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NEWBIES: If this is your first trip here (welcome!), here’s the QT on what these reviews are.
THIS WEEK: The year-long-anticipated third and final (maybe) installment of Peter Jackson’s famous adaptation of the famous J.R. Tolkien novel, where the Middle Earth crap hits the five-army fan.
Bilbo Baggins (AKA Dr. John Watson, AKA Martin Freeman) and his dwarf buddies with similar-sounding names barricade themselves inside a castle while Orcs, Elves and others beat the tar out of one another trying to get to the treasures within. Oh yeah, and Smaug (AKA Sherlock Holmes, AKA Benedict Cumberbatch) continues his antics from the last movie.
Written by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, & Guillermo del Toro (NOTE: Hellboy is not in this movie, unfortunately). Directed by Peter Jackson.
- All the grand scale of visuals, cinematography, costumes, sound design and sprawling, spectacular locations of the last two films are here in full force. Especially cool were the castle, the landscapes and the masses of massive armies.
- Special effects are also top-notch as you’d expect. Although there were a few scenes that looked fake in comparison to others (mostly when guys on creatures had to scale, climb or race over stuff). Expect Oscar nominations in several technical categories.
- Battles, battles, battles! If you like swordplay, bow-and-arrow play, mace-play, stick-play or just about any kind of weapon-play, you’ll overload on this.
- Good acting from all concerned. Freeman was his usual understated self (and charmingly so). Highlights include: Christopher Lee (Count Doku/Dracula) back to kick some spirit ass with his martial arts staff skills and wizardry; Thorin(Richard Armitage)’s gradual descent into nuttiness; Luke Evans kicking butt everywhere and doing some enviable Green Arrow-type magic (along with similar bow skillz from Tauriel and Legolas).
- Doctor Who fans will get a treat with the Seventh Doctor and his flying steeds.
- The stunts are fantastic. Some are even intentionally funny. I know some people were turned off by the absurdity of some stunts in the last film(s) but overall these are more cool than silly. Granted, you’ll have to suspend a bucket of disbelief, but it’s worth it for the fun.
- “Cousin” Billy Connolly? You won’t recognize him but you’ll know that voice. He should get his own flick!
- If you watch the previous film (or both) within a short time of seeing this, you’ll enjoy it more and have a much better sense of who’s who, what’s what and why’s why. Even if you can read the full synopses on imdb.com or elsewhere, you’ll be in better shape.
- Loved the giant Orcs! Bizarre, creepy, funny, scary, horrible and huge. (But surprisingly easy to take down.)
- Guys: Tauriel is still the hottest elf around. (If only there were a shower scene!) Gals: Kili is still the hottest dwarf around–or make that the only hot dwarf (sorry, he never takes his shirt off).
- Best of all, an ending that was really an ending! Obviously if you saw LORD OF THE RINGS you know there’s more, but this one thankfully closes the door on this story rather than leave us hanging for something possibly more. (Although the studio could always find an excuse to do an “in-between” trilogy I’m sure. You read it hear first!)
- Definitely not a chick flick (that’s actually a PRO!)–I wouldn’t take a date unless she’s a Frodo fan or hobbit honey.
- So if Gandalf was a wizard, why is he fighting with a stick the whole time? If it’s ‘cause he’s “too weak to wiz,” why is he fighting with a stick the whole time like a martial artist?
- Someone needs to tell the dwarves—and the writers–about physics. Just because some chainmail is “unable to be pierced by any blade” doesn’t mean it will save you from being wounded or killed with a sword. Don’t believe me? Try wrapping a cloth around a banana and then stabbing it with a metal butter knife. The cloth won’t tear, but how does the banana look??
- So where the hell did Saruman and Elrond go? They were having some cool battle with some dark spirit dude (Sauron? Sounds a lot like Saruman) and then we never saw or heard about them again.
[regardless where the characters went, let’s stop and enjoy a little more of the legend that is Christopher Lee. – Craig]
- I did not get to read the synopses of both previous films, so I was only going on one-year-old and two-year-old memories. And after seeing a gazillion other movies within that time, I’d forgotten a lot. This flick picks up right where the last left off so I was lost for like an hour. A lot of situations, names, faces and relationships were fuzzy at best.
- Okay, if you could put on a ring and make yourself invisible, wouldn’t you put it on before a battle and kick as much ass as you could? Yeah, me too.
- The love affair between the dwarf dude and elf chick never really gets going full-swing (hell, they don’t even get to second base!), so there wasn’t a lot of invested emotion there. Could have done more.
- Peter Jackson had already said in an interview that some characters would die. Problem is, they weren’t the ones I either wanted to croak, or those I couldn’t care less about. Granted, some of the characters I didn’t like show up in LORD OF THE RINGS, so there wasn’t much choice there. But they could have at least had the crap knocked out of them a little.
I didn’t see it in 3D or IMAX, so I can’t vouch for either but I bet they both looked great. (Unfortunately I don’t think you can see it in IMAX without 3D, so the cost is probably close to three normal matinee tix.) Assuming you’ve seen the other two in the theater, you might as well blow another ten bucks or whatever and see this one too. Easily as good or better than THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG. If you just saw the other two on video recently, then go ahead and treat yourself to the climax on the big screen for the hell of it. But if yer a casual fan and super cheap, wait till video.
Meanwhile, Merry Christmas to you and yours from me and mine. If you don’t celebrate Christmas, may you still find an excuse to buy a bunch of crap for people you should and eat loads of food you shouldn’t. And get presents!
P.S.: The end of the year (if not world) is coming next week, baby! LAST CHANCE to get a quick commission before 2014 hits the road! Just ask Craig here!