Review: The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug (IMAX-3D)

IMAX is really big. Too big, if you sit too close. So if you have to sit further back to make the big screen smaller, what's the point?

I preferred the HFR-3D that we watched the first part in, even if it seemed a little "darker" (visually, not story-wise). When you have a gigantic screen at the standard frame rates, fast movement is visually blocky, as in the monster is here - here - here, not flowing from point A to point B. HFR gives you more frames so there are more places for the monster to be in the same period of time, so the movement has to be much faster before it breaks down like that.

I am still not convinced that 3D is anything more than a gimmick. This one made me dizzy with a couple of camera moves though.

And oh yes there was a story.

My biggest complaint: so far there are no stakes for the heroes. Nobody has died yet. I mean in LoTR 1 you had Boromir step up and take one for the team and you got the message, hey this isn't some fairy tale where we're all going to live happily ever after, some of us will not make it out. In The Hobbit there are thirteen dwarves at the start of the journey and there are thirteen dwarves at the end of movie #2 and the most peril they've been in is one of them got sick. I know this is supposed to be a children's story, so all of our plucky heroes need to make it, but since we're showing gigantic spiders I don't think this is a children's movie even if it is a children's story. Orcs are being mowed down like storm troopers; let's loose a dwarf or two. In the noble sacrifice for the rest of the group, yes, sure, but come on.

I got a little tired of the action sequences, some of them were more than a little contrived; nearly all of them went on too long. Say, for example, the bit where one of the barrels bounces out of the water and across four or five orcs.

Speaking of contrived, I think that word sums up Legolas' inclusion in the story. Word is that Vigo Mortenson declined to reprise his role of Aragorn for The Hobbit on the grounds that it wasn't canon. Well, maybe Orlando Bloom needs the money, and frankly who is he to say no if someone wants to pay him?

Jenn wanted to know that since Gandalf knew for certain that Sauron was "back" so to speak, what was he messing around with for sixty years before LoTR's start, and why was he so horrified that Sauron was back in LoTR?

And-oh-by-the-way, the One Ring is a universal translator for evil?

Overall, this movie is weaker than the first one, even considering that part of the strength of the first one was that feeling that ok we've sat through all this the next two will make it all worth while, and frankly so far it isn't. This movie was too long, and together the first two movies are way too long. I'm getting the feeling that once the third movie comes out, someone could make a 120 minute supercut of all three together to tell a tight and coherent story without making us sit around for eight hours.