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The Hobbit The Desolation Of Smaug back to reviews
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On Tauriel and Thranduil
While Unexpected Journey was no cinematic masterpiece, I found it entertaining and genuinely engaging. Desolation of Smaug, however, did not have the same energy, mainly due to being the middle film, unnecessary screentime slowing down the plot, and Smaug not actually being destroyed. Say it with me: COP-OUT.

One quip to get out of the way: Thranduil's characterization. Tolkein had him as a complex, nuanced character beloved by his people in a Both Sides Have a Point conflict with Thorin. Jackson has him as an outright greedy, "ill-tempered" snob. While Jackson's portrayal of Thranduil is not without decency, it viewed as though amplifying Thranduil's flaws while decreasing Thorin's, thus simplifying Thranduil to a villain to pander to the Lowest Common Denominator.

The main issue with this movie is Tauriel, solely included to give women representation in the films. Irresponsible, unprofessional, and completely unbelievable as the captain of the guard, her character was a huge disappointment. Jackson's fanfic-like execution of Tauriel gives reason to believe women would be better off remaining invisible in Middle-Earth if Tauriel was supposed to be the ideal female.

As the lone main female character of the films and not created by Tolkein, Tauriel will obviously be under much scrutiny by viewersand held to different standards than the male characters. The writers seemed to realize this, and tried to make her extremely talented in various fields as an example of Positive Discrimination; unfortunately, Tauriel instead just comes across as a generic female character whose bland personality was generated by a checklist of traits that allowed her to succeed at everything she tried. To be honest, I think would have been refreshing if Tauriel could exist as a female and be seen as just another warrior/ally by the male characters rather than an object of lust and conflict.

However, the true problem isn't so much with her depiction as much as the time alloted to her. Tauriel and her various overblown romances dominate the screen to the point that Bilbo feels Out of Focus in his own movie.

That's not to say there is nothing to like about this film; Luke Evans as Bard in particular gives a great performance. But the consistent shoehorning in of movie subplots at the expense of the actual books plots can be very irritating.
I really don't agree on 'cop out', because for the third film, they'd have to raise the entire Battle of the Five Armies as the climax and drag it out. That wouldn't exactly work imo, so two smaller-but-still-important climaxes will work well, using Smaug's death as the first one.

Second, Thranduil is only a 'villain' so much that he won't help them. I don't know where you got greedy, but his only ill-tempered moment was after Thorin's insult, which hit the fact that he should have suicidally fought the dragon... when his hidden burn marks are clearly a painful reminder why that's NOT a good idea. Otherwise, he's as calm and snobby as the usual elf type. And that burn mark was an interesting twist at that.

And yes, Tauriel is a Base Breaker, but she's not "irresponsible, unprofessional and unbelievable". -_- Doing the overall right thing, even when everyone else is against you, is frequently a good thing in media. Unprofessional? Is it unprofessional to defy orders that aren't wise, such as 'doing nothing'? Not imo. And when you think unbelievable, remember that while she is young for an elf (300-600), that's still far more years of training and practice than humans can dream about. In that regard, she's an elvish Sam, of sorts

And it's not romances; they're hints only, as characters tell her who likes her, who they like, and who she 'should' like. She has yet to actually choose, and her answers have been generally non-committal.
comment #22888 omegafire17 15th Jan 14
I think the movies come across better if you append an imaginary "Loosely based on the book by JRR Tolkien" to the title. Tauriel was unnecessary, but really only the tip of the iceberg.
comment #22915 luomo 17th Jan 14
I liked Tauriel...
comment #23119 Lucymae2 5th Feb 14
Tauriel had already left to go after the Dwarves when Legolas relays his fathers orders to seal the gates and let no one in or out.

Assuming she left as soon as Thranduil dismissed her from the orc interrogation then she left before any orders were given and technically an order must be given before it can be defied. If Legolas hadnt caught up to her she could have defended all of her actions as being unaware/ignorant of her kings order.
comment #23743 Merlanthe 8th Apr 14
I completely forgot Taueriel was even in the movie until I read this review. Just goes to show how bland and forgettable she was.
comment #23744 Mr.Movie 8th Apr 14
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