cedar_grove: (In dreams)
As I write this, I am still trying to get my thoughts and feelings together into comfortable little niches all of their own. They aren't cooperating though, resisting the almost desperate urging to settle, to let me come up with a coherent opinion on a movie I have waited for for what feels like forever I keep contradicting myself, and swinging back and forth between love, hate and a whole realms worth of emotions in between. That said, and bearing in mind that they might change even the moment I've finished writing them - that's how in flux I am: here are my initial comments on The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug.

"The world has changed..."
For me, the whole 'Tolkien Purists vs Jackson & Co's vision' is a bit of a non starter, to be honest, but the rabid and vicarious 'turning in his grave' attitude adopted by many so-called purists is starting to make my teeth itch. Now, this is just my opinion, because I love how the franchise has been handled by Jackson et al, (and yes, I am including LotR and TH both), How can these people call themselves purists when they appear to be ignoring the wishes of Tolkien himself, that his writing concerning Middle Earth should be a kind of mythology, which are, "linked to a majestic whole, and yet leave scope for other minds and hands, wielding paint and music and drama." (J.R.R Tolkien, Letter to Milton Waldman, 1951)?

Well, isn't that exactly the point? Isn't that What Jackson and co have done? Wielded that 'paint, music and drama' and given us an expanded vision of the sketched out - though admittedly wonderful - bed time story that Tolkien offered to us in the pages of The Hobbit? In my mind, what Peter, Fran, Phillipa and co have done is taken that wish of Tolkien's and run with it... adapting the mythology presented way back... (reaches for copy of the book)... in 1937, updated it and made it resonate within the hearts and minds of a movie-going population of a different century! Tastes change - understandings change, and if tradition and mythology doesn't have the power to adapt and change with society they will become obsolete, meaningless or worse, inaccessible.

Did Peter Jackson and Co 'take liberties?' - no. Did they adapt and add to the story for a modern audience? -yes. So... if that still isn't good enough for you purists, I say, "Instead of siting their complaining and moaning about it... go and try it for yourself." Even just try writing a script... I dare ya!

"Give them a moment, for Pity's sake!"
The pace of the movie was utterly relentless, which is both a very good thing and a 'whoa-hold-on-time-out' thing too. There were times in the movie where I would have liked a moment or two to catch my breath before plunging on to the next moment in the roller-coaster ride. That's not to say that I didn't enjoy it, nothing could be further from the truth, but I found I had barely time to process one thing before moving on to the next, and that may go some way to accounting as to why I am still more than 16 hours later, still trying to process it all. It's all still swimming around in my head as a big ball of Middle-Earthy peril, history and heartbreak.

"Such is the nature of Evil..."
Right from the start here, I'm going to declare myself and admit that I am horribly biased. It will come as no surprise, therefore, when I felt our time spent in the Halls of the Elvenking were by far too short - a feeling I hope to see given relief when we finally get to see an extended cut on DVD. I'll also confess I've read more interviews with the actors than I can count and watched PJ's Production Blogs etc, which kind of informs a lot of my following thoughts.

Lee Pace as Thranduil was as near to perfect as any actor could possibly have been. Exquisite and painfully beautiful, controlling and powerful and yet hauntingly hurt, lost and devastated by all that he has lived through in his long years. From said interviews, and the blogs, Pace obviously did a lot of preparation for understanding the Elvenking and his motivations and within the confines of the script and cut of the movie, helped to underpin and mitigate the isolationist attitude that could otherwise have been seen as a weakness, not as the sacrificial strength of a king that does what he can to protect his people... knowing his limitations and knowing that when to act is as important as what a person does. I'm hoping that will come across more clearly yet in an extended cut of the movie, where the inner struggle with the bitterness and 'evil' lingering inside of him will be more in evidence.

Orlando Bloom 'reprised' his role as Legolas with skill and dedication. The 'devolution' of the Legolas character was well written, and was expertly acted. Easy to believe that Legolas was clearly his father's son, and being groomed as a Prince of the Woodland Realm. The action sequences involving the elf Prince were as stunning as always, and knowing that Bloom tried to do as much of his own stunt work as possible instills a new level of respect. The complaints about him not belonging hold no water in my opinion. We were in his home. He's going to be there... and the story-line presented to us by Jackson and Co in their vision of events beg his involvement, since his father is not yet ready to act.

Evangeline Lily works as an elf. Her place in the story works, though... I found myself not caring about her as much as I'm sure I'm supposed to... will need to, I suspect when There and Back Again comes out. She a young elf, and that, I think, comes across very well in the way Lily presents her character. And I think I can almost believe in the cross-species 'romance' blossoming in front of us... doomed as it is... it was very sweet. I never had a problem with the addition of a 'new' female character. The changing times and attitudes demands it, and the movie needed a woman. I didn't dislike her, and I expected to... though mostly due to conflicting rumours I'd heard about the direction her character was being taken and a worry for the way such things would be written. I should have trusted what I know of the love Jackson has for Middle Earth, and repeat my opinion that as an elf, Lily works.

Luke Evan's brought the character of Bard to life beautiful. Clearly a man with his own demons of the dark to face, his confrontation with Thorin unfortunately on a more political stage, and therefore more likely to fail than had he 'confronted' the Dwarf under different circumstances was visceral and one to inspire fear - sadly though unheard by the the people of Laketown, who remain driven by their own need, hunger and lingering hope. Evan's brought all of this to life with a sensitivity, and yet a strength that made Bard real and believable.

"I am King Under the Mountain."
Richard Armitage, as the one who would claim this throne-in-contention, in the role of Thorin delivered a solidly consistent performance - skilled and clearly showing an increasing agitation in both his words and actions. The closer he gets to his goal, the further away it would seem to become, along with his sense of reason, unfortunately... I mean, honestly - did he honestly think that his particular plan to rid Erebor of Smaug was going to work? Really? Armitage made us believe... in Thorin's conviction, in his growing desperation to reclaim what he has lost... at whatever cost.

I cannot really leave without making some kind of comment or giving some kind of voice to the thought about the titular character of the movie... though beyond 'Smaug was awesome' I don't know really what is to be said. The Mo-cap animation was second to none, and Benedict Cumberbatch did an outstanding job of both the Mo-Cap and the voice-work on the dragon. He was fearsome, he was uncompromisingly arrogant, clever and above all dangerous.

"Dragon fire and ruin..."
Martin Freeman works for me as Bilbo. There really isn't much more to be said about the hobbit than that. He made the role his own, and even his own sense of somewhat comedic style, which I don't normally care for, didn't bother me all that much. As I come to the end of my thoughts I have to commend Freeman on managing to deliver and incredibly cliche line with such delicate conviction that (had the movie theatre not prematurely raised the house lighting) would not at all have taken away from the 'shock' ending of the movie.

"I regret to tell you, this is the end... goodbye."
WHAT!! I have to wait a whole year!?

Yes, overall I loved the movie, I want to see it again... and again... and I want more. I want to see what was left behind to make the Extended Edition, whenever we are allowed to see that. (Please don't make me wait until November!) I don't care that it's 'not the book,' it is still The Hobbit to me.


cedar_grove: (Default)

May 2017

7 8910111213


RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

  • Style: Fanya for Ciel by nornoriel

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 26th, 2017 12:58 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios