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Jay Lake
Date: 2013-12-14 07:35
Subject: [movies] Frozen and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Security: Public
Tags:books, friends, movies, reviews
In the past week, I have managed to see both Frozenimdb ] and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaugimdb ].

My capsule reviews...

Frozen: Does for Nordic culture what Brave did for Celtic culture.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug: The Starship Troopers of fantasy movies. A feature film made from 2.5 chapters of a completely different book. Fun, though.

Slightly more detailed thoughts...

Unlike almost every other recent animated film nominally targeted at the children's demographic, Frozen really did not have an adult layer. A handful of specific jokes and lyrics, perhaps, but that's about it. This film relentlessly targets the 'Disney Princess' demographic. Also, as [info]elusivem pointed out to me, it was clearly written to become a Broadway show. The first half of the movie is almost nothing but show tunes numbers, and the voice cast are largely Broadway stars. As a movie-goer, I resent this with the same low-grade irritation that I resent movie scenes clearly intended to fuel the forthcoming video game. I want to watch a movie that was intended to make sense as a movie, not go see part of a multimedia, multichannel marketing vehicle.

As for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, yay Peter Jackson for having the money and the sponsorship to make eight or nine hours of Lord of the Rings fanfic. When I think about the book, these movies are such an utter waste of potential. (This is very nearly the opposite of my feelings about Jackson's Lord of the Rings films, mind you.) When I take them on their own terms, these movies are more entertaining than that complaint implies, though the second one is much better than the first. And it's mildly weird to see Legolas look decidedly middle-aged after his youthful appearance in a movie set decades later. You'd think Weta could have done something about that. Otherwise, I stand by my capsule review. This one is fun if you leave your memory of the book at home.

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User: ulfhirtha
Date: 2013-12-14 16:46 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Odd, my reaction to DoS is the reverse, perhaps because I only read the Hobbit after LOTR and after childhood, thus usually find it at best irritating (really? that tripe the "elves" sing at Rivendell?) but a nice precusor of the epic's similar structure. So I find the films, especially this one, a distinct improvement. The frame is there just fine, but there's a large amount of elaboration.
I agree that Legolas seems a bit odd, but Bloom is also 10 years more experienced an actor (which helps) and seeing his dad helps the film version's behavior make more sense.
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User: mcjulie
Date: 2013-12-14 16:53 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I agree with you so much about the second Hobbit movie -- except, even as fan fiction, I think the ending was a bit incomprehensible. I just couldn't tell what the dwarves were trying to DO, and I was hoping the big reveal would make it clear... and then it still wasn't clear.

I remain a bit disappointed that this isn't as good an adaptation of The Hobbit as the LOTR movies were of their books. I would have loved to see the book, pretty much as written, make it to the screen with the big budget and Jackson's sense of grandeur. But I suspect that will have to be done by somebody who hasn't already made LOTR -- because one of the things that prevents the Jackson Hobbit movies from being true to the book is that book LOTR was a sequel to book Hobbit, and movie Hobbit is treated as a prequel to movie LOTR. So it has flaws inherent to the nature of prequels.

Anyway, the made-for-TV 1977 Hobbit was also deeply flawed, but 11-year-old-me still fell in love with the story.
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User: mcjulie
Date: 2013-12-14 16:55 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Oh, also, it's funny that one of your complaints about Frozen was the lack of an adult layer, because that was also my biggest complaint about Brave.
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User: martianmooncrab
Date: 2013-12-14 18:29 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
pretty soon, technology will lend itself to the Fannish Cut of the movie, where the directors are ignored and fans make the movie that they want of the existant film.. Or, more like the book.
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User: tommy50702
Date: 2014-11-27 07:58 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
l agree with pretty much everything you said. l was starting to think l was the only one.
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