### SPOILERS ###
So … I didn’t like the ending … at all.
I know that these aren’t going to be popular opinions because everyone so far seems to be raving about this movie, and don’t get me wrong, I want to be raving about this movie, too! But often as it seems, the movie that I actually saw this evening was a stark contrast to the movie that I was expecting to see…
Ultimately, my disappoint can be distilled into two categories:
- The break point at the end
- Deviations from the actual book
So let’s talk about #1 first because frankly I was willing to overlook everything else until I saw those credits fly prematurely, and then I was instantly pretty miffed. Simple put – this movie should’ve ended with Smaug’s death and foreshadowing into the Battle of Five Armies.
Breaking the movie where it did left the story feeling unfinished to me, like they got to the mountain and met Smaug and … we’ll just deal with everything else next time! At least with the Lord of the Rings, each of the three books ended with climatic results – the fellowship was both formed and broken, one of the two towers fell, and lastly, the king did return. And I thought that it was going to be similar for this trilogy, too – I was a little unsure of where they could do the breaks going into An Unexpected Journey, but the last scene after the warg attack in the tree with the party looking out at the Lonely Mountain in the distance was damn near perfect…
…so I only assumed that the other logical breaking point would be after Bard kills Smaug and everyone starts to fight over the treasures of Erebor, but when instead the credits rolled just as Smaug was departing to lay waste to Lake Town, my heart kind of sunk because, well, there’s nothing like sitting for three hours to not watch a story come to completion in any way, shape, or form! 😕
As for #2, this is where I think I really need to go back and re-read the book because maybe my memory is fuzzy, and admittedly I’m basing some of it on what other people are confirming until I read it again for myself, but this movie just felt like it had a lot of deviations from what Tolkien wrote into the actual book. Like LEGOLAS, for starters – love the guy in LOTR, but there was really no reason aside from a familiar face that we can make do cool stuff to have him make an appearance in The Hobbit at all. Sure, watching him dance around on dwarf heads as they were floating down the river battling orcs was amusing, but did it need to happen? Not really, nor did we need the whole Tauriel / Legolas / Kili love triangle, either.
Plus, not for nothing but he’s kind of an asshole in this movie! Too much eye liner and too much spunk – I guess if he was trying to show Legolas’ arch leading up to when he joins the Fellowship of the Ring, but he just felt really out of place in this story when pretty much any other generic elf would’ve done just fine.
All of the stuff about Sauron felt really forced, too, as if Peter Jackson was just shouting, “Don’t forget that this is the prequel to Lord of the Rings!!!” I certainly don’t remember Gandalf facing off against Sauron in the book, or really any of that foreshadowing at Dol Guldur with building armies and war coming and all of that. And again, maybe I just don’t have the best memory of the book because it has been a while, but just considering it all on the surface, I can’t help but thinking if Jackson hadn’t taken all of these extra liberties with adding new content that maybe … he could’ve done well with only two movies.
That was honestly the biggest concern of mine when The Hobbit was first announced because Lord of the Rings had been three movies based on 1,200 pages of text that was already divided into three books by the original author. So its prequel, The Hobbit, was also going to be three movies based on barely 300 pages of text???
Granted, there were a lot of parts of this movie that I really did like…
- Bilbo fighting the spiders of Mirkwood
- Escaping the elves via the barrels
- The unveiling of Smaug
Still, I just couldn’t help but leave the theater this evening feeling like a lot of things got changed or added that didn’t need to be changed or added, and yet then again, for all I know, the very same types of things may have been done with the Lord of the Rings films, too. And yet even if they were, I genuinely enjoyed the adaptations that the LOTR films were, but Hobbit #2 undoubtedly felt different, and at least for me, the final installment next year is going to really have to knock it out of the park to redeem the prequel trilogy for me because as it stands, I see myself doing a lot of fast forwarding once this one comes out on DVD to skip over all of the post-Tolkien era fluff that doesn’t do much to progress the actual story.