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Desolation of Smaug

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Desolation of Smaug

Postby Icristhus » Tue Dec 17, 2013 11:37 pm

I'm surprised there isn't a thread about this, here, yet.

I'm curious: What did you all think of this movie, if you've seen it yet?

A lot of my friends who are Tolkein Fanatics are in full-blown "I HATE PETER JACKSON" mode, reminds me of the Star Wars prequels reaction, in a lot of ways.

Myself, I actually thoroughly enjoyed the movie after having my "Oh my God, It's Ruined!" reaction last year when I saw Radagast and the Goblin King, among the many other changes.

So I went into this one with the expectation of, "Let's see the modern action flick adaptation of a story based on the Hobbit." and it was far more fun that way.
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Re: Desolation of Smaug

Postby Icarus » Tue Dec 17, 2013 11:42 pm

I was... Really unimpressed by the film. What made the Hobbit great was removed, and additions were made that added nothing.

Why the subplot of Bards ancestors failing to slay smaug?
Why the romance between a dwarf and an elf?
Why was Beorn changed so much?
Wtf is Azog doing alive?

Etc etc etc.

I was just... Dissapointed. It reminded me of snow trolls.
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Re: Desolation of Smaug

Postby Throttle » Wed Dec 18, 2013 1:26 am

It was okay if you didn't go in expecting it to be completely faithful to the book, but they bogged it down so much with useless filler material. I guess it takes a lot of filler to make a movie three times as long as it would naturally have been. The constant action scenes with godlike elves effortlessly slaughtering orcs in wildly unrealistic ways were so jarring and so frequent that I spent half the movie in "come on, really?!"-mode, which makes it hard to take the rest seriously.

The film was still alright in the places where it just stuck with the material from the book, but Jackson is shitting all over his own movie by trying to cater to the lowest common demonimator with cheesy action, romance and comic relief, and he's making huge sacrifices of quality in order to drag the whole thing out into three films. It would have been great if they'd resisted the temptation to dilute it with fifteen Superhero Legolas scenes and crap like that. It seems like they've chosen to cram each film with a side dish theme; the first one had a bunch of hamfisted comic relief, this one had a plethora of pointless fight scenes. The tack-on theme of the third one will predictably be off-putting interspecies romance.

It's always sad when a movie is worse than it needs to be, not because the budget or cast just aren't better but because managerial decisions are holding it back. I'm a lot more forgiving of a movie that simply hasn't got much to work with, but Jackson had plenty and still chose to let marketing make most of the decisions. He would have been given the chance to make a serious movie, as he did with LOTR to great success, but he chose instead to take the safe route and make a movie that was okay to everybody instead of excellent to those who care about the source material. When you have to cater to children and non-fans in a movie based on a 75 year-old book, it costs a lot of quality.
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Re: Desolation of Smaug

Postby Feawen » Wed Dec 18, 2013 4:52 pm

For the most part the changes didn't bother me (which might surprise many people who know me!), as I didn't go in expecting a perfect adaptation. And I agree with Icristhus that it's better to adopt a mindset of "modern action movie take on The Hobbit.

And, as far as the sub-plots, this commentary is going to cause some of the more die-hard fans to froth...

Tolkien was, for the most part, not very good at writing interesting, multi-layered characters.

The sub-plots would bother me more if they didn't flesh out existing characters and actually make them interesting. Not to mention giving characters like Legolas and Kili a chance to be something more than background characters. Even Tolkien admitted that Legolas was the most useless member of the Fellowship. Aragorn in the books wasn't very interesting, either. He had a form of Superman complex (meaning he was a bland, uninteresting Good Guy).

I enjoyed the movie for what it was - a film that came into existence the greater part of a century later, focused on appealing to a wider audience than Tolkien's original book (which was fairly simple and written for his children). Smaug's design was good in spite of them removing his forelimbs, and his melodrama amused me greatly, so I was entertained.

That said, a few things like the Dwarven Wind Lance and other obvious additions that weren't in the books (except for Tauriel, I kind of like her) annoyed me. I would have preferred to see Bard use his bow to fell Smaug.

Also, as my significant other stated, Desolation of Smaug didn't have the same "oomph" as the first part of The Hobbit. They also picked a terrible time for a cliff hanger - it should have been earlier during Bilbo's conversation with Smaug.

As a last thought, and I am far too lazy to properly organize this as an essay, remember that many of the additions to the movie come from The Silmarillion as source material.
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Re: Desolation of Smaug

Postby Octavius » Wed Dec 18, 2013 8:06 pm

I went with an open mind and enjoyed it quite a bit. Sure, the huge long epic battle scene in the mountain of Erebor with natural-gas powered furnaces, unrealistic metal smelting, and a quick dash of dwarven alchemical explosives made for some flashy (literally) scenes, and it wasn't in the book, but it was good cinema if you didn't expect to see the story you've read.

For me, one of the most important thing about the Hobbit was precisely how USELESS the dwarves were at every single stage. They were very entitled, but didn't accomplish anything except getting taken prisoner a half-dozen times. Damn good thing they had a good burglar, indeed. It was clear that Peter Jackson did NOT like his party of main characters being less-than-useful.


Icarus wrote:Why the subplot of Bards ancestors failing to slay smaug?


That one annoyed me, but I caught the reason.

Bard was supposed to have a talking thrush listen to Bilbo tell about the hollow in the dragon's breast and then later whisper it to Bard as the descendant of the King of Dale.

Bilbo didn't notice the hollow, didn't come out to tell the dwarves about it where the thrush could hear, and they just didn't want a talking bird.

So... how do they get Bard to know to shoot the dragon in the right spot? They invent a story about how his ancestor knocked a dragon scale off its chest but didn't sink the shaft home. Now it is a folk tale that everyone around him knows... there's a missing scale where my grandfather shot the beast and all I need to do is hit the same spot.

He also demagicked the arrow, and so felt a need to add the windlass to justify it working out in the end via SCIENCE.

Personally, I'd like the talking bird.

Icarus wrote:Why the romance between a dwarf and an elf?


They had interviews about adding Tauriel, and they clearly needed a female character. Having a female character who was just a love-interest of Legolas would be boring and not major enough.

If you're inventing an entire plotline to make a female character interesting, how would YOU interweave it with the dwarves? Love interests are cheap and easy.

Icarus wrote:I was just... Dissapointed. It reminded me of snow trolls.


I LOLed.
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Re: Desolation of Smaug

Postby Burke » Sun Dec 22, 2013 8:19 am

I probably shouldn't make this my first post here, but I thought An Unexpected Journey not only failed as an adaptation but also failed to be a decent movie. I went from nearly being in tears over getting to return to Middle Earth to wanting to walk out because I was so irritated and bored. I'm not bothering with the rest of the films; I'm sure the profit from my two tickets and a DVD set purchase will be sorely missed. :lol:
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Re: Desolation of Smaug

Postby Drew7uk » Sun Dec 22, 2013 10:57 am

I felt like the first was more entertaining overall as a film and the second was a little drawn out with a fairly minimalist storyline. Depiction of Laketown was really interesting and pretty well done.

After the first I gave up with adaptation from the books and gave in to their qualities as films in their own right. When you look at them from that angle they're not too bad :)
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Re: Desolation of Smaug

Postby Pehrune » Mon Dec 23, 2013 8:26 am

Drew7uk wrote:I felt like the first was more entertaining overall as a film and the second was a little drawn out with a fairly minimalist storyline. Depiction of Laketown was really interesting and pretty well done.

After the first I gave up with adaptation from the books and gave in to their qualities as films in their own right. When you look at them from that angle they're not too bad :)


I will second this opinion. The second film -was- unnecessarily drawn out. Yet, I will go to watch the 3ed one anyway simply out of curiosity.
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Re: Desolation of Smaug

Postby Eugene » Tue Dec 24, 2013 1:09 am

I am extremely grateful for this thread, as I considered seeing the movie. I saw the first one with a friend, and we were disappointed after the first 15 minutes. We could both appreciate the dwarven opening, wherein we were jostling each other and screaming about Dwarf Fortress (there were only two other groups in the theater, due to our choice of theatrical and temporal location, that could hardly care about two idiots in the front row), but we were quickly upset by the lack of structure and poor directing. Everyone I know that saw the second film told me that it made up for the first, but I will believe all of you before I believe all the people at my workplace.
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Re: Desolation of Smaug

Postby Octavius » Tue Dec 24, 2013 11:19 am

Oh, I would totally go see it again, and liked it better than the first one.

For its value as an action flick, though, not for any supposed relationship to the story that Tolkien once told. :roll:
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Re: Desolation of Smaug

Postby Nimrod » Thu Dec 26, 2013 2:07 am

I just went to this yesterday. It was much better than the first one, that's for sure. There was a lot of action and Smaug was very well done, I thought. Of course Jackson takes a lot of license, as we surely discovered through the first Hobbit movie, but if you can put aside your notions of what is supposed to happen because of your love for the books, then it's a fairly good flick.

I really appreciated Jackson's leaving out all the comedy relief, although there were a few bits where he just couldn't help himself. But compared to the first movie, this one was controlled. Bombur sprinting like Hussein Bolt gave me a bit of a chuckle and the barrel scene, although overdone a bit, gave my wife and daughter a laugh.

The unlikely romance (if you've seen it you know what I'm talking about), seemed slightly out of place though and it did distract me slightly.

I would go see it again if someone else paid for the ticket.

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Re: Desolation of Smaug

Postby Feawen » Fri Dec 27, 2013 12:08 am

In response to the "off-putting interspecies romance", a word from my significant other:

"Elves get around with everyone else. Other elves, Men, Maiar at least. Why not dwarves?"

And a word from a friend:

"Legolas and Gimli. The original elf-dwarf gay romance."
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Re: Desolation of Smaug

Postby Emilio » Fri Dec 27, 2013 9:03 am

Feawen wrote:"Legolas and Gimli. The original elf-dwarf platonic gay romance."


I just add my viewpoint.
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Re: Desolation of Smaug

Postby Feawen » Fri Dec 27, 2013 11:10 am

Of course. :D But would people be so offended of the idea if it weren't for "Ew, the dwarf's a male and the elf's a female. Therefore they might have sex"? Which... I think we can all agree there's nothing but the extremely slimmest chance of that happening, even in the movie.
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Re: Desolation of Smaug

Postby Octavius » Fri Dec 27, 2013 12:29 pm

I am waiting for Jackson to go back and re-edit the drinking scene between Legolas and Gimli to have them bragging, so Legolas can say, "I once shot three orcs while bobbing up and down, in the middle of the river on a floating barrel, while standing on your father's head." *awkward silence*
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Re: Desolation of Smaug

Postby Emilio » Fri Dec 27, 2013 12:41 pm

Octavius wrote:I am waiting for Jackson to go back and re-edit the drinking scene between Legolas and Gimli to have them bragging, so Legolas can say, "I once shot three orcs while bobbing up and down, in the middle of the river on a floating barrel, while standing on your father's head." *awkward silence*


Is that a movie spoiler? :shock:
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Re: Desolation of Smaug

Postby Burke » Sun Dec 29, 2013 9:04 pm

Regarding the interspecies romance, I keep expecting to hear at any moment that Christopher Tolkien has been felled by a stroke. And, seriously, that's the bad thing; thanks to stuff like this, the chances of someone get permission to adapt something else for the screen that wasn't included in Tolkien's original sale of teh rights seem to be greatly reduced. Imagine how Darren Aronofsky would film The Tale of Beren and Lúthien....
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Re: Desolation of Smaug

Postby Icristhus » Sat Jan 04, 2014 11:10 pm

Feawen wrote:Of course. :D But would people be so offended of the idea if it weren't for "Ew, the dwarf's a male and the elf's a female. Therefore they might have sex"? Which... I think we can all agree there's nothing but the extremely slimmest chance of that happening, even in the movie.


For my part, I'd be even more offended if the elf was male and the dwarf female. Do we really need bearded ladies? :shock:
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Re: Desolation of Smaug

Postby Burke » Sun Jan 05, 2014 6:58 am

Icristhus wrote:
Feawen wrote:Of course. :D But would people be so offended of the idea if it weren't for "Ew, the dwarf's a male and the elf's a female. Therefore they might have sex"? Which... I think we can all agree there's nothing but the extremely slimmest chance of that happening, even in the movie.


For my part, I'd be even more offended if the elf was male and the dwarf female. Do we really need bearded ladies? :shock:


Or babies with facial hair.

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Re: Desolation of Smaug

Postby Olthadir » Thu Apr 10, 2014 11:52 pm

I just finished watching the movie tonight. I live in a remote community where I had to wait until the film came out on iTunes...

I'm surprised how no one mentioned the 'morgul arrow' and kingsfoil scene(s). Out of the whole movie those bothered me the most. A lot of the other things I was upset about, but could forgive -- Beorn being one of them, and that ridiculous forge battle scene with spontaneously liquid-solid-then-liquid-again gold.
The fact that dwarves would know about kingsfoil's healing properties seemed like a slap in the face, especially considering how rare it is. Sure it was cute that they did the whole "It's a weed" "Oh! no it's not! It's a magical cure!" thing from Fellowship, but as a Tolkien lover I nearly tore my hair out. As a movie watcher I felt they copped out and had a pointless sup-plot that mirrored Fellowship for no reason. I just couldn't forgive that whole thing.
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Re: Desolation of Smaug

Postby Throttle » Fri Apr 11, 2014 1:59 am

Yeah, they threw away every shred of integrity in order to cram the movie with jarring action scenes, pointless references to LOTR, and other stupid fanservice that only makes it cringeworthy to watch. The core story is fine but it's as if Jackson didn't have faith in the source material the way he had with LOTR.
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Re: Desolation of Smaug

Postby Eugene » Tue Apr 22, 2014 12:17 am

Feawen wrote:In response to the "off-putting interspecies romance", a word from my significant other:

"Elves get around with everyone else. Other elves, Men, Maiar at least. Why not dwarves?"

And a word from a friend:

"Legolas and Gimli. The original elf-dwarf gay romance."


If I recall correctly, a great number of scenes showing the friendship between Gimli and Legolas were cut from the Fellowship movies.
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Re: Desolation of Smaug

Postby BoogtehWoog » Tue Jul 01, 2014 10:32 am

I hate to say this, but I despised this movie. It was an utter slap in the face to anyone passingly familiar with Tolkien's works. And even if Desolation of Smaug was a tale completely of Peter Jackon's own "creativity," it would still be bad.
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Re: Desolation of Smaug

Postby jdidds » Tue Jul 01, 2014 11:08 am

Feeling much of the same as everyone. I quiet like the first one, but the second was pish.

Dreading what comes of the third one.
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Re: Desolation of Smaug

Postby Forceknight » Wed Jul 02, 2014 2:37 am

I watched this when it came out so its been a little while since I saw it. I remember particularly loving the design of Laketown and thinking Stephen Fry was awesome as the mayor or whatever.

I also liked the addition of Tauriel, its a bit ridiculous having an all male cast in 2014 so I'm glad they added her in. She was pretty bad ass, and even tho theres a romance storyline her character is more than just "random elf love interest" which is a great choice. Sure she could've been written better, but she could have also been written a lot worse.

I also remember loving that barrels in the river scene cos the fat dwarf looks like Gragas from League of Legends and he was using barrels to smash orcs just like Gragas does in LoL (maybe I just made that up but I feel like it happened)

I watched it kinda hungover tho and the long runtime was especially bad. It kinda ruined all the beautiful CGI of Smaug (he really was beautiful) for me cos by the time the movie got to that point I was ready to go home.
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