Smaug

So I saw the second Hobbit movie yesterday.  It added or changed quite a lot, and actually ended at a earlier point in the book than I had been expecting.  It’d been a while since I read the book, so I found myself keeping comparing it with the old Rankin-Bass animated adaption.  One thing I think they very definitely got right(which should be no surprise because Del Toro) was Smaug.

The reactions and expressiveness were pretty much perfect.  His movements looked fairly natural throughout the whole set of scenes with him.  When he talked, it looked like legit talking.    There’s more I can I mention, but spoilers(highlight to view):

I didn’t really care for that whole extended fight scene between the dwarves and Smaug.  I did like it looked like an actual dwarven hall instead of the cave of Rankin-Bass, but it felt like they wrote themselves into a corner by trying to emphasize that this was the One Ring.  In the original(and in Rankin-Bass) Smaug knows Bilbo is there somewhere but can’t see him.  He doesn’t make allusions to Bilbo having The Ring, and that was a huge part of why he went to attack Laketown.  He’s never smelled hobbit, and never sees Bilbo, so after the complimenting(and he was definitely just as much of an egomaniac) and the riddles made him think Lakemen.  In this version, that almost seems like an afterthought, after the long tussle through the dwarf halls.  The dwarves are still right there, but he leaves anyways to go after Laketown.

We also missed out on the “My tail: an earthquake!  My breath: death!” line from the riddles/egostroking. :<

If they’d kept it close to the original, I’d have expected the end of the movie to feature Smaug attacking Laketown, getting shot down, and then the cliffhanger would have been the forces on all sides marshalling for the Battle of the Five Armies.  It was originally two movies though, so when they decided to extend it to three they had to do it somewhere, I guess, and it got us more Smaug, so there were upsides.

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One other non-spoiler thing though I did not like was how they emphasized The Ring in a few specific scenes.  In the original, there was only a couple hints at it until the end, but it was very much its own story.  Here, it felt like they felt they had to epic it up and push the connection, though it really didn’t need pushing.

Overall, it was still a pretty good movie though, taken on its own.

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