aruan: (Iron Man - hello Tony)
[personal profile] aruan
So, our cable company randomly stopped being an inefficient corporate monopoly and gave me two tickets to an advance screening of The Desolation of Smaug tonight. With free popcorn and drinks!

My paper's film critic put it best: "One is allowed to sit back and accept that this will be a trilogy with just a bunch of mildly diverting, often seemingly purposeless loud and clangy stuff." The entire review speaks truth, even if I would've given this movie three stars out of five instead of two.

[Sigh] I wasn't bored, let's start there. The first one was often boring; I was keenly aware of all the many ways my seat wasn't meant to be occupied for three hours. But this went completely in the other direction, and sitting in the second row of seats in an IMAX 3-D screening didn't help.

And the few poignant character moments felt rushed - between the incongruously happy music and jarring pacing, it was only down to the strength of Martin Freeman and Ian McKellen's acting that the scene when Bilbo nearly told Gandalf that he'd found the One Ring had any gravity. I really appreciated the characterizations in the first movie: Thorin the loner grappling with having to learn to trust not just his own people, but also wizards and hobbits and elves; Bilbo the homebody deciding to see what's beyond the Shire in the most dangerous way possible. But in this movie, Thorin forgets to be a good leader while Bilbo withdraws back into himself.

Other points:

  • Anyone else really confused for the first couple minutes of the movie, before figuring out that the opening scene takes place before The Hobbit?

  • Was there any previous indication that the orcs had a master? The whole Necromancer/Sauron sideplot felt like it came from nowhere, and why does he need two names anyhow?

  • Why was Thorin (presumably) so immediately affected by the Arkenstone? It took a while for even the One Ring to make people aggressive beyond being irrationally possessive of it, and this isn't even supposed to be an evil artifact?

  • I'm not a fan of making a character do something that's another character's domain simply because it serves another plot point. Much as I love Tauriel/Kili (and I DID they are TOTES ADORBS), the medical dwarf had it under control.

  • Legolas would've been much better left as Gimli's sidekick instead of the emotionless vacuum that he is here.

  • How is there one rich man in the middle of a subsistence-level Venice on a lake? Why do the villagers tolerate his insanity and greed? Didn't everyone lose everything when Smaug laid waste to Esgaroth?

  • That Ed Sheeran song in the credits is TERRIBLE. Also, most boring credits for a major motion picture ever - was that just a heavily bolded and kerned Arial family font?

    Really though, we all came for the giant dragon, and when you see him it becomes clear where they blew those hundreds of millions of dollars, and it wasn't floating a dozen dudes down a lazy river in barrels while they pretended to dodge stuff added in post-production. Smaug is properly huge, properly scary and properly voiced, if largely unrecognizably, by Benedict. The entire sequence inside the mountain was worth the price of admission. Can't say enough good things about Martin.

    Then, on the way home, I had a missed connection, because between never knowing the right thing to say when the moment calls for it and living in fear of embarrassment means I don't introduce myself very often. Anyway, I may have posted it to Craigslist, because why not. If you're interested, read it below.

    The funny thing about being a fangirl is that it makes talking to non-fans, people who don't understand having genuine passion for fictional characters and universes, difficult. But talking to fans has its pitfalls too - how much do they know? Are they slash-friendly? Have they seen the most recent episode/news?

    You, though, I had no excuse not to approach, with your backpack studded with BBC Sherlock, yaoi, Loki's Army and Wolverine buttons. We were waiting on the 4/5/6 uptown platform at Grand Central-42nd Street about 11 p.m. on Dec. 10. And you must've been there for the same reason as me: heading home from the Desolation of Smaug advance screening at AMC in Times Square.

    We'd just missed the express train, and had about six minutes to wait until the next one came along. Yet, I couldn't think of a single thing before the 5 whisked me away - I guess you needed a 4.

    I could say it was because you had your hood up and headphones on, but that's just an excuse. I could've gotten your attention if I had thought of an opening. Which I have, now: "So, what did you think of the movie?" And when you justifiably made an are-you-stalking-me face, I would've made a big Sherlockian production of how I "deduced" it. We would've exchanged Tumblr handles just as the train pulled up.

    I had shoulder-length brown hair and was wearing a green coat. You were about 5'3" wearing a black puffer coat and the patterned backpack with the top flap covered in pins. I'd like another chance to say hello. If you're reading this, email me (which is technically you saying hello, sorry. One of these days, I'll get it right the first time.)
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