Ah, we've reached time to discuss the new film. Very well then, here I go...
WARNING! This will contain spoilers for not only this film, but the next one due to the fact that I read the book. If you haven't beware, I'm going to reveal several things to lend context to my views on parts of this film.
Click here to see the hidden message (It might contain spoilers)
Torn is the right word for this one because its basically the only way I can feel about this one.
The plus sides are numerous compared to the sluggish first installment with the action much more heavy in this film, and even though this will garner hate from a lot of purists its a good thing that this one is faster. Its more exciting, its more interesting, and it abandoned some instances of really bad CGI that the first film leaned on so heavily.
Let's discuss Smaug. First off he looks incredible and is possibly the best dragon existing on film, and he gets to show off a lot. Was I fond of the expanded scenes? Eh, not really. They looked incredible but they felt silly and unnecessary, it took a lot for me to think that he'd abandon trying to kill the dwarves after that fight (and after they'd exhausted their options) and instead burn a town when he could have both, and from their position they can't see him burn the city so I don't buy that either. His discussion with Bilbo initially remains amazing though, much like the 'Riddles in the Dark' sequence from last film.
Now...ugh...let's discuss Tauriel and the shoehorned-in love triangle that they felt the need to include. On this subject let us begin with Orlando Bloom. We get it, he's man-pretty, but his inclusion feels forced and its made worse by the fact that the inclusion of Gimli would have made more sense, or even Aragorn with his friendship with Gandalf. Either of them would have added more to the plot than the love-stricken Legolas chasing orcs to save a woman who is torn between both him and a dwarf that she found taller and more insightful than she thought the species was capable of. Tauriel herself isn't a wooden character, but she knows she's forced in. You can tell that even the writers weren't sure on this one but they tried anyway. We get that you have to feel for these dwarves, they don't have super distinct personalities outside of 3 or so and then 'the fat one' that get more time so making Kili emotionally standout is a decent idea, but forcing a romance with a character who is loved by a previous character feels like wearing a fedora on top of your beanie...its simply too much and not necessary to the point of looking silly sometimes. I didn't care for it and it just doesn't work for me.
The Necromancer subplot is ok, but it needs some work. Azog is now part of Sauron's forces, lending meaning to his plot, but he still feels like he's stealing thunder from both the Necromancer/White Council plot and the main story so all I'll say is that this better have a point. Necromancer itself is interesting and they're being polite about including it, but I feel that this will steal thunder from the Battle of the 5 Armies next film and if we jam 2 big battles into one movie we may get worn out by them (they won't top the final battle in Return of the King, trying to put both battles together next film could result in a cluster****). Overall I'm interested in this plot but won't be able to care about it till I see the final result.
This is very much a middle film. Parts of it work and parts of it don't, but I don't think that we need to judge too harshly till we can watch all 3 films at once instead of waiting for a year between viewings. I'll say I enjoyed this one for the most part but its basically fan fiction at this point due to being stretched to 3 films. Jackson has made clear that it is more important to do whatever it takes to get that third film and the huge amount of money it brings in. Its fine, but let's not call it anything other than what it is because other than the basic outline this film bears little resemblance to its source material and relies too much on its flash, not enough on its characters. Unless the 3rd film is just absolutely incredible these will cower in the shadow of the LotR trilogy.
For those who don't open the spoiler box I'll go ahead and post something basic here.
The bare bones of The Hobbit are there, but its fan fiction at this point. If you're a purist you'll hate this, if you're looking for consistency or more character work than we got in the first film you might like parts of it, but if you're a casual film-goer who is looking for a popcorn flick this will be a fun way to kill a Saturday afternoon. Its not a great film, its not a bad film, its watchable.
Perfection is a lifelong pursuit requiring sacrifice. The only way to get it quicker is to sacrifice the most.