And so comes the second out of the three movies for The Hobbit movie trilogy. We were originally going to see the midnight release like we did last time, but we ended up having a work holiday party, so that was that. However, we went at an 8:30am showing yesterday at AMC Flatirons which has the comfy seats that turn into recliners. Awesome. PS-we are huge Tolkien fans so we have been looking forward to this for a while. We just love the world of Middle Earth. I was a bit anxious how this one was going to play out, as the Hobbit as a book isn’t long, so obviously Peter Jackson was going to have some license with the story. Turns out we enjoyed all 2 hours and 41 minutes of this outrageously fun, exciting, and witty movie. And I hope my mum and dad want to see it when we come home for Christmas because I’d love to see it again.
Let’s start off by saying that Peter Jackson has an awesome cameo within the first 3 seconds of the film. Gotta love those. Let me add that we did not see this movie in 3D. Why? Because last time we did, it was a very uncomfortable experience. The faster frame rate and the Dolby sound gave us a headache. And it’s not necessary for the Hobbit, because it wasn’t filmed in 3D. The theatre we were in definitely had a good number of fans: gasps, laughs, and squeals of delight could be heard a number of times.
In our opinion, this movie is much more complex than the first. There are parts that are certainly heavier and parts that are lighter than the first. There is more tension due to the fact that our courageous Dwarven-led party has a deadline to reach their destination. Thus, everything is weighted because their whole quest relies on getting to the Lonely Mountain at this one point. That is always in the back of your mind as you watch them struggle their way there. It also seems that the Dwarves and company run into many more problems than before (though in the Hobbit they had their fair share of obstacles). A very large part of this movie was introducing the darkness (aka Sauron) coming back into power. This is obviously because the Lord of the Rings was already created and they want to do a big tie-in to that. For example, Gandalf is rarely with the party in this movie because he is so preoccupied with this up and coming darkness and war. Another dark element of this movie is the Ring’s influence on Bilbo. It is easy to see that he is becoming more and more affected by the Ring and its power, and it is obvious that Sauron has awoken.
Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh definitely decided to create some fan fiction in the Hobbit, which we don’t mind. They simply delved into the characters and stories between them in the Hobbit that were more briefly introduced by Tolkien. There was the introduction of the elves which included an old favorite, Legolas, as well as Tauriel, and Thranduil. Tauriel, the “she-Elf,” is played by Evangeline Lily, known to “Lost” fans as “Kate.” They were a great addition, serving us with some kick-butt action, typical of Legolas as we know from the Lord of the Rings. Tauriel also performed amazing stunts and moves to get rid of some Orc filth. There is a light romance triangle between Legolas, Tauriel, and one of the dwarves which brings some weight to the Elves’ purpose in this whole thing. Thranduil was absolutely epic, acting was absolutely spot on.
The introduction of the Men on Lake-town also added an interesting element. No longer are the Dwarves the only ones to suffer from Smaug, the Men on the Lake-town just near the Lonely Mountain have much to lose as well. This adds conflict for the Dwarves to actually make it to their destination as the lead Man, Bard (played by Luke Evans), wants to prevent their town from erupting into flames from the sleeping Smaug. Stephen Fry also makes a delightful appearance as the town’s corrupt mayor.
The action in this movie tops that of the last movie, at least for me. It is rip-roaring fun as in the scene of the barrels in the river or nail-biting in the fighting with “Oh Smaug the Stupendous” (as Bilbo says). Brilliant choreography, great witty lines in between, and Jackson kept up with the rivalry between Elves and Dwarves, which makes all fight scenes that much greater. Gandalf, too, gets his own action scenes which he shows the extent of his powers…pretty wicked.
The acting is flawless in this second installment, for as far as I can see. Emotions are heavier as the quest nears its destination and the characters demand more from their actors in-depth of emotion, feeling, and consequence. The stars for me this time were the Dwarves, especially Balin (played by Ken Stott). They’ve come so far, have lost so much, and have so much more to lose. Balin really shined through for me. Ian McKellen rocks it as always, but no surprise there. Thranduil also killed it as the Elven King, concerned only for his own land. And how can we forget Benedict Cumberbatch, the seductive, destructive voice of Smaug. He gets underneath your skin with his creepy, all-powerful voice. It really is something else.
Yes, it is a long review, but this movie is worthy of spending some time over. But if you want a summary: the second installment of the Hobbit plays with more complex themes, hilariously fun action scenes, develops relationships between all races, and sets the audience up for the third and final film where this quest will come to an end. The ending credits song is by Ed Sheeran and it is absolutely wonderful. A perfect guitar tribute to the Dwarves, watch it now (we have it on repeat) Hungry and Fit gives this film two thumbs up and is eagerly wanting to see it again ASAP. As always…stay hungry and fit!