Fans of the timeless Middle Earth books by J.R.R. Tolkien and eager supporters of the successful The Lord of the Rings cinematic trilogy are impregnating theaters in hopes of experiencing a film that revives the name of Peter Jackson and the busted street rep of Wingnut films. Committed fans will most likely continue to pack theaters worldwide and take The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug into the box office limelight by earning the title of “#1 Movie in America” or perhaps even the world. And while we can speculate on what the greatness of expected profits may bring, we should specifically share thoughts on whether or not the film has artistic merit. Does this second Hobbit film by Jackson & his Wingnut crew deliver the craved nectar of cinematic art that readers of Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings movie fans demand?
Well, maybe a little.
Just a little.
Ripping apart the film’s screenplay is too easy. Readers of Tolkien, of course, will be displeased that The Hobbit 2 wanders vastly down different roads than Tolkien’s original epic storyline. And it wanders like a well-meaning student with over-active imagination giving a book report presentation in front of the whole class—even though the unprepared student didn’t read the whole book, only the book’s synopsis and a few selected chapters.
Viewers of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug will experience yet another over-hyped holiday season blockbuster that is filled with farcical moments that birth constant disappointment. What viewers will find is something that barely reaches mediocrity. It’s an over-sensationalized romp of impossibilities. When viewing fantasy, sure, audiences will suspend their disbelief. But it’s preposterous to assume viewers will suspend their disbelief for every sensationalized battle scene, escape scene, and so on.
No evaluator, however, should give an under-researched, yet over-imaginative student a low presentation grade just because he strayed that far from the book. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug gets an “A+” for profit and marketing, but Jackson and his Wingnut crew get a “C-” for cinematic art.
Grading rubric available upon request.
Copyright © 2013, Tony R. Rodriguez, Examiner.com