“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” suffers from many of the problems of Part 1, the biggest of which is that it is way too long. Other issues it shares with its predecessor: it is CGI heavy; it comes across as a children’s movie; though it is slightly darker than the first (having a PG-13 rating to the PG rating of Part 1) some scenes seem straight from a Disney movie (e.g. Legolas barrel and dwarf head hopping as he chases the orcs down the river).
My first goal as part of my “Race to 40!” challenge is to:
•Post to my blog at least once per day;
It’s 23:50 PST here in Vancouver, so I’m cutting it VERY close, but I’ve got it done! Wouldn’t it have been terrible if I messed up at the first hurdle; it happens sometimes, but it would have been extremely poor planning on my part. Fortunately, I wrote half of this post before I headed out to the Vancouver Pixel Crafters Startup Drinks event so even though it was raining and I missed my Skytrain stop on the way back (Mr. Murphy rears his ugly head again!), I still got home in time to get this post completed and out 🙂
Right off the bat, I want to make it clear that I am a huge fan of all of Tolkien’s written works related to the Lord of the Rings (LOTR) cycle. Yes, I’ve read the “Silmarillion” and even “The Book of Lost Tales”. But the magic started when my 5th-grade teacher, Mrs. Riegel, read The Hobbit to our class waaaay back in 1987. We were enthralled and spellbound as Bilbo was co-opted on the mission to reclaim the dwarves’ home by Gandalf the wizard. Each chapter introduced new creatures, new parts of Middle Earth and new adventures. Through each, the affable hobbit is transformed from someone who only thinks about the food in his larder to someone with true ingenuity, grit, and spine who cares deeply about his friends.
Needless to say, when it was announced that Peter Jackson would follow up his brilliant LOTR trilogy with The Hobbit I was thrilled. Immediately, I was taken back to my childhood, looked forward to reliving Bilbo’s journey once again.
Unfortunately, following the end of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey I was left with mixed feelings and a fair amount of bitterness that Peter Jackson had tainted this idyllic memory of mine by making a bloated big budget blockbuster instead of an enchanting hero’s story focused on the character development of Bilbo.
I unapologetically admit, House of Cards is one of my favourite TV shows. The first time I watched House of Cards was while I was washing dishes; I must have washed the same plate twelve times as I was instantly sucked into the high drama of US politics and the world of Frank Underwood, the House Whip, betrayed by the President when he is looked over for the role of Secretary of State. I am happy to say, that Season 4 continues to thrill and keep viewers on tenterhooks.
Season 4 picks up from Season 3 where we see the Underwood’s marriage on the verge of a breakdown. Claire feels unappreciated and is tired of her ambitions playing second fiddle to Frank’s. Or perhaps it is a calculated power play on Claire’s part, waiting till Frank is deep in the election cycle before making her move – literally, moving out to her family home in Texas – knowing the she has Frank’s balls and presidential aspirations on the chopping block. With virtually no experience or credentials for the role, Claire wants to be VP. Frank (barely) survives an assassination attempt and eventually sees the light; Claire is too strong and clever to crush like his other political opponents. After they are reconciled the Underwood’s, as they do, find a torturous way to make this (almost) impossible goal become reality. The Democrat ticket for the 2016 race will be Underwood and Underwood!
Warning Spoilers Ahead!
What a powerful start to the movie. Seeing the destruction of Metropolis and Gotham city – a clever touch, placing the two cities across the water from each other – from the perspective of a human on the ground. Gods battling in the sky, Superman vs. Zod, pummelling each other through buildings and searing each other with heat rays; all to the sound of the Kryptonian world engine as it pulses energy into the ground shattering the city and the belief that we, puny humans, are in control of our destiny. God’s walk fly amongst us.
This reminder of our mortality as he watches Wayne Tower come down in a plume of dust, eerily reminiscent of 9-11, is what drives Bruce Wayne on his mission of ultimate risk management; Superman must be destroyed. Trusting that this alien god being, Superman, is good is not enough; if there is even the slightest possibility that Superman operates by his own rules, it is too much of a liability for the safety of the human race.
Author / Film Critic M. M. Leonard (https://mmleonard.com) and I will be bringing you a new series where we debate the merits and demerits of various films. We will let you, based on the comments below the debates, decide who won. We will try to keep this going until it goes 15 rounds or one of us gets knocked out…so please read our reviews and get commenting 🙂
As someone who only occasionally watches movies, I very much consider myself the underdog in this fight, but hey, so was Rocky right? I did take one film appreciation class 20 years ago so time to put it to good use.
Though I despise having to pick favorites or rank things, I realize “Top 5 / Top 10” type lists work well with blog posts. As such, I’m taking a stab at a “Top 5 Favourite Movies” posts by way of an introduction to my tastes in movies. I think you will find they are quite eclectic.