ByJoshua Young, writer at
Joshua Young

Before I get into my little review or tantrum here, I want to start off by clearing up something; I totally understand that movies differentiate from books and that a screenwriter has more restrictions and guidelines to construct a story for a movie, whereas an author has as many pages he or she wants to tell their story. With that being said, it is also evident that if a book to be adapted into a screenplay, some major changes are to be made in order for the story to flow at a more rapid pace and in a manner that satisfies the audience for an hour and half or two. However, as taken upon the creative liberties as a filmmaker, at what point is there to draw a line when starting to stray maybe a little too far from the book?

As a fan of Tolkien's sophisticated fantasy world and of course reader of The Hobbit, I personally wasn't too impressed with Peter Jackson's second adaptation, The Desolation of Smaug. Partially, it may have been the excessive action and overkill of CGI and special effects (which don't get me wrong, look stunning) but much like a lot of movies that come out today, its getting almost out of hand to the point of no boundaries. It sort of becomes less practical and far fetched from physics and reality. Granted this is a fantasy genre, I don't believe this is what Tolkien might have ever imagined. And by that I mean, the elves of Mirkwood leaping through the air while shooting down an orc with a bow and arrow. Or Bilbo falling from tall heights that would seemingly severely injure any ordinary person. Just because this is a magical world it does not mean the characters are invincible in it. At least not in Tolkien's Middle-Earth... or so I gathered while reading the book.

Bilbo falling through spider webs down a tree.
Bilbo falling through spider webs down a tree.

And yes, I am aware that a director's stylistic vision alters from the original book to make it his or her own and give something to people that's new, but I found in The Desolation of Smaug that perhaps he ignored the book and changed it around too much. Almost to where it was hard to watch. I didn't get that same feeling I always get when watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy (no matter how many times I've seen them). I'm more or less just not a huge fan of his decisions in this movie. For instance: the last 30 to 40 minutes were spent under the mountain luring and fighting Smaug until he finally decides to "visit" Lake Town right before it abruptly ends.

I was expecting to see Smaug slayed by Bard! Although, that wouldn't have bothered me too bad, if they hadn't rushed through the scenes at Beorn's house and when the dwarves were held captive in Mirkwood. I would have loved to see more of that! But instead, the story takes a swift turn when Bilbo failed to recover the Arkenstone.

The Hobbit
The Hobbit

Now, despite my review and opinions on this movie, I did enjoy it and I think that a true fan would as well. It is safe to say that instead of a movie based off the book, it is a movie that expands on the book. Elaborating on what was both there and not there, and maybe embellishing it a little too much to my personal liking, but overall a fun, adventurous journey that Peter has taken us through and leading up to the next chapter, There and Back Again.


What did you guys think of The Desolation of Smaug?


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