Christmas is a busy time for everyone. Sometimes, though, you just have to hold up your hand like a traffic cop and stop the madness. So as I was heading out to face the local mall melee, I decided to see a movie instead. It was just what I needed.
Of course, Christmas is one of the big seasons for movie openings, and I certainly had plenty to choose from, but I went to the only one I had actually been waiting to see:
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
One of the things I always love about Peter Jackson's epic fantasies is his attention to detail and the sheer beauty of his sets and locations. This second of the three Hobbit movies is no exception. Even the most desolate location is impressive in its desolation and the creative way it is desolate, like the impossible stairway one character has to climb up the side of a mountain, which is vastly different from the other impossible stairway different characters climb up the side of a different mountain. Throughout, the sets are beautifully designed and each place is unique and fascinating to look at.
|Bilbo (Martin Freeman) and Thorin (Richard Armitage)|
Some might say the acting in a movie like this one takes second place next to the special effects and the epic nature of the film itself . That may be true, but that does not make the acting here anything less than first rate. Martin Freeman is perfect as the Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins. And, of course, anything with Richard Armitage in it is all right by me. His melancholy Thorin is very touching, especially when he finally reaches his goal and returns to his ancestral home after years of exile. Benedict Cumberbatch's dragon Smaug is fascinating, hypnotizing and powerful as he sits on (and in) his endless hoard of treasure, and I am happy to say that Sylvester McCoy's Radagast is not nearly as irritating as he was in the first movie of the series.
|Smaug the Terrible|
As much as I love Aidan Turner as Kili (a Dwarf), and he is great in this movie even without much to do, I found his "love at first sight" with Elf warrioress Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly) less than convincing and more than unnecessary. It certainly was implied nowhere in the books, and apart from that, she does little but slaughter Orcs. And that is exactly what I didn't like about Orlando Bloom's role in this film. The ten years since he last portrayed Elf prince Legolas have certainly done him no harm, but I would like to have seen him do a bit more than slash through Orcs and narrow his eyes dangerously when Tauriel talks to Kili.
But those are minor quibbles in a movie that kept me enthralled for nearly three hours. If you need a break from Christmas shopping madness, I highly recommend it, though you might want to see the first movie first, if you haven't already. And don't expect a real ending until next Christmas.
By the way, if you don't like spiders, take something to scream into. Just sayin'.
What are you doing to take a break this Christmas?