Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - My Review

So my buddy Doug got invited to a pre-release screening of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and he invited me to be his guest. He told me this a few days ago and I've been going crazy having to wait but the wait if finally over. The screening was happening at the Director's Guild of America, which is a fairly nice theater.

We wanted to make sure we got a good seat so we got into Hollywood around 4:30pm. The screening wasn't until 7:00pm but like with all screenings they overbook them to make sure they fill the room and this being The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and the fact that there was a Q&A with some amazing people afterward we knew we needed to get there early. We figured we'd get in line an hour early so that gave us some time to eat dinner across the street at The Counter. We finished around 5:30pm and headed over to the theater where there was already a line. We were about six from the front.. so we thought. when they let us in we found out that there was another line of about 30 or so people on the other side of the room. Luckily we got there when we did as the line behind us was HUGE.

We found some prime seats, as you want to be in the middle but not to far forward but close enough to see the guests for the Q&A. We were about seven rows back from the front. And with the folks in front of us (who were short) I had the perfect view of the screen and the stage.

So the movie started and I was beyond excited. I have been waiting an year for part two of this Hobbit trilogy.

My Review (SPOILERS: Nothing major just my overall thoughts on some key points in the film) My over all thoughts on this movie.. LOVED IT!!! but of course there was never any doubt that I wouldn't. Folks complained about the pace of the first movie, well there is no way they will be able to make that claim with this installment. After the prologue it's non-stop action from beginning to end.

Martin Freedman is incredible at Bilbo. His subtle or not to subtle facial expression are amazing. There is this fantastic scene where he has to fight some sort of insect creature for the ring and he just goes ballistic and afterward you can see that he is terrified at what he just did, the ring is already effecting him.

Ian McKellen does it again as Gandalf the Grey. There is a sequence towards the end of the film where we finally get some awesome Wizard battle. It reminds me of when he was fighting the Balrog from Fellowship of the Ring just a 100 times awesomer. It's one of my favorite scenes from the film.

Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly) is a brand new elf character created just for these movies. Tauriel is a warrior who is cunning and swift and will not hesitate to defend herself, yet she is also kind and nurturing and brave enough to defy her king and prince to do what she knows is right. She's a great addition to these films. There is also a kind of love triangle between Legolas, Tauriel and Kili. Well Legolas likes Tauriel but she's a lonely Silvan elf and not worth of the prince of the Greenwoods (according to Legolas' father). But Tauriel and Kili have this awesome moment and the sparks fly.There is also a scene at the of the film between those two that is very sweet.

As I've said this movie is fast paced and what feels like minutes we are at the end of the film and Bilbo's confrontation with Smaug the Dragon. First I have to say that the visual effects for Smaug were amazing, just as if not better then the CG for Gollum in The Lord of the Rings movies. Benedict Cumberbatch did an fantastic job bringing Smaug to life. They added this big action sequence at the very end of the film, which is not in the book and I'm sure folks will complain as it defiantly changes things up. And when you get to that final scene and the screen goes black, you scream a little inside as you now have to wait an entire year for the conclusion of this story.

Other great moments in this film.. the barrel ride is visual stunning and action packed. Bombur has his shining moment during this scene.. it's pretty amazing and hilarious. It was great seeing Beorn I just wish he was in the film more, hopefully he'll make an appearance during the five army battle in the next film. Radagast is back and is as great as ever. Lee Pace is pitch perfect as Thranduil, the King of the Greenwood. He is intimidating, regal and clearly stuck in his old ways. Luke Evens did a great job bringing Bard the Bowman to life. His character is more fleshed out in the film then in the books. I can go on and on.

Purist will complain about all the changes that were made from the book to the movie. We all have our opinions and expectations, but I personally do not hold to the idea that Jackson, Walsh and Boyens have gone too far. One thing that must be remembered overall is that this is just one interpretation of a 75-year-old story. Do I think it is a great interpretation? Absolutely! Can I see how others may not see it that way? Of course, but this is what we are given like it or not.. and I for one love it!! I give The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug a solid A

Afterwards there was a Q&A with some of the cast and crew. I was just as excited to be there for the Q&A as I was for seeing the film. Guests of the Q&A were Filmmaker Peter Jackson, Production Designer Dan Hennah, Senior Visual Effects Supervisor Joe Letteri, Singer-Songwriter Ed Sheeren and Actor Benedict Cumberbatch.

Yes... Peter Jackson was sitting just feet from me, he is just an amazing director and creator of all things Middle Earth. I could have sat there for hours and listen to him talk about the filming process. The Q&A was quick with each person getting one or two questions and then taking a few questions from the audience. One thing I learned from the Q&A is that Cumberbatch has a foul mouth on him, he was hilarious at times. It was great hearing little tidbits about the production design and visual effects. Also Ed Sheeren wrote and sang the main theme song to the movie "I See Fire". He talked about how he wrote that song within just a few hours. 

This was the perfect way to end a perfect night. I got to see one of my most anticipated movies of the year and also see up close the man himself Peter Jackson. Thanks Doug for letting me be apart of this amazing experience.

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