“The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug” is a three- hour- long epic drama film that meticulously details roughly one hundred pages of a children’s book.  It’s the second installment in the Hobbit trilogy and, while arguably more exciting than the first film, lacks any artistic merit or original intent. It takes the 1937 YA novel and basically throws it in a trash can because it clearly wasn’t sexy or fun enough.  Honestly, I think Peter Jackson thought J.R.R. Tolkien was offering a few suggestions for his screenplay— like a nice foundation— but forgot to mention hot elves and was, therefore, deemed unworthy.  I don’t think any of the movie’s writers even read the book, but instead Google Image searched Evangeline Lilly for ten months straight and then high-fived each other under the desk when she came into the studio for the first time.  There is honestly no other explanation.

What’s great about reading “The Hobbit” is that the language is perfect for a ten- year-old.  This is fine though because, unlike the actual LOTR trilogy, it’s meant to be simple and straight forward.  Kids are allowed to enter this fantastic, yet believable, alternate world where there’s magic, tragedy, heroes and villains.  Tolkien put so much emphasis into explaining both historical and geological features of Middle Earth because he truly cared about this universe he’d created.  He wanted a place where all the fantastical elements seemed like they belonged, therefore he created languages, religions, attitudes etc.  I feel that the movie tarnishes all that Tolkien tried to create by adding excessive and fabricated scenes of violence.  One scene in particular is when the dwarves and Bilbo are escaping the elves in barrels.  In the book, it’s basically an in-and-out operation, but the movie includes a battle scene complete with Legolas essentially leaping across a river via the dwarves’ heads.  J.R.R. Tolkien did not include unrestrained fight scenes like this because it wasn’t necessary for the plot or the creation of his universe.  I believe the filmmakers’ decision to add them in was, essentially, tacky.

I don’t think that a single person read The Hobbit and genuinely came out of it thinking “I wish there were more babes in this book.”  However, the filmmakers were under the impression that people were rioting in the streets due to the lack of hotties present in Tolkien.  What were they to do?  Accept the story as it is and maintain a sense of artistic integrity?  Or bring back the sexy elves and invent a new character so they can all have a love triangle with the rockstar dwarf?  Why do all movies need a romantic subplot?  Why can’t we be satisfied with awesome stories about dwarves going and killing dragons without adding in all this fluff?  I’d like to live in a world where we can be genuinely pleased with a movie that has zero sexual tension.  Unfortunately, that day will probably never come.

I really did like Martin Freeman’s performance.  He is terrifically talented and deserves recognition for how well he played Bilbo.  I also found the change in frame rate to be a very bold, yet satisfying choice.  The technology has a bit of time to develop, but will one day be more widely used in films.  I don’t totally agree with Peter Jackson’s claim that it merges fantasy and reality because it makes the images look more real, but it could lead to some awesome effects.