And after the book, there came the movies.
Last year An Unexpected Journey (AUJ for short) and this week The Desolation of Smaug (DOS for short).
The movie is now also released in the USA, so I can now tell a bit more about it than that I liked it (and sorry to the Aussies, who still have to wait till Boxing Day).
First, this is not The Hobbit book turned into a movie. This is a movie that takes some clues from the book The Hobbit. Some parts stay very true, others you will never ever find in the book. But at some points, all of a sudden, you watch the movie and think, "Hey, those lines I do remember from the book".
This is a much more action filled movie than the first one. It doesn't need to introduce much more extra characters and in AUJ we were left in the middle of action, not in quiet Bag End.
First we meet Beorn, the huge skin changer. Unfortunately he doesn't look like what I had in mind from the book. But I loved the way his home looked and those giant bees. Although I did miss the dinner scene where the animals serve the dinner to the dwarves.
Mirkwood wasn't as scary as I always read it in the books. With the more played out hallucinogenic effects of the forest it became fun to watch. The spiders remained scary and I really liked how they let the spiders talk.
The elves I liked very much. Thranduil is so very arrogant, well played! It was fun to see Legolas here and I thoroughly enjoyed Tauriel. Even when she isn't in the books, she fitted in the story. And for people worried about that so much rumoured "love triangle" it isn't that, it is more of a start of a friendship and a mutual understanding than love.
And "my wee-lad Gimli" woohoo, so much fun to hear that.
The escape in the barrels. Hello action-scene. I loved the set-up, with Bilbo putting down his foot those dwarves had to listen to him. The entire scene was a bit too much for me, with the orcs chasing the dwarves, the elves chasing the orcs and the dwarves, elves running over dwarven heads, Bombur being catapulted into the air, tumbling over orcs, smashing them with a hammer. I had a laugh, but it was a bit overdone.
Laketown and Bard look amazing. As do The Master and Alfrid. The Master, yikes, dirty, sticky, smelly, brrrr, well played!
But after this the story deviates a lot, for me too much, from the book. Thorin leaving behind dwarves in Laketown? Why? They should travel together to the Lonely Mountain! And why is Bilbo the one having to force the dwarves to stay for the opening of the door? Dwarves would never have given up so easily when they are finally at the mountain. They would have camped there for months to get that door to open, not 5 minutes. As if they were afraid to sleep in the dark outside?
And than to the name sake of the movie, hello Smaug, the stupendous, the magnificent! He looked amazing, the movements were spectacular, he is huge, the voice very smooth. Only ... where is that plate of gold and jewels on his chest? That's one of the things I took most from the book. That crust of jewels with the one patch missing. Now there is a patch missing, but that was damaged during his previous attack on Dale.
The scene in the mountain is very spectacular, a slow build up with Bilbo and Smaug and later with the dwarves a high speed chase through the mountain. Getting to see much more of the inside of Erebor this time around. Although I thought the scene with the golden statue was a bit overdone, I loved the effect it gave on Smaug!
And than finally the ending, how unfair! I think I could hear Peter Jackson giggling somewhere in the back. A major build up to one of the major events of the movie and than ... end credits. I was like a fish on the dry, gasping for air. How unfair. Or, how very clever, because now I have to see the next movie (as if I wasn't going to).
All in all, a fun action filled movie. But don't expect a book adaptation.