Reviews, opinions, parodies, rants, and rhapsodies about The Desolation of Smaug have sprung up all over the place since the film was released. Here are a couple that particularly took my fancy. At his blog, A Dribble of Ink, Aidan Moher said a lot of the things I wanted to say, and much more coherently, in his review:
Consider one of The Hobbit‘s most iconic moments: The barrel-ride escape from the Woodland Realm. The film throws away the novel’s delicately crafted sense of suffocating despair, including Bilbo’s uncertainty whether his plan saved his friends or killed them, and replaces it with bombastic action full orcs, morgul arrows, whirling dwarf-filled barrels of death, and Legolas being, well… think of Legolas in the Lord of the Rings films, clambering up Oliphants or riding shields down stair sets, and crank it up to eleven. There’s nail-biting action aplenty, and Jackson does create a narrative twist from the battle that will have potentially interesting wide-ranging effects through the third film, but Tolkien’s original vision is lost. Quiet cleverness, so integral to the novel, and one of the delights of Jackson’s Lord of the Rings, is discarded, and the overwhelming majority of the film’s tension and conflict is externalized, reinforcing within the filmgoer that they are strapped into an amusement park ride, rather than an equal partner in an adventure.
And Sarah Rees Brennan (a clever, witty, and thoughtful writer of YA fantasy) wrote a wonderfully funny and affectionate parody of the movie on her blog. I’m not sure but that hers is the best review of all. Here’s a wee sample:
DWARVES: Holy god the bear almost ran right into the house.
GANDALF: Probably because this is the bear’s house.
DWARVES: Let’s get this straight. You hid us from the bear in the bear’s house? Wizards tread a fine line between cryptic and crazy bullshit and, Gandalf, 2 u the line is a dot!
ORCS: Well, our pack of giant wolves could never defeat that one bear! Time to quit.
AZOG: I must leave this movie, in order to serve the dark lord.
AZOG: But what would the Hobbit BE, without an evil orc pursuer?
AUDIENCE: It might somewhat resemble the book!
AZOG: I’m delegating the dwarf hunt to Lazy Eye the Orc!
LAZY EYE: It’s an honour.
BEAR: runs through Budweiser commercial, becomes man
BEORN: I suppose you were expecting a long Beorn sequence like in the books?
AUDIENCE: Well, yes, I mean, this is one short book turned into three long mov-
BEORN: What you don’t know is that as well as being a bear, I am now also a ninja. Blink and you’ll miss me. I am a ninja bear. Milk?