The Desolation of Peter Jackson

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug: adapted and directed by Peter Jackson with Phillipa Boyens, Fran Walsh, Guillermo del Toro, and the Hollywood Screenwriting App, based on The Hobbit and portions of the Appendices to The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, starring Martin Freeman (Bilbo Baggins), a bunch of people as Dwarves, and Rex Hamilton as Abraham Lincoln (2013): Oy.

There’s about 45 minutes of decent material in this second of three movies based on The Hobbit. Smaug the Dragon looks pretty good, and the fact that he yaps away like Stephen Bloody Fry for 45 minutes pretty much necessitates CGI so that his lip movements look realistic. For a talking dragon, anyway.

So, you know, Smaug, who doesn’t do nearly enough flying but does a lot of waddling around inside the Lonely Mountain’s Dwarvish treasure caves where he’s been asleep for the past few decades until being awoken by Bilbo Baggins, who at this point in the story should clearly be elected King of the Dwarves because of his much greater competency than any of the dwarves trying to get back their homeland. Home-mountain. Whatever.

So, you know, Smaug. And there’s an interesting arm-wrestling match between Gandalf and Sauron. We learn that molten gold is mostly harmless in Middle-Earth, which begs the question of why the dwarves try to pour a lot of it on Smaug in the first place. I mean, everyone’s standing around beside endless volcanic, oceanic amounts of the stuff without really breaking much of a sweat for lengthy periods of time. Why is this going to be trouble for a giant, nigh-invulnerable lizard who shoots fire out of his mouth? Middle-Earth molten metal once again appears to be room temperature.

So, you know, Smaug. There’s a barrel race that seems to be a preview of a ride at the Hobbitland Amusement Park, opening in New Zealand in 2018. Orlando Bloom really looks a lot older than he did in the original trilogy. Given all the CGI thrown around, you’d think they could have fixed his face. Maybe Peter Jackson’s elves age backwards, like Merlin in T.H. White.

So, you know, Smaug. Some dwarves crawl out of a toilet. What larks! The laws of physics are pretty much Looney Tunes at this point in Jackson’s Middle-Earth. Almost all of the major emotional plot points have been lifted from The Lord of the Rings and stubbornly hammered on here. A reluctant king reclaiming his throne! A poisonous Morghul knife! A cliffhanger ending for part two! An elf and a dwarf making googly eyes at one another! Well, OK, is that last bit lifted? It’s heterosexual googly eyes this time rather than repressed homosexual googly eyes. I don’t know.

Apparently, the third movie will climax with 45 minutes of anal sex between Smaug and Shelob. Or a 45-minute battlefield sequence. I’m not sure which. Did I mention that Beorn looks like the love-child of Chewbacca and the Lorax? It’s pretty rad, bitches.

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