Posted by Pip
R3S23- Mehster Of Secrets
Sloth didn't have quite enough time on a rampage to bulk up to past levels of gigantism, but even tiny Sloth has its following. Sure he may not command shrine maidens, but they still love him and wait for the day Sloth regains its full glory. Until then... the maidens get to nap in a temple all by themselves. It's a tough life worshipping Sloth.
I don't think Devotion would be a big fan of Envy trying to pick up some new devotees though.
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Quick Review: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Full Disclosure: I work for a company tied to this franchise so I got my ticket, small popcorn, and Cherry Coke for free.
Full Disclosure Part 2: I read the Hobbit when I was in eight grade and I remember next to none of it and I didn't watch the part 1 movie. I went to see the movie with some big Hobbit fans and they were none too happy with the story changes, so take that how you will.
As mentioned above, I can't really tell you what's different between the book and this movie, so my reaction is purely as a person that likes good movies. And as that person, this movie is about two hours too long. It's an hour of chase scenes, an hour of elves murdering orcs, and then a tiny bit of actually interesting content. It is thankfully light on references to Second Breakfast though. See, I did remember something from the books! The chase scenes are that second rate filler to eat up screen time and move the characters from point A to point B but there's no tension or intrigue in them. It's just, hey some orcs are chasing them, some orcs are chasing them again, more orcs, and end the movie with a dragon chasing them. The fight scenes are about as tense and thrilling. It's a lot of shaky camera, special effects-heavy stabbing of orcs. There's just no tension to make any of it worthwhile. Legolas murders like a hundred orcs without getting touched and then Lady Legolas does the same. How fearsome can the dark army be if two elves just constantly wipe the floor with entire squads of the supposed elite troops? And it's not made any better from you knowing that this is a three part series so you know what characters are going to survive. It's not interesting to see Bilbo or Gandalf in trouble and you can't play that up as a dramatic moment. We all know they live and are a-okay, not only because they're in the next movie but because we see them in Lord of the Rings too. It has some really dumb comedy moments thrown in and the theater was pretty divided between people that thought they were the funniest things ever and the rest of us that sat there stone-faced. And I accept that sometimes you have to have characters act dumb to move the plot along, but there are several moments that defy just going along with it all. They establish that Smaug can sense/smell/hear Bilbo even when he's using the Ring, but then a few minutes later, the whole group of armored and loud dwarves are able to sneak by Smaug by walking directly under him while Smaug is actively looking for them. The ninja orcs didn't bother me as much as the rest of the movie-goers but it's just another "that shouldn't have happened" moment. The actors do what they can with the material but some of the leads just really ham it up. I don't like Martin Freeman as Bilbo, Ian McKellen is normally great but he was so corny in this, and the elf king has some of the craziest overacting and staring I've seen in a while. The best scenes of the movie are when Bilbo is talking with Smaug. It's just in one location, there's no fighting or shouting, and it showcases the two characters well. Then that ends and there's a prolonged chase sequence and ridiculous and convoluted fight scene between Smaug and the dwarves.
The movie is super heavy on CG effects and some of them are really bad. Like, Sci-Fi Channel bad. The fight scenes are filled with CG and because it's so prominent, it all sticks out. The green screening in the chase scenes takes already tedious sequences and pulls you right out of the action. The movie's finale has a scene with some molten gold and it looks like a visual effect from the early 90s. But then the model for Smaug is amazing and better than everything else in the movie. If the whole thing had just been 30 minutes of doing a fly-through and showcasing the Smaug model, I would have liked it way more. The character looks great, it moves well, and the details are fantastic. How can you have such disparity between that fantastic model and then have a scene on green screen where the lighting on the characters doesn't even remotely match everything else? The effect for Sauron is really good too. It's not too over the top and it works well because it's so restrained. It's genuinely creepy and makes for a great secondary villain. So there you have it, The Hobbit's best features are the two bad guys that have less screen time than everybody else. And New Zealand is still pretty too.