Saturday Morning Opinions: Hobbit Production Diary #12 and Trailer #2

The Hobbit - The Desolation Of Smaug Movie Guide - Luke Evans

Despite my hot-and-cold reaction to The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, my excitement for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug has been ramping up. Some of it is the inclusion of baby!Bilbo in the extended edition of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, some of it is the prospect of elves (including Tauriel) in Desolation of Smaug, and some of it is the fact that Peter Jackson’s vision of Middle-Earth will always be near and dear to my heart. All of which is to say, it’s time for a frame-by-frame reaction to both the new diary and the new trailer.

  • 0:18: Elven combat! Jackson’s fluid, art nouveau elves were a major influence on my preteen imagination, so I’m happy to see them again.
  • 0:23: A foley artist records coin sounds for Smaug’s cave. Part of my beef with the first film was how CGI it is, so I really love seeing such tactile, low-tech things as “record yourself throwing a basketball at coins for an hour” being integral to the process.
  • 0:43: TERRIFYING SPIDERS.
  • 1:11: Orcs in Laketown!
  • 1:14: Thranduil kicks some butt, to Lee Pace’s delight.
  • 1:34: Legolas dashes off to action, leaving what I assume will be an unnamed guard with a speaking role behind.
  • 1:48: Christian Rivers starts telling the story of how he’s been involved with Peter Jackson and Wingnut since he was eighteen. Adorable.
  • 1:57: Despite the indelicate situation, greaser Jed Brophy shall not pass without comment. Good look for that guy.
  • 2:52: We never did get an official blooper reel for The Lord of the Rings (here’s one that’s surfaced), so seeing Ian McKellen curse and muck up a take as Gandalf is awesome. As is Sylvester McCoy remaining firmly in character.
  • 3:37: As I and my dear friend Natalya dressed up as Fili and Ori for our midnight screenings of the first film, this made me smile when I saw it.
  • 4:13: I’m really looking forward to seeing the scale work done for the characters, now that the dwarves are traveling in the realms of elves and men. It just makes the world feel more real.
  • 5:38: The Mirkwood guard is co-ed! I mean, obviously, it is with Tauriel, but the fact that she’s one of many and not an exception makes my heart swell.
  • 6:52: Lilly goofing around as Tauriel. Given how this is pretty much how I’ve been jokingly characterizing Tauriel in my head (just without the driving Lindir insane part), I dig it. Of course, this also reveals that there’s some sort of Tauriel/Legolas plot going on, which I am not really about.
  • 7:03: Martin Freeman points out the potential of Thranduil’s set. (Fanfiction in three… two… one…) It looks like they’re either filming a scene where Tauriel brings Bilbo to Thranduil (unlikely) or a scene where an invisible Bilbo stumbles across Tauriel and Thranduil having a private conversation, presumably about the fact that she’s into Lindir and not Legolas. (…it started off as a crack pairing. Now I want it for real.)
  • 7:40: More goofing off in Thranduil’s chambers. I’ve never seen LOST, but I like Evangeline Lilly! She seems fun.
  • 7:53: Benedict Cumberbatch turns up on his way to do work on Smaug.
  • 8:10: This reminds me of the story about Ewan McGregor providing his own sound effects for his lightsaber in the Star Wars prequels.

  • 0:03: A hellishly evocative opening—I adore this music. Very appropriate for dawn at Laketown.
  • 0:19: A dwarven family tree, complete with portraits.
  • 0:28: Bard is astonished that the song is coming true. Marvelous bit of acting from Luke Evans.
  • 0:36: Bard’s daughters, further bolstering the lady ranks of Desolation of Smaug.
  • 0:39: A wounded Gandalf!
  • 0:50: Talking about scale… it’s just great to see Thorin dominating with the sheer force of his personality, versus his height. It gives the world weight and tactility.
  • 1:11: And then we’re right back to CGI-faced orcs. I realize it’s an efficency thing, but it just feels too light and unreal.
  • 1:22: Tauriel lays down some logic on Legolas. Oh, sweet Roger Ebert in heaven, don’t let her die to give him motivation to join the Fellowship.
  • 1:24: Dwarven sculpture!
  • 1:42: I think the pre-vis for this sequence is in the above production diary, actually…
  • 1:45: That is quite a bow.
  • 1:50: Legolas fighting in Laketown.
  • 1:52: Unnamed guard blows the horn of danger.
  • 1:55: Meanwhile, the wizards side-quest.
  • 2:09: Thorin gets dark. This is, incidentally, a line included in the film’s theme song, “I See Fire.
  • 2:12: Tauriel executes an awesome and very stupid stunt, where she avoids a club by throwing herself under it, directly through its trajectory.
  • 2:14: Oh, yeah, she’s proud of herself.
  • 2:19: This is a stunning shot, and I’m still not exactly sure what’s going on in it. It looks like Bilbo falling into a river, so perhaps this is in Mirkwood?
  • 2:44: Benedict Cumberbatch’s voice work is stellar, as predicted.

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