That is my reaction to having seen The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug yesterday. What a sadly disappointing experience, and how unfortunate that the same person who directed LOTR with (on balance) such good judgement, restraint, and cinematic finesse should now have produced this behemoth of bloated excess.
I was able to forgive many of the unnecessary “extras” in the first Hobbit film, given that there seemed to be some basis in the Tolkien canon for them (e.g. Thror’s fall at Moria -> Thorin’s vendetta). But in the second film, they become so egregious, and the departures from the book so manifold, that about 2/3 of the way through I was forced to admit to myself that I was just waiting for the massive crash-bang CGI ordeal to grind to a long-awaited halt.
For more on this topic, here’s a review that hits all the right nails on the head:
And it’s not simply a matter of “Oh, of course the purists didn’t like it.” Certainly, the purists (myself included) didn’t like it, because when you throw the source material out the window with such flagrant abandon, it becomes a kind of indefensible audacity to claim to have any relationship with the original (not to mention that one feels cheated of what could and should have been a well-thought-out, verbally and visually satisfying adaptation of, well, how about Tolkien’s The Hobbit, for example?). But on top of that, this is simply bad cinema, where character arc and plot cohesion have been shamelessly bartered away in exchange for a relentless freight train carrying uncounted tonnage of CGI bombardment, and a video-game ethos that seems pitched exclusively to teenage boys. Better titles for this gratuitous instalment of the McHobbit franchise might have been The Defiler, A Dwelvish Romance, or 101 Ways to Impale an Orc in 3D.
Having said all that, in spite of the appearance of some lovely costumes amidst the non-stop orc wreckage in Desolation, I am officially transforming this to “LOTR Week” on Cinemattire, in tribute to a worthier Tolkien-inspired film series, and one that displayed the merits of sticking to the source material…. (because surprise! there’s actually a reason Tolkien is famous!).
Here is my choice for Moment-in-the-Sun-Day costume from LOTR – Arwen’s green coronation gown:
And a close-up on the exquisite head-piece:
P.S. And if you’d like to wear your own elvish circlet – because honestly, who wouldn’t? – here are a couple of sources: