All original written content is (c) 2013 Mike Pascale. Visual content is (c) its respective owners. Bru-Hed is a trademark of All Ages Media and Mike Pascale.
THIS WEEK: The second, eagerly awaited installment of THE HUNGER—err, I mean THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG. (For those keeping track, someone actually says the title in the film). For all you book-lovers, I never read the books so I just look at these as movies. Cause that’s what they are, got it? [From Mike: I had to read THE HOBBIT in 8th grade and it was the literary equivalent of walking through peanut butter.]
- Like the first one (I think all three parts were shot at the same time in the same locations), the scenery, landscapes, sets, makeup, CGI, special effects and photography are freakin’ awesome. As in real take-your-breath-away or “how-the-hell-did-they-do-that?” kinda stuff. From little things like making Gandalf (played by X-MEN’s Magneto, Ian McKellen) tower over normal-sized actors as dwarves, to the ginormous dragon and everything else.
- Speaking of the dragon, Smaug should get the Oscar for coolest movie dragon. At least for the voice and attitude. (Even better than Sean Connery in DRAGONHEART.) Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbun—err, batch) does a great job, especially with the super-effects.
- Bilbo (Sherlock’s Watson, Martin Freeman) does his usual great job of giving an “average Joe” view of the events along with some comedic expressions and moments. Only wish there were more of the latter.
- The first female elf warrior, Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly) was both a bad-ass and a hottie. No nudity or leather or even skin-tight outfits like every other kick-butt broad in movies…but I’d definitely let those pointy ears into my Bru-bed!
- The river-barrel chase/battle is probably one of the most inventive, wild and fun scenes in decades. Physically impossible, sure, and the fake parts are obvious sometimes, but it’s such a blast you won’t mind.
- Peter Jackson does his Hitchcock cameo within the first ten seconds or so (straight on to camera), so keep a keen eye out for him—don’t look at your popcorn or you’ll miss it.
- Orcs are really nasty. Don’t f*** with ’em.
- The dragon battle was exciting to watch, even if I didn’t have a clue what they were trying to do until it was done!
- For you Doctor Who fans, Sylvester McCoy (the 7th Doctor) makes a return appearance as the wizard with the bird poop on his hair, .
- I was actually able to follow the plot of this one pretty well, better than the first. But I also took the time to read the synopsis at imdb.com right before seeing it. I recommend you do the same if you don’t have time to watch AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY again (which Pascale reviewed when it came out last Christmas).
- Didn’t wanna pay an extra five or six bucks to see it in 3D DFX or 12-15 bucks extra fer IMAX 3D, so no idea how those looked. But if you’re really into that, this is probably a good movie to spring for it since it was actually shot in 3D.
- Like the first chapter, some of the middle could have been cut without any problem.
- It took no less than four people to write the script…from a book written by ONE guy!
- The dragon has a super-keen sense of smell, except for one scene where it’s apparently (and conveniently) absent.
- Peter Jackson has a thing for giant bugs and spiders. The first were in his KING KONG remake, and the second were here. No idea if they’re in the book, but they were pretty icky. But cool in a 50s B-movie kinda way. And they talk!
- Did I mention we don’t get to see Tauriel naked? Just checking.
- Still sketchy on Gandalf’s powers and that of his magic pole (sorry, “staff”). Obviously there have to be limitations and things he can’t do, but we never know so the writers can just suit it to fit the plot. Kinda lame.
- I’m gettin’ a bit bored/annoyed by the whole “super archer” thing by now. Both Legolas (Orlando Bloom) and Tauriel do the same bit as Katniss from HUNGER GAMES, Hawkeye from THE AVENGERS and Green Arrow from ARROW. Seriously, how many times do we have to see these bottomless, logic-defying quivers? (Not only does no one run out of arrows, they can whip ’em out in a split-second after doing flips and somersaults without anything falling out!) Granted, Legolas did his archery bit several years ago in LORD OF THE RINGS, Hawkeye did his in comics in the early 60s, and Green Arrow has been at it the longest, since the late 40s (according to comic geek Pascale). So Katniss is the latecomer, but do ALL of them have to be in movies and TV at the same time?
- As with pretty much ALL the Tolkien flicks, the ending sucked. The filmmakers seem to think they’re making old serial chapters rather than nearly three hour epics, as all end in cliffhangers. Big set-up for major disaster, then “bye-bye”! No spoilers here, but I want to warn you not to expect a semi-conclusion, then a sneak tease like the first one. This “ends” just as things heat up.
- No button at the end either. But it’s pretty freakin’ amazing how many people it took to make this thing look so good!
If you’re a Tolkien/LOTR fan, OWN IT. You know there will be 50 hours of “extras” to make all the fantasy geeks wet their leggings while feeding their HOBBIT habit. For everyone else, SEE IT. No way will your puny TV come close, unless you have like a 120-inch set.
Enjoy the desolation, dragons, dwarfs and dwarves!
P.S.: Still time to get in ONE last commission before Christmas from that Pascale artist guy! He can draw you or your pal or family member as any character of the movie (or any comic book). He’s done it before lots of times, always with satisfied customers. Just ask Craig here!
DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of Wednesday’s Heroes or Mike Pascale or those of Upper, Lower or Middle Earth. If you’re a sexy lady over 18 with pointy ears, Bru needs to see your swimsuit photos. Privacy assured. No dudes, please.