Friday, December 13, 2013

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Some of you may recall that I wasn't a big fan of the first installment of 'The Hobbit' last year.  In fact, it was one of the biggest disappointments of my year for several reasons.  Granted, as a big fan of 'The Lord of the Rings' trilogy, my expectations were high.  But that aside, it was flawed in so many ways.  For one, director Peter Jackson took a relatively small book and elected to split it into three films.  Three VERY LONG films!  And the first one definitely seemed like it could have used some serious editing.  Additionally, he didn't create supporting characters anywhere near as memorable as in the LOTR trilogy.  And in many scenes, it just seemed to me like the family friendly version of a mature fantasy franchise.  Finally, and most significantly, he made the artistic choice to debut a new 48 frames per second technology that was rumored to enhance the realism.  It didn't.  In fact, it ruined the movie, making everything look ridiculously fake.  Those that saw the film in theaters in 2D also got to see it in the standard 24 fps.  I wasn't as lucky.  I saw it in 3D in 48 fps and hated every second of it.  Nevertheless, I revisited the film on DVD a few weeks ago, and enjoyed it much more, if only because it looked 'normal'.  It's still WAY inferior to the LOTR trilogy, but was much more palatable.

Anyhoo, I'm happy to report that the second installment is MUCH better.  I saw it in 3D (and I still would have preferred 2D) but at least, thankfully, it looked good.  Plus, it's much darker, more mature, and more captivating than its predecessor.  I enjoyed myself and am now looking forward to the final installment, due out at the end of next year.

Grade: B+ (and close to an A-)

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