The Hobbit: the Desecration of Smaug

Yes, you read the title right- I intentionally twisted the title of the film. This is not going to be a positive review.

I had seen the first Hobbit film, and though the film was a bit slow and brought in some new story elements not found in the original (Orcs, Sauron), it was generally unobjectionable.

This second part, however, is an abomination. There are three, count em, three! added plot lines that were never in the original story, the most egregious of which is the entirely invented interracial love story between Taurien, a female elf who never appears in the original book, and Killi, one of the thirteen dwarves. Let me be clear- I have no issue with interracial romances, even between imaginary races. But I do have an issue with inserting an inorganic plot element that was not in the original story. The romance they invented between Arwen and Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings movies at least made sense from a plot perspective. This, however, is just a romance for the sake of romance. Actually, it’s more a love triangle between Legolas, Killi and Taurien. No matter, it doesn’t belong.

The overworking of the conflict between Gandalf and Sauron also has no place in this story. I understand the logic behind it – Peter Jackson wants to draw the connection between The Hobbit and LoTR for an audience unfamiliar with the books. For that, I still call BS- everyone who read the books for the first time could put the two together just fine without a ham-handed rehash of events that haven’t happened yet in the Hobbit/LoTR world. It also betrays the spirit of the book, which was decidedly less dark than LoTR.

The Orc plot line is the least inorganic, but it is still un-necessary. The dwarves had motivation aplenty to pursue their quest- fear of and revenge on Azog are not needed- if anything, the original motivator of pride corrupted by greed was more compelling.

Perhaps the biggest disappointment, though, has to be the conversation between Bilbo and Smaug. In the original, it was a duel of wits with nearly poetic language. Only a pale shadow of that dialogue remains, and the scene is turned into a promo for an as-yet unbuilt amusement park ride- Universal Studios: Escape from Smaug.

In summary, what could have been a triumph of a single three-hour movie was instead turned into a travesty of a trilogy.

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