A few thoughts on Desolation of Smaug:

I know I’m super late to the party of DoS, but some rough family circumstances kept me out of the theatres over Christmas.  But I finally got around to seeing Hobbit II: Bigger Longer Uncut, and a number of observations were made:

The geography of Jackson’s Middle Earth continues to perplex and frustrate me. There is always a mountain range on the horizon. In every direction, whether they should be visible or not. I mean, yeah, I get that Middle Earth is a Flat Earth, but it looked like they got out of Goblin town and into the valley at most a couple miles south of Ered Mithrim

Beorn might as well have been a deleted scene. While his presence made sense in the book, he feels like a very extraneous part of a movie filled chock full of extraneousness.

Mirkwood felt really… Narrow?

The Silvan Dark Elves were indistinguishable from the rest of Jackson’s elves. Unless Jackson is saying that only Tauriel was a Silvan elf (hence red-head), which I think he does, because I’m pretty sure there was some dialogue suggesting that she was a Silvan elf as opposed to Legolas (and hence Thranduil)*. If Jackson had wanted to pad or elaborate, he’d’ve had a great opportunity here to explore why the elves in the Hobbit were so different from the elves in LoTRs, or at least show that difference. Being dark elves, they would’ve probably been a bit more worldly, more like classic fey, since they’d rejected their gods offer of heavenly paradise on account of it being an insufferably long walk to get there.

Instead of weird ‘different’ elves, we got more orcs to constantly be running from. Action went from over-the-top to cartoon. Like, at this point, the Rankin & Bass Hobbit feels like a much more serious film.

All of the scenes with Smaug were enjoyable, but the rest of movie falls pretty flat.

The obscene death-counts in what are essentially kids movies these days have gone to where they make those 80s ‘omg shocking highest death-counts in film evar’ flicks seem pretty tame.   DoS is a film filled with perpetual and casual violence from beginning to end to the point where you both forget that it’s there in the movie and forget that it’s not there in the books.

*Update: Thranduil and Legolas were Sindar, making them part of the handful of Grey Elves and High Elves who stayed behind during the 3rd age to rule over kingdoms populated by the various Nandor and Avari populations of Dark Elves.  Most of the Elves left in Middle Earth by the Third Age are probably these “Dark Elves” since most of the High Elven Noldor and Grey Elven Teleri prolly died when the entire world west of the Blue Mountains sank.

7 responses to “A few thoughts on Desolation of Smaug:

  1. You’re right, the scenes with Beorn were forgettable and had little to no impact on the story. Right there with you.

    I guess I didn’t notice about the mountains — and I didn’t know about Tolkein’s dark elves apart from the fact that he *had* some and they were somewhere around the place.

    One of my hang-ups in the film was the orcs chasing the dwarves outside. I’d been under the impression from the LotR films that orcs couldn’t stand daylight and that the Urukai were specially bred to move about during the day.

    I didn’t think they turned to stone like trolls, but major discomfort in daylight would be a big deal to an Evil Army(TM). And yet, here they were running along the side of a river as part of a Wacky Skirmish(TM).

    –Dither

    • Orcs could be out during the day, I think, but they weren’t exceptionally good at tracking or hunting or fighting or anything really during the day. I want to say that one of the reasons that Sauron had to manifest his darkness over the Pelenor fields was that otherwise the Orcs would’ve been pretty useless in a fight.

      Also this allowed for Tolkien to include Troll armies without having to retcon out his fairytale trolls that turned to stone in the daylight.

      Anyway, after doing some checking, I’m wrong, Thranduil was a Teleri (Grey elf)*, and the elves of Mirkwood were probably all Teleri, a mix of Sindar(Elves who almost made it to paradise but stopped) and Nandor(Elves who didn’t say no to going to paradise but decided that crossing the Misty Mountains was too much work.

      Galadriel and Elrond are the last of the important Noldor (High Elf/Light Elf). And there appear to be no named Avari (Dark Elves) in Tolkien. So, uh… maybe they’re saying that Tauriel is an Avari and Mirkwood is a mix of Teleri and Avari?

      Tolkien’s elves are too complicated :O

      *Still technically a Dark Elf in Middle Earth.

    • Man, took some digging… yeah, okay, I’m totally wrong, and Peter Jackson was right (god that’s painful to say). Thranduil was Sindarin King ruling over a population of mainly Nandor and Avari.

      • Thanks, I appreciate it. Though a Peter Jackson’s Rumors of War would be quite a spectacle, wouldn’t it?

        There would be like twenty Wells chasing Kratos & co. from the Village to the Smugglers Caves.

      • I imagine Peter Jackson might make the Nemesis Well (yeah, I’m calling it that, lol) into a water slide.

        And fill it with spikes. And animate skeletons. Yay!

        –Dither

      • Nemesis Well. I like it. It has a nice ring to it. Like for a name for a Module or something. Or at least a One Page Dungeon.

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