To the Hobbit (Two)

Scene from Desolation of Smaug

More than a month after it was released, today I went with Ruben, his sister Elke and his dad to watch The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug at Macquarie Centre. Having mistaken the session times, we ended up there for a few more hours than intended, but in that time I had my second meal at a Mad Mex and we explored a JB Hi-Fi leisurely before returning to the cinema for the movie.

Being a 3D movie, naturally I complained about the glasses. As an aside, those designing 3D glasses must never had considered people who wear glasses in the first place as wearing a pair of glasses over an existing pair is not only uncomfortable but exceedingly silly. Ruben commented that there are probably optometrists out there willing to create prescription 3D glasses for people with too much money, and I don’t doubt that. The way I see it the ideal solution in this case for those with glasses already would be clip-ons to place the 3D effect lenses onto existing glasses. I managed to achieve this effect to some degree through attaching the 3D glasses to my prescription glasses with bobbypins.

Short people, like me

But I digress, because this is a post about The Hobbit right? Although we had our doubts about the movie because of how the one book was spread over three films when the original Lord of the Rings trilogy was one movie to one book, this movie was extremely enjoyable although the pace was noticeably a little slower. There were hilarious scenes and I uphold the spoiler-free zone, so all I can say is that there was additionally a lot of people relying on complete strangers, running and escaping and predictable moments where you flail at the screen.

It’s been long enough that I don’t recall much of the book which I read years ago, so on my part there is no frustration for what is or is not missing from the final film. I have realised since that it doesn’t always matter how close to the source material the film is, even if some viewers have this comparative attitude constantly on their minds.

The reason for this change in attitude I attribute to a mangaka which I greatly respect who has said that he thinks of adaptions of his work as ‘children’, with the original work as the parent. These children don’t have to be the same as the parent and are free to change and grow, as long as the story keeps its integrity and remains enjoyable to everyone who watches it.

In this sense, no matter what is missing from the film itself I think it was well done as others laughed out aloud, gasped aloud in horror or waited in suspense to see who would come to the rescue. It was a good experience and without the 3D glasses falling on my nose all the time, I occasionally shifted to try to see a scene better before I remembered again that I was watching a film — I couldn’t just move to see what was behind a character. Maybe this could be possible some day though.

Taller people, unlike me

Of course there were additions to this film, most notably Tauriel who was widely publicised in film posters so I don’t consider her to be any sort of spoiler. It was nice to see a girl thrown into the mix as Lord of the Rings and its prequel have been described as a ‘sausage fest’, but at least Lord of the Rings had at least three notable females who were strong, with individuality. At least for the female viewers there is some eye-candy in the form of the usual unusually attractive dwarves.

It was also a nice novelty to see the savagery of elves, they are not always the gentle floaty characters they can seem to be, but agile, lethal and lithe hunters, stronger than their frames and appearances suggest. Are they like vampires? I hope not.

Let’s see how the next film will wrap things up — although you could simply read the book itself to find out how it concludes (even if one has forgotten as I have), I’m choosing to keep myself in suspense so it will be that much more enjoyable. I am hoping to see more of Tauriel as we didn’t see her in action as much as I expected in this film. Not nearly enough of Legolas either as the film posters seemed to suggest. Perhaps I was only really looking for the posters with elves though.