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viernes, junio 21, 2024

The Hobbit, The Desolation of Smaug ****

The Hobbit, The Desolation of Smaug **** It’s more dramatic, dark and visually stunning than the first one. You gotta see it. What I do not know is whether it will be mandatory in either 3D or 2D, but that we will discuss it in a moment. For now I can guarantee that for me, as with the saga of The Lord of the Rings, the second installment is far superior to the first one in many aspects, especially at the level of maturity of characters and plots, and also visually and as pure spectacle, which is why most people will go to the movie theaters to see the film. It is pure entertainment good, well built, also gets some ideas from Lord of the Rings. Good ones, so to speak.

I say good because, as the years have passed, (and here I am at risk of receiving a hail of knocks) The Lord of the Rings every time convince me less. Don’t misunderstand me, people, I still like the first saga, but it suffers, and over the years more it seems to me, from some ways too… soft. Too bright, too little dark side, too good the good ones and bad the bad ones, if anyone wants to understand. What has brought me from a long time to appreciate certain things more ( the battles, the camaraderie , the sense of epic , tragedy…) and others before that did not call my attention, increasingly unsettle me more ( elves , trees , hobbits , the little juice they put out Saruman at the end … ) .

Many of these aspects that left me out of the game in The Lord of the Rings were corrected in The Hobbit, which I liked without doubt, and I think it’s a good movie but still it doesn’t work for me in some respects. The songs (there was a moment when I thought I was watching a musical ), some possibilities that were undeveloped, always being the good ones to the path of light, the softness of some sequences … It was a good start but I wanted more, I needed more. And although eventually I liked The Hobbit even more than The Lord of the Rings (the first one) , which I wanted was that The Desolation of Smaug was even more convincing than The Two Towers. Because the foundations were set, just missing someone that build something really solid on them. Something that was more epic, to present us to the characters with a more mature, darker mood. More sinister. And they have succeeded.

As a detail, the “stars” thing… I can say that the film is four and a half stars for me, just a step from perfection. But we have not half stars in our critics, and as there is still a couple of details that do not quite make me ding, we let in four and that’s it. I leave it clearly explained to avoid confuse anyone. Four and a half stars. And well deserved. What makes me think that at this pace the third film of Peter Jackson’S The Hobbit can be the summit of the Middle Earth films, and in this case a film in which the hand of Guillermo del Toro is even more noticeable than in the previous. In the script, which he is still accredited for. In the visual thing, it is another story. But the story has details that seem particularly marked by the Mexican director. Things not seen much in the past of the saga. The story continues right where we left off, with a little visit to the past, with Thorin as protagonist, the seed of the journey. And from there everything is almost an endless adventure and a with sensational pace in almost every moment. The persecution of the dwarves, the journey through the forest, the encounter with the spiders, the elves, the lake… all bring us to the presentation of Smaug and the end of the film, looking forward to the latest installment soon.

I truly believe that is the movie were elves work the best. Elven King Thranduil, a king away from other rulers, is kind of a tortured psychopath with a throne. Legolas is much darker, violent and less reasonable than the one we knew. And the contribution of Evangeline Lilly as Tauriel adds a feminine touch that the film badly needed. Thorin ‘s story and how the character develops, also helps a lot to the overall darkness of the story. Not everything is black and white. Thorin is a tortured character, with many lights and shadows … and how it is revealed towards the end is superb. As Martin Freeman is Bilbo in his own way, a change that makes it almost unrecognizable to the hobbit who left the shire. We never know what game some characters are really playing at, the supposedly good ones, and you can tell and appreciate it. It is much more ambiguous, as is the great character of Bard, played by Luke Evans. One of the most interesting new characters. These issues sound to me like del Toro touch.

The film also, as in the first series, divides the group of heroes at a given moment, which leads us to a three-way ending that will not leave anyone indifferent. For one, a struggle in the village with orcs and elves, on the other the fate of Gandalf, and finally, of course, Smaug. Something that many people are looking forward to, because it is the star character though it takes some time to appear, and because his presence fills the screen not only physically, but as terrible and powerful threat. A lot of moments, from the encounter with Bilbo to the final fight, are epic, visually stunning and walk between terror and action with great nerve. Smaug is a great villain undoubtedly intelligent, vengeful, powerful, sensational. And knowing that behind is Benedict Cumberbatch ‘s hand helps a lot ( you’ll understand when you see it, especially in the original version, although the voice is altered by computer). In a film that is also more violent than before and with many more battles (the one with spiders is memorable, as the orcs in each appearance…). Anyone who has played Dungeons and Dragons, for example, will feel it at his best in more than a moment.

The 3D, however brilliant, detracts from the action scenes, which are sometimes confusing (I can’t wait to see it in 2D to fully enjoy them). There is a romantic theme also that doesn’t quite work, and some moments falls in the rhythm ( the fishing town , some elongated conversations…) that just seem a justification for reaching three films. And although I can be shot by saying this, some special effects are poorly executed… But the film leaves us wanting more. More adventure, more battles, more fighting, more darkness … And I thought it was, for all that, better than The Hobbit.

Jesús Usero.

In december issue Richard Armitage, Benedict Cumberbatch and Ian McKellen and The Hobbit´s poster. You can preview the magazine here, and order outside Spain.



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