogy, there are numerous humorous elements throughout which help to stop this film from becoming a horribly, dark tale.

The cast in this trilogy is very strong with numerous famous names and a few familiar faces from Lord of the Rings, most notably Legolas. Although Legolas is supposed to be younger in The Hobbit, somehow the effects make him look like he has aged instead which is disappointing. I've found that Legolas' character seems to be rather different in The Hobbit, almost more cold than his later self in LoTR and I don't know whether this was intentional or not. It is a shame that we don't see more of either Gandalf or Legolas in this film as it is these subtle ties to the original LoTR trilogy that make these films all the better for existing Tolkein fans. Ian McKellen's Gandalf is much the same as he is in LoTR so obviously he is a superb character the little screen time that he has in this film still makes a mark.

Martin Freeman continues to play Bilbo Baggins and he does so just as well as he did in the first film. He makes an excellent Bilbo managing to be both a bumbling idiot and an incredibly intelligent hobbit both at the same time. His character is brings both humour and humility to this film the audience really roots for him. Of course, this trilogy is all about Bilbo's adventure and Jackson has managed to perfectly balance the film between focusing on Bilbo himself and the rest of his comrades, who are also incredibly important. The entire group of Dwarfs are also made up of very good actors, though it is difficult to distinguish between different Dwarfs but as a collection you can't help but love them. It is particularly nice to see Stephen Fry in this film who only has a few short minutes of screen time but he also makes a lasting impression.

The action sequences are not just made up of mind-numbing fights but highly exciting and dramatic scenes. During a particularly stressful fight between some orcs and elves I was literally sat with my hands covering my mouth, with my heart pounding for the safety of the elves. I found myself incredibly drawn into this film, much more than I thought I would be and the whole process of watching this trilogy is quite an experience.

This film is very, very, very long. Almost three hours long, in fact. It is a little slow to get started, but once you've made it through the first 45 minutes or so, you stop noticing time passing as it's just action packed amazingness for the next two hours. There are action scenes, romantic scenes, humorous scenes, adventurous scenes, fight scenes - everything that you could wish for in a Tolkein adaptation. There wasn't a single moment in the second half of this film that I was bored in and I was very disappointed when this film came to a close. The way that this story has been cut into three pieces is absolutely perfect for giving audiences enough of a story per film, but leaving them excited enough about the next instalment to ensure that they return to the cinema for the next part. I cannot wait for the third, and final, film in this trilogy to be released as these films are moving from strength to strength and I'm sure that the finale will be stupendous. If you haven't watched The Desolation of Smaug yet then you absolutely must. It is a fantastic film that spreads across so many different genres that it's impossible not to enjoy or be drawn in by it. All in all, I'd highly recommend this film (and trilogy) as it's an excellent example what great acting and special effects can offer audiences.
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18 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If it ain't broke don't fix it., 10 April 2014
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It is undoubtedly a good film, but for a hobbit fan like me I just can't understand what all the changes to the plot were for, because they only detract from the overall enjoyability of the experience. If it ain't broke don't fix it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Hobbit continues, 30 Oct 2014
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This review is from: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug [Blu-ray + UV Copy] [2013] [Region Free] (Blu-ray)
For Tolkien fans must have in the BR collection - good movie well made - i just still thinking how did Jackson made a 9hrs movie from a short book like The Hobbit.
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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars “Are we there yet?”, 5 Jun 2014
By 
No More Mr. Mice Guy (London, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug [Blu-ray + UV Copy] [2013] [Region Free] (Blu-ray)
It is a long time since I read any of Tolkien’s books, and I came to this having watched the first film, as well as the sequel Lord of the Rings trilogy. If, as with any film, you disregard the original source material and treat it on its own merits, then this is a very good sequel to the first film. The story, expanded in places, but still in keeping with the spirit of the original story, if not the fine detail – I’m sure I remember the Goblins as being less monstrous in the written version – takes us through Mirkwood, on to the Lake village, and finally into Dwarf city ‘under the mountain’. Meanwhile, Gandalf has gone off to investigate the tombs of the Nazgul, and to look into Dol Guldur, where a Shadow is walking…

This is a fast-moving adventure, despite being over two and a half hours long. I kept checking the elapsed time, just in case I was approaching a cliffhanger, only to find there was much more time to go. Note that the end credits take up ten minutes, so adjust your expectations accordingly. It really is an epic story told in an epic way.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I like Smaug, 29 Oct 2014
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Good but not as good as the book
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24 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why all the fuss?!, 10 Sep 2014
By 
Rt Giles "RTG" (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Why all the fuss about not following the story 100% ?

Most of the important parts of the story are here plus ALOT of bits that are only referenced in the appendixes of LOTR's. As a massive Rings and Hobbit fan (both books and films) I love Peter jackson's adaptations. Of course there are elements that are not in the book but isn't that artistic licence? If he made a mess off all the previous films I could understand people kicking off about the changes but to be honest, all the films (including this one) to date have been outstanding quality both as adaptations and as films. The attention to detail is phenomenal. People have done the same with George R.R Martins song of fire and ice series (which I have read and seen) and I feel people just want to kick off because they feel they have to because they have read the books, as long as it is done well what's the issue?!
Yes the film could have been made n two parts but I love Peter Jackson's films so I'm happy to sit through 9 hours or so as it is entertaining and isn't that what films are about???!!!!!
People should stop fussing, just because they have read the books doesn't give them license pick holes in a fantastic film trilogy/ series. But I guess you will never please everyone!
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97 of 136 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I am fire...... I am death...., 14 Dec 2013
After crossing over the Misty Mountains, Thorin must seek help from a powerful stranger before taking on the dangers of an illusioned filled forest.

If they reach Lake-town it will be time Bilbo Baggins to fulfil his contract with the dwarfs. The party must complete the journey to Lonely Mountain and Baggins must seek out the Secret Door.

A door that will give them access to the hoard of the dragon Smaug....

After reassessing the first movie, which to be honest was a bit of a slog to get through, my expectations were not very high for this second instalment. I was looking forward to it, but this trilogy didn't really have the event feel that LOTR had..... Until now.

After a very slow opening, with a flashback, it soon goes back to what Jackson does best, event set pieces of the highest order. As soon as the group go into the forest, that's it, the film is rip roaring fun right up until the final haunting scene.

The film then is wrapped around three very impressive, and huge set pieces. The first in the forest with the spiders and meeting old friends,the second is a wonderful barrel chase, involving Orcs and Elves, and the final piece, which rivals anything from the original trilogy, when we meet Smaug.

This is stunning stuff, and Freeman excels in this part, one reason is because he's not really focused on until this part, and his fear makes his meeting with Smaug all the more urgent.

And what a creation Smaug is, as soon as he unveils himself from under millions of coins, you know instantly he will be right up there with Gollum, The T-Rex, and The T-1000, as the best CGI creations ever committed to screen.

Gandalf has his own little side story, which is very sinister, but not touched on too much, which will probably be the focus of the next film.

My only problem is that it doesn't have a lot of urgency to it, because you know a few characters that get in peril will be fine, because of LOTR.

Its a return to form from Jackson, and it has the best cliffhanger from any Jackson movie.

Well worth seeing.
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