Director: Peter Jackson“I am fire… I am death.”
Smaug, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
So this is just a chance for me to talk a little bit more about some of the things that would have been too much of a spoiler in my main review. Honestly, these are the things I would rather hear what some other people thought!
One of the biggest things for me was all the changes to the story that Peter Jackson did. Just a quick list of the ones that really stuck out to me were: the dwarves separating before the last push to Erebor, fighting Smaug, the layout of Laketown, and the absence of Biblo’s leadership in Mirkwood. Now I will admit, that while I have read The Hobbit several times, I saw the old 1977 Rankin and Bass movie a lot while growing up, so that is the version I know best, so if I am wrong about something please correct me!
I know in the first movie I was a little upset about some of the moments where Bilbo takes charge were changed and I was sad to see that continue. I guess it makes sense with Jackson has portrayed Thorin, but those moments were some of my favorites in the book as they showed how much Bilbo had changed/grown up since leaving the Shire. Although there are several moments in this movie that show that Thorin trusts Bilbo, but already they are setting the stage for the betrayals in the final movie (which I think will be hard for me to watch).
I found Laketown much darker and more somber than I expected. I realize that this fits the aesthetics of the movies, but I miss the slightly happier picture I had in my head. Honestly, at this point, besides Bard and his family, I am ok for Smaug to burn the village.
The splitting up of the dwarves, with four staying behind in Laketown, felt weird to me. I am not sure if I like it or not yet. From my memory, the dwarves were happy with their gold and let Laketown and other places burn and deal with Smaug, but now they are going to have a reason to care. So I am curious to see how this all plays out. Also it was a set up for the supposed love triangle, which I will talk about at the end of this hidden content. However, in my mind the dwarves are not to be separated until some die in the Battle of Five Armies, it is like watching the Fellowship of the Ring break up several acts early!
Since I was young, I always wondered why the dwarves, who seemed brave before never lifted a finger to help Bilbo in Erebor, so I actually liked that they dwarves fought back against Smaug. I think the idea that they would go to help their friend makes more sense and makes them more human/realistic. Also it allows Smaug to become sufficiently enraged to go start burning villages, which always seemed a bit over dramatic before.
Also I can’t have been the only one who saw the scene with Bilbo and Smaug talking though of Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. Some of the compliments that Bilbo gives to Smaug just remind me so much of the compliments Freeman’s Watson gives to Cumberbatch’s Holmes in the first series of the show. It was so hard for me not to picture Sherlock in his purple scarf saying, “I am death…” as Smaug flew off to Laketown. Usually I can keep actor’s work out of movies that I am watching, but when you get several of the same actors in similar set up it is hard to resist!
Love Triangle Discussion:
Probably the largest thing I feel needs to be discussed is this supposed love triangle with Tauriel. I, as surprising as it sounds, rather liked it. First off, I say supposed because I don’t think Tauriel loves Legolas like he wants her to. Also I am still not sure how she really feels about Kíli, while I know she likes and is intrigues by him, I am not sure it is love, yet. Personally, if the center point of the triangle doesn’t at least give hints of liking one person I can’t really consider it a triangle, as then it is just a relationship and an extra unrequited love (or stalker). Usually, I am not a fan of any love story, but I like this one. Mainly because both Kíli and Tauriel seem to become stronger people because of their feelings, not weaker, which is usually my main complaint in love stories. Instead of holding them back, their feelings are pushing them beyond where they would have fought alone.
The two are also fairly well matched. Tauriel, while an elite fighter and in a seemingly esteemed position, is still looked down upon because she is a lower class elf (Silvan) compared to Thranduil and Legolas. She knows she isn’t really fitting in, and that with no encouragement from her Legolas has grown to like her, which makes her position even worse. Even harder for her, is that she chafes under Thranduil’s orders, she feels like he is allowing the evil that is causing so much harm, and her belief’s make her want to deal with the problem, not ignore it.
Kíli is also a bit odd amongst the dwarves. While he is of the royal bloodline, he is not really in line for the throne like his older brother Fíli is, and as such Thorin seems to be less aware of him. He is one of the youngest on the journey, and is only discovering his true strengths. Yet even by appearance he stands out amongst his kin. He is taller than some of the other dwarves, and without a beard (whether this is a by age or because of being an archer, it is unclear). While other dwarves seem to favor heavy weapons (such as axes, large swords, hammers, and frying pans) he favors archery and daggers, closer to the elves’ weapons. If you have seen one of the deleted scenes from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, he was already shown to be fond of elves (even if he couldn’t tell the men from the women).
Together, they make a rather interesting pair. Tauriel is pale, tall, elegant, with flaming red hair, while Kíli isn’t even as tall as her shoulder rugged, with dark features. But unlike Legolas who just watches and expects Tauriel to reciprocate, Kíli starts talking with Tauriel, and connecting with her. While he may start with some male bravado, he quickly drops it and is just himself, which is what I think Tauriel first likes about him. But the moment I really accepted them was after Tauriel saved Kíli, and he is mumbling that it can’t be her. Even in his semi-consciousness he is spouting poetry, and remembering what she said. I cannot imagine many dwarves coming up with flowery love poetry, let alone while semi-conscious. My favorite was that he did not use terms of beauty that dwarves would use, but ones that Tauriel can understand, and show that he really heard her when they spoke in the dungeon. Unfortunately, I will not get my hopes too high for these two. I know how The Hobbit ends, and I know who dies. However, with the introduction of Tauriel, I do wonder if maybe Kíli will run off after the battle rather than dying, but I guess we will have to wait to see.