Film Corner: Hobbit (Desolation of Smaug)

Ok, I remember Hobbit 2: Electric Shiraloo being where everything broke down. Let's do this.

The backstory flashback is.......a thing. I don't hate it! It explains why the Arkenstone is important rather than just a Shiny. Might've been good to explain all that to Bilbo. that Bombur can run the fastest.

The forest is sick and diseased and honestly stop using illness as a metaphor for evil!

Mmmmmph. There's a "humorous" scene where Legolas mistakes Gloin's wife for his brother, and his son (Gimli) for a goblin and it's.....definitely in this movie.

I really don't understand why they put Legolas in this movie; it was a disastrous decision, up there in Prequel Mistakes with making C3PO a pet project of Anakin Skywalker. I'm going to pause here and collect myself, otherwise all you'll get is screaming.

Ok, I'm back and we're gonna talk about this. I'm really angry about the joke wherein Legolas mistakes Gloin's beloved wife for his brother. "Oh, but Ana, the joke is that dwarven women are mistaken for men!" Yes. I get the joke. Dwarven women are misgendered because they have beards. But it's adding a transphobic joke (beard=men) in a setting that makes no sense.

No elf has a beard. Elves cannot, canonically, grow a beard. Meanwhile, all dwarves have beards. All of them. It makes NO SENSE for an elf to think a beard connotates gender! Legolas is coming from a culture where everyone is delicately pretty regardless of gender. Dwarves, he knows, are a race where everyone is hairy and homely regardless of gender. There's no reason for him to misgender Gloin's wife. None!

Once it's been established that the picture case contains a picture of Gloin's wife, Legolas asks about the child (Gimli) in a manner probably meant to rile: "what is this goblin creature?" And it's supposed to be funny because haha Gimli grows up to be his friend, but the writers had to be aware that everyone rabidly ships Lego/Gimli. So they're reminding us of the age gap in a movie which invents a girl for Legolas to crush on.

It feels very No Homo in a movie which is already VERY No Homo and I remind you that NONE of our dwarves are kissing or cuddling or hugging. There's NONE of the softness from LOTR here. It upsets. The idea that queerness is inherently oppositional to masculinity is bullshit; there's no reason the dwarves couldn't be hypermasculine and also chill about kissing each other after a battle.

Fili is being stripped of weapons in my absolute favorite trope: Infinite Weapon Search. Seriously, if you make a movie or write a book, no matter how bad it may be, I will LOVE it if someone demands a character's weapons and they have, like, seventeen daggers they have to turn over. YESSSSS. If they grin the whole time while the searcher looks increasingly confused about why they're carrying daggers THERE (wherever 'there' is), then EVEN BETTER.

The Kili-Tauriel-Legolas thing does NOT spark joy. Kili flirts with her while Legolas watches and glowers like he's Edward Cullen. Her dialogue has literally been:
- flirt with Kili
- flirt with Kili
- talk about Legolas being in love with her
- flirt with Kili

The thing with Thranduil being blighted is not a thing I love, and ties in badly with the themes of Sickness equals Evil.

The barrels!! The barrels are fun because it's delightfully terrifying + a chance to see the dwarves working together and being clever. BOMBUR, BADASS BARREL FIGHTER. Ok, now Legolas is on the barrels and he's ruining it. Everything Legolas touches in this movie is ruined.

I like seeing Gandalf and Radagast together.

I do not understand why they cast an Orlando Bloom lookalike in the role of Bard, it is so incredibly distracting. He honest to god looks like if Legolas and Aragorn made a baby.

I think I dislike the Legolas bits because it ruins the character for LOTR. Like. In Fellowship especially he always had this joyful wonder in his eyes, even when something was trying to kill him. He had an innocence, like Peter Pan. Now he's all scowly and broody and interrogating orcs. He doesn't have that wonderous "Oh wow the world is such an adventure!!" look anymore.


I guess I need to finish this? Not a good sign when I walk away in the middle of a movie and forget about it for days.

I forgot to add something else I liked about the barrel scene: We see the evolution of Thorin and the dwarves trusting Bilbo. I like that a lot. And I do love that Bombur was the best at fighting? It's a comedic scene (because he's hampered by the barrel) but it doesn't feel like he's the butt of the joke? It's not funny BECAUSE he's fat, he's just fat and has a funny moment.

WHY was the Witch King buried in a place that looks like a death trap???? How did they even carry the body in????

It's strange to see Kili realistically suffering from an arrow wound that most fantasy protagonists would shake off with a shrug. (This is not a criticism.) Oh, the arrow was poisoned. He can't just be realistically hurt from an arrow to the knee, lolsob. It's gotta be Morgul Poison (TM).

I have a really hard time seeing Thranduil as the sort of guy who attends interrogations. Seems like he'd let other people do the fingernail pulling, you know? (Not that they do that in this PG-13 film.) Really, the whole scene feels wrong. If you think back to LOTR, Gimli wasn't worried the Lady of the Wood would put him in the penis-slicer. He was worried she'd put a spell on them and you'd spill all your secrets willingly. That's what elves should be like. That would be a lot scarier, if the orc was awed and bespelled and telling his secrets willingly, lovingly, to these beautiful elves and then they kill him. Instead they just threaten him a lot and it's boring. Humans can do that.

"but Ana, Tolkien elves can't"
[gif of John Mulaney saying "We're well past that!!"]

I don't really understand why Sauron supposedly cares about the lonely mountain.

Tauriel has gone tearing off to warn Kili that he's poisoned and I just. It's the moral neighborly thing to do, but she has to know Thranduil will be furious, so she's giving up her position as captain of the guard to save an escaped prisoner who flirted with her.

Are those... ice blocks in the lake? Soap suds? What IS that? It IS ice!! I really question lake town being that particular climate when no one is dressed for the cold and there's no steam when they talk and whY

Oh good, the evil guy who we know is evil because he has a unibrow. Stay classy, Peter Jackson.

I looked up how cold the temperature should be and instead got a lot of global warming sites about disappearing lake ice and now I'm sad.

Did the book have this Master + Wormtongue subplot?

It's deeply frustrating to me that they cast an Orlando Bloom lookalike as Bard when this was a perfect role to add a man of color. He's not elf, dwarf, or Numenorian so even if you wanted to mandate those are all white for racist reasons, he's NOT those. Instead they cast a white guy who looks EXACTLY LIKE the most famous white guy in this film.

HOW are they doing a Venice-esque riverways town on a lake that ICES UP, the ice would destroy all the bridges and wooden poles standing in the lake, THIS DOES NOT WORK. Ice expands! It cracks things! I'm pretty sure you cannot have THIS town on an ice lake! Not to mention that everyone who falls into the water is going to die from hypothermia. Also the CGI looks like soap suds.

"Our house is being watched." Really??? The governor has nothing better to do than spy on a washed up old war hero who took an emotional arrow to the knee?

They literally have the dwarves and Bilbo swim into Bard's house and none of them look even slightly cold, did they not INFORM THE ACTORS that the lake would be iced up in post??? They're being so rude to their host and, AGAIN, I know y'all's mothers taught you better than this.

Kili's wound is bothering him because he just swam up through icy poop waters, but the problem is Morgul Poison so an elf girl can come heal him. They forgot to tip Legolas' ears in this scene and Tauriel's ears are pointy enough to poke out an eye and my god the contrast is distracting. Was the CGI post guy just drunk or

Kili (and several others, for Reasons) stays behind because he's deathly ill. Morgul Poison etc.

They've belatedly started to add steam to the dwarves when they talk and IT'S A LITTLE LATE FOR THAT.

If they're gonna have Kili fall for an elf, they should've had Bofur late because he stayed up swivving a human woman. Humans are closer to dwarf beauty standards than elves.

I feel like the disagreement between Thorin and Bilbo over whether or not to wait for Gandalf would carry more weight if the film didn't immediately cut to Gandalf not coming and not planning to come. Like, this movie is already so LONG and there's so much that doesn't....add anything? "Oh wow SHOULD they wait for Gandalf-- oh never mind then I guess""

Why is Gandalf going in alone into a situation he believes is a trap? Is there some time critical reason he can't wait for the backup he's sent Radagast to get?? This is another characterization that meshes poorly with LOTR; Gandalf in LOTR was thoughtful, careful, cautious. He didn't rush into danger, and his natural inclination was always to go get help. (Saruman, Theoden, Treebeard, Elrond, etc.)

By the way have y'all seen this? "You are aware that I am not REALLY a wizard?" [Link:]

God, whatever else my beefs with this movie, Thorin's actor was doing his BEST. He carries so much of the film.

So Gandalf meets Sauron (who has fire effects which look like a flaming eye) who DESTROYS HIS STAFF and it was hard to convince Saruman that Sauron was active in LOTR because why now? He even CALLS him Sauron, there's not even a question of identity, I'm

I do like Bilbo having NO IDEA where to start with the treasure. I hate it when people are like "you'll know it when you see it", it makes me want to bring them a bottlecap.

Smaug being able to smell him in spite of being invisible is TERRIFYING and the chase is good yes very scary. Smaug scared the stuffing out of me as a kid, I'm really glad they managed to make him terrifying here. It would've been easy to fuck up. And it was extremely wise to have a Tim Curry impersonator voice Smaug. (Shh.)

Seems like a bad idea for Smaug to be taking out load-bearing pillars in his summer home. I have a lot of questions about why this ballista thing still works after 100+ years. All I ask is a town tradition of oiling the thing and tightening its bolts, that's all I ask.

Oh good, we're using sickness as a metaphor for evil again. THAT never gets old.

I can't explain why it feels wrong for the tone of LOTR for a prequel movie to have had Gandalf encaged by Sauron but it does to me. In LOTR, he's like "I've been too willing to believe everything is fine and Sauron is probably definitely defeated from way back in the day" and that doesn't mesh well with "I was literally imprisoned by that guy a few years ago, it sucked".


Tauriel is a captain of the guard so of course she's also a master healer. It's kinda funny that guys complain about Mary Sues but the real Mary Sues are usually the ones added so that male characters will have someone competent who gives up her dreams for them.

Like, Tauriel's character exists to be loved by Kili and Legolas ("loved", in that special love triangle way where they don't love her at all, they just want to win the competition) and to give up all her dreams and kin the moment Kili is in danger. "I'm nigh immortal and I have a great career and the king's son loves me (the king is a dick about it but my race is made of patience), so I'm going to throw all that away because a guy who kinda sexually harassed me by asking me to search his trousers needs aid."

Why are the dwarves trapped??? Why can't they just go back out the way they came in??? THREE HOUR MOVIE AND I SHOULDN'T BE CONFUSED LIKE THIS. Maybe cut some of the love triangle bullshit to explain your major plot points, Peter!!


I fell asleep last night and am having to backtrack.

There's a TERRIBLE bit where Balin muses on the Courage of Hobbits and I hate it because it's a ham-fisted LOTR reference that doesn't work here; Balin doesn't fucking KNOW any hobbits except Bilbo. They even pipe the Shire music in over the conversation and you can FEEL how pleased they were with the reference and it's SO ANVILICIOUS.

I do not love the choice of making the Arkenstone an explicitly corruptive item like the Ring. Smaug even taunts Bilbo to take it and let it destroy Thorin. Wealth and power don't corrupt because there's a curse on the items which signify them! That's.... It's... No! It's especially upsetting to me that Thorin draws his sword on Bilbo before the Arkenstone has even been seen/touched by Thorin.

Not sure how I feel about being able to outwit Smaug by yelling "over here! I'm a distraction!" but what do I know.

Good grief, they took Legolas being good at combat and dialed it up to 13, it's terrible? Where are all the people formerly in this town????

Bilbo and Bombur are the ones Thorin tasks to save the day. *happy sobbing*

Bilbo trying to stop Smaug from going to laketown is a good touch and I fucking approve. Like, all he can do is run out of his hiding place and ask. But he does it.

How did they manage to melt that golden statue so fast???

The subplot where Bard is arrested simply so he can't be useful and with no justification is TEDIOUS.

Annnnnd the movie ends there so I guess we gotta watch the next one to find out if Laketown burns.


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