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What We Need to See in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
I’d call the first part of the Hobbit a success. It did a lot of things right and I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, but there are some things that I think need to be changed or improved upon as the trilogy continues. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was no Lord of The Rings, and it shouldn’t be. The Hobbit should be its own series, and if it’s going to be a good one, there are a couple of things we need to see in the second part of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.
Just from the title I think it’s safe to say that Bilbo and the Dwarves are going to make it through Mirkwood forest, find the town of Dale, and make their way to the base of the mountain. Otherwise, how is the troop supposed to see the “Desolation of Smaug?” And if they are going to fit that much of the book into the second movie, Peter Jackson needs to make sure everything has an adequate amount of screen time.
One part of the Hobbit I didn’t really enjoy was the constant one liners and witty rebuttals. Lord of the Rings did this in a tasteful way, and it was never the main focus of a scene, and while the Hobbit is a much more lighthearted tale, I think they focused too much on the humor. But, if Peter Jackson had this all planned out from the beginning, the humor of the first part of the Hobbit could be setting us up for the gloomy second part.
Mirkwood is the most depressing part of Bilbo’s adventure. Tolkien made it seem like the party was in the forest for an eternity. So, if Peter Jackson does the Mirkwood scenes right, and takes out the humor that was in the first movie, the dichotomy from one movie to the other is going to heighten the miserable feelings, and allow fans to connect more with Bilbo and the dwarves. It’ll make us understand the negative emotions the group has while trudging through the forest even better, a group that goes from constant light hearted jokes to silence and despair.
The Hobbit isn’t a book full of giant battles and combat; it’s a story of characters and the different groups that Bilbo meets. So Peter Jackson needs to make sure that each one has their adequate and fair amount of screen time. Bard, Beorn, the Wood Elves, the citizens of Dale… there are a lot of different characters that need to make an impression. It’s important that they all have their own little part of the movie, because honestly we don’t need any of these super cool characters left out (*ahem* like Tom Bombadil in Lord of the Rings).
Also, I think we need to see a little more of Bilbo, and see what’s going through his mind. The Hobbit isn’t a story of the dwarves or Gandalf, or even the dragon. It’s a story of Bilbo’s adventure, and while these are all part of it, the biggest task Bilbo has is overcoming his fear and building courage. The Hobbit was written from Bilbo’s point of view, so the movie needs to get in his head more. But in the first movie there was just as much focus on the rest of the characters, and some characters that weren’t even in The Hobbit.
There’s one final change we need to see in the second movie: get rid of the Lord of the Rings references. The Hobbit, while a precursor to Lord of the Rings, is an independent story. I understand the idea behind sticking Saruman and Galadriel into the movie, and referencing the return on Sauron, but that’s not part of Bilbo’s adventure. It’s just a way to hook Lord of the Rings fans into the movie, but this movie should be for fans of The Hobbit.
Sure, there are some things that could be changed, but there are also a lot of great things the first movie did that we all want to continue in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. First of all, Peter Jackson did a great job at highlighting each one of the dwarves. I still can’t name them all, but I know at least a little something about each one’s personality. It’s hard to make all thirteen dwarves have their own identity, especially in a movie full of constant action and adventure. But, if they continue to focus on each one of the dwarves I’ll continue to feel attached to Bilbo’s group.
Another part of the first movie that needs to continue in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is the songs and poetry. Tolkien’s books are filled with little traveling songs, sections of epics, mourning songs, and damn good poetry. The Lord of the Rings didn’t really capture this aspect of the books, but so far The Hobbit is doing a great job. If I can get the shivers like I did when the cast sung the Misty Mountain song at least one more time I’ll be happy.
There’s a lot we’re looking for in the second part of the Hobbit Trilogy. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug has a lot of shoes to fill. Fans will be comparing it not only to the book, but to the first movie and to Lord of the Rings. But, if Peter Jackson can make sure to follow these requests, I know there will be at least one ecstatic viewer in the theatres on opening night.