Second Viewing: DOS

Thorin air guitarThorin playing Orcrist. Off camera of course!

I know I’m behind a lot of my comrades in the number of The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug viewings in the cinema. But I’m very happy I got to see it again yesterday with my brother and niece. They are major Tolkien fans, and I was looking forward to sharing the experience with them. They hadn’t seen it before.

     My niece’s boyfriend joined us as well. He is such a Tolkien fan that he skydived over NZ to visit LOTR filming sites! LOL! I trained my niece right!

Thorin overlook erebor

Thorin stands on the overlook to view the ruins of Dale: the Desolation of Smaug

     Thankfully, everyone loved the movie! My niece’s boyfriend had a few reservations about the changes Peter Jackson made to Tolkien’s story, but even he agreed the film worked. I have to say that I was again surprised that I had no problem with the changes. I really felt that the film worked well under its own terms. For what it is, it’s a really good thrill-ride movie. There is enough character development and plot movement to keep it on track, plus the over-the-top special effects of the elves fighting and the insanity of the dwarves in Erebor. Thorin surfing on a river of gold? I mean, really? Hilarious!!

river of gold

      I was paying special attention to Richard Armitage’s performance. Since I know so much about Thorin and Richard it was way less of the power I felt watching AUJ, when I didn’t know who the actor playing Thorin was. Nevertheless, I thought Mr. Armitage did an amazing job in this movie. His face is so expressive. You can see the various emotions in his face as he moves from scene to scene. And he pulled off the majestic persona in Laketown very naturally. I almost cried! Thorin coming back to reclaim his homeland! Of course, Bard was right and the dwarves would bring down death and destruction to Laketown, but we’ll see all that in the next movie. The Hobbit: There and Back Again, set to open December 17, 2014. Can’t wait!!

thorin DOS

Majestic Thorin!!

Again, I think that Peter Jackson deliberately included scenes that featured Thorin as a hero. That was clearly his intention, as I said in this posting about Peter Jackson: Genius. While the hobbit himself, Bilbo played by Martin Freeman, is an important focus, whose story sticks pretty closely to Tolkien’s story, Peter Jackson seems to be creating new and exciting features for Thorin, intended to show him off as a hero as well as Bilbo. PJ also expands Kili’s role way beyond what is in the book.

I’m sure all these changes will have a big payoff in There and Back Again, as we, the audience, have an increased interest in these characters, so their ultimate ends will wring our hearts dry. Certainly the Tauriel/Kili relationship is a set-up to enhance the levels of tragedy in the last film.

In this viewing I also paid attention to the Arkenstone. It seems clear that Bilbo has the stone, but doesn’t let Thorin know because of what Smaug said about the effect the stone would have on Thorin. Bilbo is trying to protect Thorin. <sigh> Now I know why I cried when I read The Hobbit so long ago. I am preparing myself for lots of tears next December.

So do you think Peter Jackson is a Richard Armitage fan, or is he just making changes to Thorin’s storyline to make a more exciting movie?

post script:  Microlina posted a Philippa Boyens interview on tumblr that explains a lot about the development of Thorin in DOS.

Thanks for the pictures.



From New York City. Anglophile, theater-goer, love books, music and LIFE.
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8 Responses to Second Viewing: DOS

  1. I’ve still only seen it once and because I was so overcome I don’t actually remember a lot of it! I’m going again next week to enjoy some brief PeltyGoodness before those pesky elves take it away. (Although the sack-type thing he wears works pretty well too – I will just say “arms” and we will leave it at that!)

  2. I think Richard intentionately sat down a lot with the writers and PJ to talk indeafenately (pun intended), using his thorough knowledge of Tolkien´s characters, especially Thorin´s drive, to add to his screen mileage – and good for him!

    • Marie Astra says:

      Thanks for the comment! Yes I agree. RA has said that they had a very collaborative approach to the character. I think it works well for the film. Although I know everyone doesn’t agree.

  3. My second part of my answer is that The Hobbit book to my opinion has three main characters, Bilbo, Gandalf and Thorin. I would have expected to see that return in the movie, but PJ said beforehand in his vidblogs and on FB that he added extra characters/cameos (and extra ensembles). I then expected that ´some´ cast members would feel left behind – and would fight more for their part. Although PJ had said that he would give each Dwarf his own character and make them more visible with authentic looks and persona in vocal reactions, I´ve read that even one of the group of 12 Dwarves, as it were the book´s original and intended ensemble, James Nesbitt asked for more screentime.

    Story-wise, this second part of a triplet movie, is showing Bilbo, Gandalf and Thorin with his Dwarves going from A to B, and having a merry time – ahem. Thorin as leader I had accepted as such in movie one, but in this second movie the character became more round, more whole to me, the minute I came to know he had flaws. I am not talking about the dragon gossiping to Bilbo on Thorin´s character – that was a nice build-up, but when it came to an conflict in public with Bard in front of the Lake-Towners, that was ´on the edge of my seat´ interesting. Bard was an added character (from other Tolkien books – the ´footnotes´)…

    (I have to write my own review still, based on one viewing).

    • Marie Astra says:

      The choices PJ made in adding original characters and storylines from outside the book made sense to me for a film. I found the whole film exciting and interesting in a way I didn’t with AUJ. The only part I had a problem with was Thorin giving up so easily at the door to Erebor. I didn’t really buy that. I love that “dragon gossip”. LOL!! Bad Smaug! And see what comes of that gossip – Bilbo makes a big decision about the Arkenstone. Can’t wait for TABA!!

  4. AgzyM says:

    And I thought our annual Christmas LOTR marathon meant we were hardcore fans, but your family has us beat 😉

    • Marie Astra says:

      When the FOTR came out, both my brothers and I took the day off from work and went to see it on the day it opened. I am older than them so it seems I influenced them greatly with my Tolkien love!! And my brother with his children! Yes!!

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