Friday, December 13, 2013

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)


 The mountain smoked beneath the moon.
The dwarves, they heard the tramp of doom.
They fled the hall to dying fall
Beneath his feet, beneath the moon.

- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

I spent the last year waiting for December 13th. It sounds absurd, but not a week went by that my thoughts did not turn towards Middle Earth and the journey of a hobbit and thirteen dwarves to reclaim a treasure and homeland. Sometimes, anticipation results in failure. I remember my excitement over the 2002 film Hidalgo and my total disappointment in it after seeing it in theaters.


But, as a certain King would say, "Today is not this day." I don't care how much Peter Jackson adds to The Hobbit. I don't care if he invented a She-elf named Tauriel and a white orc named Azog. I don't care that the last 45 minutes of this 2nd movie has no basis in Tolkien's story. I don't care because Peter Jackson has done it again. All it takes is the music at the beginning, the Wingnut Films lettering on the screen, and I am transported to Middle Earth.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is stupendous. The entire audience held their breath through the last half-hour. We didn't want the chapter to end, not there, not in the agonizing uncertainty of these character's fates. The screen fell black after Bilbo utters, "What have we done." And it is black for at least two seconds. So much time is built into two seconds of blackness on a theater screen. And then the end credits rolled, and the music played, and the roaring exhalation of hundreds of held breaths sounded, followed by rounds of excited chatter.

Because now we have another year to wait, another year of trembling anticipation, of waking up a day closer to December 17th, 2014.

I have lived this exhilaration before. In 2001, between Christmas and New Years, a seventeen-year-old girl went with her father to the theater to see her first PG13 movie (I was homeschooled, okay, get over it). It was like my mind blossomed, and for the first time I understood the glorious lightness of heart that only comes from falling in love. Is it possible to fall in love with a movie franchise? Yes, it is. I know because I have done it not once, but twice now. And even more so now than before because my first experience with Tolkien's work did not start that chilly December day that I sat nervously in the theater with my father.

No, my love began three years earlier, in 1998 when I was fourteen. While browsing through library shelves, desperate for something new to read, I stumbled upon a book. On a whim I took it home, and once I picked it up to read it, I could not put it down again until I had finished it, cover to cover. That book was, as you already guessed, The Hobbit. My love was born that day in 1998, and as much as The Lord of the Rings is precious to me (pun intended), it feels as though Peter Jackson has touched upon that pure love I have held since I was fourteen-years-old. It is the love for a hobbit known as Bilbo Baggins. I have loved Bilbo for over half my life, and will continue to love him until my dying breath. And now, oh now, he is breathed to living, glorious life by Martin Freeman, a man I shall hold equally as dear until the Lord takes me from this earth. He is Bilbo for me now, there will never be another.

Every moment I sat in that dim movie theater tonight was a moment of pure delight. Those of you who love The Hobbit do so for your own reasons, and perhaps you can voice them better than I have tonight. But the poor words I have written down are as near to covering my feelings for this franchise as humanly possible. At this moment I cannot give you specific moments of pure adoration because I love The Desolation of Smaug in its entirety. One moment leads to another which then leads to another until that pure delight of each moment whips them together in a perfect froth of happiness. Peter Jackson has triumphed. Martin Freeman has triumphed. And J. R. R. Tolkien? Well, he has triumphed without my ever needing to say a word.

Once I have time to divide my thoughts, I promise you more posts on individuals and specific moments without the effervescent bubbling (naaaaaaah). But I will post more. I think Thranduil and Thorin on greed is an especially noteworthy topic to discuss.

So, did you see it? What did you think? Isn't it AWESOME!?

14 comments:

  1. Loved reading your thoughts!! My family and I saw it today - it was absolutely amazing. Smaug was the biggest highlight for me, out of many highlights. I also loved watching Bilbo and Thorin's personalities change, even if for the worse, just because it's part of the overarching themes... So much greatness in just one film.

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    1. Peter Jackson certainly did Smaug right, that's for sure! I think I will dedicate a post to the alteration of Thorin's and Bilbo's personalities. What I love about Bilbo is that he knows he's changing, like when he killed the spider to retrieve the Ring. That violence is not his normal behavior pattern and he knows it, and it scares him. Oh my gosh, there are just so many incredible things to discuss and ponder in this movie!

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  2. I think in some regards, my love for LotR is what spurs my affection for this trilogy -- in a sense, I'm aware that it's not nearly as good as the LotR series, but it's the LotR tie-ins that delight me the most, as well as the chance to explore untouched areas of Middle-earth. I almost live for them, in between the film's heart-beats, watching, expecting, waiting for references to familiar things -- Weathertop, Rivendell, a picture of Gimli, the foreshadowing building around the One Ring reveal. LotR will always rule my heart, but The Hobbit will forever be a memorable experience.

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    1. One of the things I loved most, and didn't really expect to love, was having Legolas in a main role. We got to know him in this film, did you notice? We saw glimpses of his heart that we never really saw in The Lord of the Rings because there were so many characters in the trilogy that required attention. It's neat, rediscovering a character I never cared much for in the beginning and finding that I like him, a great deal.

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    2. I love Legolas. I always liked him but he's a true badass in this film -- he kind of stole the movie right out from under everyone else.

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  3. Nice review Carissa. A tad better than the first, but still feels like there's plenty more room left for improvement. Especially in the running-time.

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    1. Hi, Dan, that's certainly your right to wish the films were shorter. If Peter Jackson had done just the book, it would only be 1 film, but he expounded upon it with additional information from the appendices. In essence, Peter Jackson filmed The Hobbit the way Tolkien would have written it, had he written it after he had fully formed Middle Earth through The Lord of the Rings. Thanks for compliment on my review, even though it's not quite a review and more my emotions speaking.

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  4. What a great post! Your enthusiasm for this movie just shines right through my screen! I haven't seen the movie yet (probably next week), but I'm sure I'm going to enjoy it as much as you did!

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    1. I do hope you enjoy it as much as I do! Have you seen it already? The going concern is that PJ could have made only 2 movies, and that is very true. They are long, but I don't mind the length because I just live in Middle Earth. ;)

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  5. Enjoyed your post about Desolation of Smaug! I watched it with my siblings and we loved it, even more then the first Hobbit movie. So much great stuff in that movie - loved seeing Legolas being boss, and Gandalf and Bilbo and Thorin and everybody, lol. Can you believe there's only one more movie left? My how time flies.

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    1. I think I love the 1st movie a little more because it has Elrond in it and we get to see Hobbiton. I''m a Hobbit girl so having the beginning scenes at home are awesome for me. But, the 2nd movie is astounding in its own right, and in some ways, with the addition of Thranduil, Legolas, and Tauriel, it is better than the 1st film. Oh, it's so hard to decide which I love more! Maybe I should view them all as one long movie! :D

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  6. Your second paragraph? That's so me! I finally got to see this today, and oh, I just love returning to Middle Earth on the big screen. Even though I don't love these as much as the LOTR trilogy, I still enjoy them a lot, and I liked this one way better than AUJ! Except for the spiders.

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    1. Except for the spiders. Tell me about it! Those things scare me every time!

      I've seen Desolation three times now and my feelings vary with each viewing. Isn't that weird!? Now I've had time to mull a few things over, and I've decided that Tauriel is totally unnecessary. But I'll write a review on the reasons why I think that, and how it would be impossible for her to heal Kili fully with Athelas. My favorite moments are the ones almost straight out of the book, when we're with Bilbo and the dwarves in Mirkwood or in the Lonely Mountain.

      Regardless, returning to Middle Earth is heaven. I love it so much!

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    2. Some movies are like that, changing with your mood and so on. I quite liked Tauriel, and my favorite scene might be her little exchange with Kili regarding his rune stone, etc. I'm going to reread The Hobbit soon just so I can discuss the movie better because I've only read it 2-3 times, and the last time I read it was 6 years ago.

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