December 30, 2013

Happy Mon, the last Mon of the year. -20 and dark.

We underwent The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug in Imax 3D yesterday. If you haven’t seen it yet, it runs almost 3 hours. (There’s a slow part about an hour in when the dwarves and Bilbo enter the land of the elves that you can use to hustle out to the restroom and back.) We did not know we were signing up for 3D until we got there. Next show time for regular 2D was three hours later, so we went for it. Mostly I forgot I was wearing funny-looking yellow glasses, but I did not get the impression I would have missed much by missing 3D, and 3D cost quite a bit more.

That said, however, it was pretty good. Ebert’s old pal Richard Roepert gave it a B+ which is about right. Lots of action, ugly looking suckers, a hot elf, a very hot dragon. There are many additions to the story to stretch the shortest of the Tolkien books into a trilogy, with every burp and sneeze included, and there are several long combat scenes where hideous looking baddies get decapitated left and right (just one head each so far) but just keep coming. The giant spiders are gruesome. Ian McKellan continues to shine as Gandalf the Grey (note British spelling). Most of the acting is pretty good, the orcs and such are suitably nightmarish, Bilbo (Martin Freeman) is endearing, etc.

For my money the escape in barrels from the elves’s kingdom was the best part, but others will have their own favorites. The mountains and fields of New Zealand provide excellent visuals. When I left the theater I expected to be handed a sticker saying (instead of I Voted) I Watched The Hobbit. If anyone tires of the constant spectacle of these movies, the original is an outstanding and absorbing read, and if you like audio books, the complete cycle is available in a great reading by British actor Rob Inglis that stretches the epic out as it was meant to be experienced, leaving much to your own imagination.



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