So the shiny new trailer for The Hobbit 2: The Desolation of Smaug hit the interwebs last week. Have you seen it yet? If not, here, I’ll wait:
Pretty nifty, huh? The three movies of Lord of the Rings in their extended director’s cuts on DVD, taken all together as one, are my absolute favorite movie of all time. I watch them over and over; I watch the making of documentaries over and over; I love every little detail about them, even the stuff I don’t like. (Admit it; you know what I mean.) So I was really bummed out by the first installment of The Hobbit when it came out last year. It was beautiful; the effects were amazing; it was perfectly cast; Martin Freeman is all that is light and light and lovely as Bilbo Baggins . . . but damn it all to hell, it was boring. By the time the trolls showed up, I was sneaking peeks at my neighbor’s watch, trying to guess how many more minutes of dwarven whimsy must be endured before Gollum would finally show up. I love the story of The Hobbit. I’ve read the book half a dozen times. One of my first experiences as an actress was in a children’s theater adaptation where I played no less than three parts – a troll, a hobbit, and one of Smaug’s legs. But compared to the epic narrative of LOTR, this tale of a reluctant burglar and the dwarves who grow to love him is pretty simple stuff, even if you make the lead dwarf all angsty and hunkerrific. Stretching it into three movies is a stretch indeed, no matter how fast and loose you’re willing to play with The Silmarillion to dig up some extra plot.
So now there’s this trailer for Chapter 2. And again, it’s gorgeous, and it does look a lot more exciting than the first one. Except . . . the stuff that looks exciting doesn’t look much like The Hobbit. For example . . .
It looks like they’ve given Legolas some kind of romance. Do what? Don’t get me wrong; I loved the romantic elements of LOTR; I thought they added hugely to the overall experience of the story. But those elements were all at least suggested by Tolkien’s original text. I also really like Orlando Bloom as an actor and as an object for lustful perusal (though more below on how he looks in this). But is Legolas even in The Hobbit? I can totally deal even if he isn’t; they do go to Mirkwood where he’s from; it makes sense that he would be there. But a elven sweetheart? Seriously? The only relationships I remember Legolas having in Tolkien’s original writings were his big brotherly love for Aragorn and his fun bromance with Gimli the dwarf. He’s just not that kind of character. Again, nothing wrong with expanding on the character, I suppose, but if I’m interpreting the tiny snippet from the trailer correctly (which, it must be said, is hardly assured), it looks like they’ve put in an angsty love connection just to bring in the ladies. And this lady isn’t convinced. (The fact that they’ve chosen human-shaped tank top hanger Evangeline Lilly, one of my least favorite actresses ever, to play the Elf Chick doesn’t help.)
And speaking of the elves . . . I hate their digitally enhanced shiny skin glowing with inner light. It looks like they were going for Renaissance angel and hit Tinkerbell in Return to Toys R Us Mountain instead. I get that the actors who play elves are a wee tad older now than they were when they made LOTR, and maybe that needs to be addressed. But they’ve gone waaaaay too far.
Casting Benedict Cumberbatch as the voice of the dragon was brilliance; he’ll be awesome. (But oh, the bestial fan fiction the world will be forced to endure – Run, Bilbo, run!)
If we make it into the dragon’s lair in this movie . . . . what the heck happens in Chapter 3?
Why is Gandalf already so fussed about The Ring? It’s been a while since I read it, but does Bilbo ever even tell Gandalf about finding The Ring in the The Hobbit? He might; I just don’t remember. But I do know that Gandalf doesn’t start making big, scary connections to Sauron until The Fellowship of the Ring. I wondered about this when we had the addition of the scary spiders and poisonous forest and shadow in the ruins and blah di blah blah blah in Chapter 1. They’re trying so hard to give this story the same weight and import as LOTR, but it just doesn’t work; it’s not that kind of story.
I will definitely see this; I will enjoy going back into this world. But I’m afraid that just like with Chapter 1, I won’t feel satisfied. I came out of every single installment of LOTR ready to buy another ticket and walk back in. I just don’t see that happening with any installment of The Hobbit.
8 thoughts on “Random Thoughts on the new Desolation of Smaug Trailer”
I’m right there with ya, save that I don’t mind about Tauriel as much as I am perplexed at the elves being focused on so much and apparently not locking up the dwarves on sight.
(Oh, and Bilbo does tell Gandalf (and the dwarves) about the ring in the book. Gandalf is a little perplexed about it, but not yet worried).
It isn’t very recognizable as The Hobbit. If they had gotten the feel/tone right, I would be much more cheerful about most of the changes, but even that is off. It’s too epic and not enough Hobbit on an Adventure.
Absolutely agreed on all points – and thanks much for clarifying when Gandalf knew about The Ring. But you nailed it; the overall problem is that the tone is just off.
I have to agree about the Legolas element. He is, in fact, in The Hobbit. For like half a page. I think it describes him. Evangeline Lilly’s character is completely a Peter Jackson creation. I don’t know why we feel we must have a love interest. I guess to push Legolas into the story and balance out all the testosterone. Personally, if they could find a way to cut the dwarves out completely, it wouldn’t hurt my feelings. I’ve never liked dwarves. And I don’t particularly like the character of whatshisname– oh god.. what is his name… the guy Richard Armitage plays. Anyway, that dude. If I were writing the script, they’d just decide to feed him to Smaug and get it over with. He deserves it. The dwarves kind of got what they had coming to them. They were greedy and so something greedier came in and took over. Moral of the story: Don’t meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup.
That being said– the whole movie is worth it just for Benedict Cumberbatch’s voice and slithering. In the words of David Letterman– no offense to the rest of the cast, but they really don’t need much more. I’ll see it a billion times just for that. AND— subject Ellora’s Cave’s readers at large to the thinly veiled fanfiction I’ll be writing. Of course, SHIFTING will be the order of the day. No dino-porn for me :-). In short, me and my VAT of godiva dark chocolate will be there with bells on. I’ve already claimed Dec. 13th on the calendar at work as my day off….
I think all of us in the Charlotte/Rock Hill/Po Dunk area should plan a mass exodus on opening day. As for your dragon fantasies, I look forward to them with great anticipation – and I’m sure the rest of your EC readership does, too. Nothing satisfies like a Lexx inspired. 😉
Ach, I can’t see the Dwarves disparaged without putting in my two-cents. >_< http://jubilare.wordpress.com/tag/khazad/
I do not like Thorin, but Tolkien's Dwarves consistently get a bad rap that I think is unjustified. One of the things I like about these films is a slightly more thoughtful look at the Dwarves, rather than the utter hack-job with Gimli in the LotR movies.
I know it is long, but if you are curious about the failings of hollywood-dwarves-syndrome, read my series of posts.
Or, if you want the gist in one post, this is probably the best one: http://jubilare.wordpress.com/2012/12/04/khazad-part-ii/
LOL Nothing but love for the dwarves around here, I promise – and kittens, do read jubilare’s posts; her entire blog is excellent. I will say, though, I kinda liked the way they handled the Gimli character in LOTR and the way they portrayed dwarven culture.
I might’ve liked Gimli in the films more if I didn’t have an axe to grind ;P