Wreck next December, I tell you, that will be me.
I'm not sure I need to warn that this post contains spoilers, but SPOILERS! Also, it rambles on a rather long way, so I don't really expect anyone to read it, but I need to work this out on 'paper' for myself.
A few things to start, in no particular order so that we can get them out of the way.
1) Martin Freeman, I LOVE YOU.
2) Everything Gandalf does is just awesome sauce. And nice guest spot by Radagast.
3) The entire scene(s) in Erebor were a hell of a lot better than I thought, and I had some pretty high expectations, let me tell you.
4) When I read the book, Thranduil's caves is the only thing I could never wrap my head around; elves, living in caves, wha? But I think PJ's version is perfect and the entrance was PERFECT.
5) Beyond a slight issue with Kili/Tauriel (see below) I have a newfound respect for Evangeline Lilly because WOW.
And now the slightly less intelligent stuff begins.
Grav made a very valid point about Two Towers several days ago, and it still stands. because TT has one of the best openings ever for a sequel movie and…this didn't. Seriously, it didn't. It felt like the opening for the EE, but this was the theatre version. Baring that, however, once we got over the initial PJ cameo and a lot of dirty looks from Breelanders, the movie got rolling with a bang. And then several more bangs.
I'm glad the Beorn stuff was short, I really am. It's boring to watch the dwarves kick around on holiday for a while. And the Mirkwood stuff that followed really set the tone for the rest of it. I loved the stoned dwarves and I seriously closed my eyes for most of the spider stuff, because after about two minutes I just decided nightmares were not worth it. But what I heard sounded pretty damn awesome, so I'm going with that. The set was spectacular.
And Legolas didn't bother me at all. I attribute this to the fact he didn't talk much.
Thranduil bothered me a lot, but I figured that one was coming. Because although Lee Pace looks a lot like Orlando Bloom, I thought the acting was a bit…off. Which is probably not his fault, really, but it bugged me during those scenes. The rest of the scenes in the woodland realm though, did make up for it. The dungeons, seriously, the DUNGEONS. And THE WINE CELLAR. And…someone I was with made a complaint about elves getting drunk and snoring but IT'S IN THE BOOK. And it was flipping hilarious. Also, possibly the moment I can identify loving Bilbo the most.
The barrels was better than I thought, though the CGI here was at it's worst. Now, I know from last year's experience that if I saw this in 48 frames (which is nearly impossible to do in England) then that wouldn't be an issue, so I can't really fault the movie for that. But it was annoying in regular 3D, but not enough that I didn't really enjoy the chase. I also laughed more than one should when the main heroes are being shot at by orcs.
Obviously the Kili getting hurt thing was massively contrived for later use in movie 3, but it did throw a nice chink in the works and the thing I LOVED MOST ABOUT THIS MOVIE was that half the time I didn't know what was coming. If you've not read the books, you can't understand what it is like to sit through one of these films and not know what's next. It's WONDERFUL. It was the thing I wished most about LotR and could never have.
Here is where I point out that I'm totally okay with the love 'triangle' except for the fact that I think Tauriel was nicer to Kili upfront then she should have been. I just needed one more scene were something happens to bridge that jump. But I'll imagine something in my head and it'll be okay (or I'll write something and it will be okay). Healing scene in Bard's house was another throwback to Fellowship, obviously, but Bofur gets the most marks for finding athalas and surviving an orc attack at the same time.
Bard. Laketown. BARD. That part is going to be so amazing in movie 3. I just, have no words. It was perfect. Luke Evans, thank you.
We don't need to talk about Gandalf again, right? Because the trip to the tomb of the Nine was unexpected and BLOODY COOL. And then Gandalf telling Radagast to go tell Galadriel what's happening is, really, going to pay off hugely in movie 3. But that part that's going to pay off the most is the part where Dol Guldur is empty of it's armies and Sauron's looking at other things and Thrain is going to bust Gandalf out of his - rather humiliating - predicament.
I said Erebor was perfect right? So we don't need to go into that again. I am happy to Bilbo & Smaug stuff, though fantastic, didn't go on any longer. I think they timed that perfectly. And yes, gold statue, hugely contrived, but massively effective too. The furnace room was pretty damn (I'm running out of words) amazing. And the fact that Thorin, after 150 years, still remembers how to do everything is a nice little throwback to him as a blacksmith in the years after. Even if the surfing down the river of molten gold was a gimmick.
One of the people I went with, who was worried she wouldn't like it, being a book purist, said she really enjoyed it…up until the end. She loathed the end. And I can understand why. But I didn't loath the end. I was wondering where they would end it and knew it ended on a cliffhanger, and this was, to me perfect. The look of utter despair on Bilbo's face is stunning (again, see point 1) above). And the cut to the song…nearly brought me to tears. Or would have, had aforementioned person not chosen that moment to lean over and say 'I hated that'. I didn't get to listen to the whole song too, but I've heard it before. I think it fit perfectly here. It really did what it was meant to.
Non-book people are now going to go out in droves and buy the book, if they haven't already. That would annoy me a lot not knowing the outcome. Of course, knowing the outcome annoys me because I know how hard movie 3 is going to be to top that.
In other words, I liked it. But it took me until this morning to realise that. I liked it more than movie 1, in fact. I have big hopes for next year.
But it's still not Rings. And that's no one's fault except Tolkien's.
In no relation whatsoever, I had a fight with my hair this morning and I lost. I had it all perfect except for one piece that wouldn't lie down and in my bid to tame it I destroyed the whole hairstyle. So it's in a ponytail now. Stupid hair.