To be honest, I was left in a bit of a funk after seeing Desolation of Smaug last December.
Well, it was actually more than a “bit” of a funk. Since childhood, seeing Smaug portrayed in a “Hobbit” movie just as Tolkien’s words and book cover artworks portray him – lying on top of a tremendous pile of gold in all his golden, coin-encrusted, venal glory – was a great dream of mine.
To see Smaug on the Big Screen was one of the top things in life I was looking forward to, ever since I first read the book at the age of 10. Up until I watched the movie, it was one of the most important possible joyful future events that got me out of bed every morning. Having that joyful moment (for the most part) taken away from me was heartbreaking.
The final encounter with the dragon starts so well! At first I was excited as can be – it was like Tolkien’s words somehow teleported into the theater, leapt onto the screen in front of me. Smaug was finally, for the first time, given form, color, and, most importantly, life. Smaug’s reveal wasn’t in the book, but it was pretty cool and the conversation with Bilbo was staged beautifully (for 80% of the time, at least), and took some dialogue straight from the book.
But then comes that ending. First off, the conversation scene was much shorter then I was hoping for, and much great dialogue from the book was left out. And then from that point on nothing happens even somewhat close to the way it does in the book, and thus many scenes I’d been looking forward to since childhood were left out. Scenes such as as seeing Smaug fly out of the mountain to attack the dwarves waiting outside, and seeing him attack the party and chase after Bilbo’s ponies.
And then, that last part with the molten gold. That now-infamous and interminable scene is what put me into that funk.
It was like watching Return of the Jedi but with the final epic and dramatic confrontation between Luke, Darth Vader, and the Emperor replaced with a 3 Stooges scene with Darth and Palpatine chasing Luke around the death star with Looney Toons characterization and action, with Bugs always keeping ahead, making Darth and the Emperor objects of slapstick.
So anyhow, that’s where I’m at mentally before going in to see Battle of the Five Armies. To be honest, at this point I’m almost more interested in seeing the quality of the CG and animation, and, of course, the high frame rate 48 fps.
After the criticism of many scenes in Desolation, I feel like Peter Jackson and WETA likely upped their game. So that will be interesting to watch.
What I’m most eager to hear, though, is the announcement of more HFR movies!! The forthcoming Avatar trilogy will be shot and shown in HFR 3D, but I want more.
And isn’t it about time we start hearing much more about those Avatar movies? I predict that soon we’ll know for sure whether Cameron will shoot at 48, 60, 72, or something else entirely. I’ve seen some reports from a couple blogs that he’s settled on 48 fps, but I don’t give them much credibility. (Pyronaut points out a link to an Empire interview where Cameron states they he has chosen to go with 48 fps 3D for the Avatar sequel trilogy. Looks like the case may possibly be closed on this one, but we’ll see if he sticks to this when filming starts).
When Fox releases that first big press release that official announces the new trilogy, reveals the final titles of the 3 movies, the cast, etc, we’ll probably get our answer as to see how Cameron plans to push HFR 3D technology forward.