16 December 2013

This could have been an early review, as I watched the film right on its premiere night in Madrid, but in the torment of events I could not allocate the needed time for this post. Is it better than AUJ? Is it more like LOTR? Considering that AUJ was pure bliss to me, I can only say about DoS that it is equally stunning, but in a very, very different way.

The editing is much closer to LOTR, the succession of thrilling events is spectacular, the details are too many to remember after just one viewing. Finally we see Smaug in full and there is a lot of it. Wonderful!

Attention, heavy spoilers begin.

  • The opening scene is gold. It's taken straight from my most daring dreams and from The Quest for Erebor/The Appendices. It is beyond delightful to see Thorin's meeting with Gandalf at The Prancing Pony, all bearing some obvious similarities with the Aragorn scene in the same location. Great way to start it!

  • Beorn comes in quickly. Serious action begins really soon and the pace rarely slows down throughout this film. The bad guys Azog, Bolg and the Necromancer also make an entrance very soon. The Mirkwood scenes, especially those with the spiders, are well crafted, thrilling and rendered in a unique way.

  • Legolas, Tauriel and Kili - In all honesty, I found myself enjoying this triangle, although I was strongly opposing the presence of the new feminine character. However, Tauriel does find her place in the story, acts in a decent manner, metaphorically slaps Legolas when he doesn't care about the fate of the world and has a strong sense of purpose. The only down side is that Kili seems way too much into her and that feels sort of overplayed. In any case, Kili playing it cool with Tauriel in the beginning was adorable. Smart boy, he really gets to melt her heart.
  • Bard is a well played character. Kudos to Mr. Luke Evans, he did a wonderful job and I could

empathise with Bard, even though he opposes Thorin (and Thorin is always right, keep that in mind, ok?). His confrontations with the Dwarf king make the story a lot more tense.

  • Laketown. Sit back and absorb its beauty. Laketown was made to be fascinating in such a different way. It is a city of humans, where poverty, ruin and apathy seem to reign, yet it has a fairytale feel to it. The snowfall is a great touch. Watching Laketown felt like truly witnessing the events of a childhood story. Also, the music is stunning here. Look for the track titled "Thrice Welcome" and you will know what I mean. Perfection.
  •  The amount of touching moments... If you are a fan, you might just cry a few times (hah, and we thought we'd be doing that only during the 3rd film!). Get your tissues out when Thorin has to leave Kili behind (and when Fili decides that he stays too, because he belongs next to his brother). Also, it is quite impressive when Thorin finally finds the entryway to Erebor - but alas, can't open the door! I could add also the moment when he finally enters the mountain... and so on...
  •  Bombur barrel fight machine got everyone in the theatre laughing.
Now allow me to discuss the one character that stole Bilbo's spotlight right from the trilogy's start: Thorin Oakenshield. Played by the much-loved Richard Armitage, who has been visibly involved a lot in creating this character, Thorin does not yet become the frightening, corrupt guy some feared he would become. Many scenes clearly depict his emotional side. He has difficult decisions to make, has moments of weakness and gets to feel terrible disappointment at times. Just watch him as he gets to the door to Erebor and as he enters the mountain (by the way, the cadavers inside are quite a horrifying sight).

DoS turns Thorin into an action hero also. As he meets Smaug, two great forces unleash. Here comes one great moment and I am very curious to know if it was really intended like that and if other viewers have also seen it this way. It is about the liquid gold statue the Dwarves make towards the end. At first you wouldn't know it's liquid and you see the magnificent statue of the King... but then it all collapses... a metaphor for Thorin's brief reign?... That was the way I saw it. I did not have to think of it, I just felt it instantly, which makes the film a lot more extraordinary.However, a friend delivered another interpretation, which I find equally fascinating: the scene shows that Thorin is immune to his father's gold sickness and he needs no gold idols.

By the way, remember Thorin's majestic armour from the early stills from trailers? That's just something the humans give him and not the actual armour he will be using. We will see that only with the next installment and now I am pretty sure it is going to be amazing.

As for picking the best moment, I have to copy Mr. Armitage and say it was the Thorin and Thranduil confrontation. Finally, some justice. I loved the way the noble Dwarf spat all his anger to the Elf's face - and it was nothing but the truth. The way he rages and shouts at Thranduil - much more than I expected - is liberating and delightful.

I leave you now with some photos from the Madrid events with Richard Armitage and Luke Evans, two most lovely British blokes.

Richard Armitage (Thorin)

Luke Evans (Bard)

Costumed Spaniards in the theatre after the screening of DoS

Richard and Luke at Premios 40 Principales in Madrid, one day after the premiere