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2.22.14 The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Film Comments 23, “Inside Information,” Part 2)

2.22.14 The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Film Comments 23, “Inside Information,” Part 2)

The Hobbit- The Desolation of Smaug (New LIne Cinema-Warner Bros., 2013)

The Hobbit- The Desolation of Smaug (New LIne Cinema-Warner Bros., 2013)

Good Morning, Everyone!

 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit (2013 version, w/art by Jemima Catlin)

J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit (2013 version, w/art by Jemima Catlin)

On my second cup of coffee on a Saturday morning, made rounds of the news feeds, and making a dash into fantasy-land here before tackling various op-ed pages!  Groan.  Just read about events and possibly approaching civil war in Ukraine…besides ongoing crisis in Syria, and all of the other hotspots on the planet, I really shouldn’t start the day with reading the news; however, always feel as if the day I don’t scan the news feeds will be the day that they’re lighting up with warnings of an approaching asteroid… ! Know that, regardless of news, one of the bright spots of my day will be reading The Hobbit to my son, Seth, whose sister Adriana gave him a new version of the book with wonderful art by UK artist, Jemima Catlin.  (Catlin also illustrated this year’s 2014 Tolkien calendar — an annual Christmas gift from my wife, Sophia — so as I open the office, “x” off yesterday’s calendar box, and get the day started, I’ve got Tolkien on the mind!)

2014 Tolkien Calendar, The Hobbit

2014 Tolkien Calendar, The Hobbit

Bilbo wakens the dragon...

Bilbo wakens the dragon…

Allowing for the world’s troubles, I’m still very glad to hit the weekend, hang out with the family, work on some research & newest book, and reach my final blogs about Peter Jackson’s 2013 film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit.  For those of you just joining the show (welcome Twitter newbies!), I’m a dedicated Tolkien fan, & I’ve been assessing the 2nd film in Jackson’s new Middle-Earth trilogy, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.  Approach is to (1) give to give a chapter-by-chapter sketch of main events as Tolkien wrote them in The Hobbit, (2) do the same thing for section of film that inspired Jackson and his co-screenwriters, and then (3) write a blog or two on my own thoughts about the cinematic adaptation.

Jackson setting up a doomed friendship... (Martin Freeman & Richard Armitage)

Jackson setting up a doomed friendship… (Martin Freeman & Richard Armitage)

SO, given that this December’s There and Back Again will canvass Chapters 13-19 of Tolkien’s book, here are the plot-points of Jackson’s film that adapt “Chapter 12: Inside Information.”

— Thorin sends Bilbo into the Lonely Mountain to seek the Arkenstone, and Balin accompanies the hobbit for a bit of the way; upon reaching the first hall, Bilbo is dumbstruck by the size of the place and the hoard of treasure that the dragon has amassed in the central area, and then begins his attempt at thievery…

Holmes & Watson...oops, Smaug & Bilbo! (Benedict Cumberbatch & Martin Freeman)

Holmes & Watson…oops, Smaug & Bilbo! (Benedict Cumberbatch & Martin Freeman)

Bilbo makes some noise...

Bilbo makes some noise…

— Bilbo makes his way down and across the hoard, searching for the Arkenstone, and the noise he makes awakens Smaug, who begins to banter with Bilbo before trying to kill him; nice moments here with Bilbo trying not to use the One Ring, then losing the ring (!) regaining it, and viewer treated to size of hoard and gargantuan presentation of Smaug (with wonderful character voice & mannerisms imparted by Cumberbatch)

Bard's Children (Peggy Nesbit, Mary Nesbit, & John Bell)

Bard’s Children (Peggy Nesbit, Mary Nesbit, & John Bell)

Legolas (Orlando Bloom)

Legolas (Orlando Bloom)

— scene shifts to Lake Town, where Bolg and his orc-party have found the dwarves (Oin, Fili, Bofur) tending the wounded Kili in Bard’s house (assisted by Bard’s daughters); the orcs burst into the  house, but Legolas and Tauriel appear to drive them away, and Legolas pursues those who escape while Tauriel remains behind to tend to Kili

Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly)

Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly)

— Legolas pursues remaining members of orc party to edge of Lake-Town and fights with Bolg, finally driving him off; with Tauriel nowhere in sight (she’s healing Kili via a spell similar to what we saw Arwen use to stabilize Frodo at ford in FotR), Legolas last seen pursuing Bolg across the bridge that leads into lands around Long Lake

Thorin & Co. have much more active role than in Tolkien's work (where Smaug was dead by time they entered Erebor!)

Thorin & Co. have much more active role than in Tolkien’s work (where Smaug was dead by time they entered Erebor!)

— meanwhile, shudders heard through mountain make a worried Balin convince Thorin and dwarves to help Bilbo, and the company enters the great hall only to meet a hobbit in full flight from the enraged Smaug; Thorin orders the group to split up and meet at the forges

Smaug & Symbol of Dwarf Might (& Greed...both turn out to be mercurial!)

Smaug & Symbol of Dwarf Might (& Greed…both turn out to be mercurial!)

— the dwarves succeed in eluding Smaug and drawing him to the forges, where his fire reignites the great vats and furnaces, and then Thorin and Bilbo get Smaug into a part of Erebor whose hall has a gigantic golden statue of Thrain (reveal and statue not in the original Tolkien work, and will discuss this aspect in tomorrow’s blog…)

The Dragon Smaug (New Line Cinema, 2012)

The Dragon Smaug (New Line Cinema, 2012)

— the statue melts thanks to the forge-fires, drenches & briefly submerges Smaug but doesn’t kill him; he shakes off the molten liquid, takes to the sky and heads toward Lake-Town; film ends with a concerned Bilbo wondering aloud “What have we done?”

Next Time:  My thoughts on Jackson’s Adaptation (both Chapter 12 and film…)

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