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This review is from: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug [Blu-ray + UV Copy]  [Region Free] (Blu-ray)
I found this movie to be very disappointing.
I knew that the story would veer wildly from the book, so I didn't really mind about the additional characters or completely implausible sub-plots that Jackson has added. That's fair enough, he's bought the rights and can make up his own story if he so chooses.
It's just that so much of the magic of the book has been lost, replaced with endless and mindless sequences of Legolas butchering Orcs.
Tolkien wrote The Hobbit as a book for children, very deliberately (I'm sure) glossing over much of the violence of the battle scenes. Even in the struggles with the spiders, there is a gentle humour about the way he describes Bilbo issuing insults.
All of this is lost in Jackson's movie.
As ever, the visuals are breathtaking - except, oddly, in the battle scenes where it would appear that the director's desire to invent as many grotesque deaths as possible went beyond the animators' capabilities.
As ever, the acting is solid enough.
But if the direction is wrong, then the performances are unlikely to ring true.
There is no doubt that it would be easy to cut twenty or thirty minutes of material from the film and make it better as a result.
But the real worry has to be for the third movie. One assumes that it will be just three hours of the Battle of Five Armies, with an animated Legolas single handedly massacring Orc hordes by the thousands.