We both liked the look of Saving Mr. Banks, the story of Walt Disney’s 20-year campaign to persuade Mary Poppins author, P. L. Travers, to sign over the movie rights, and the author’s involvement in the process of taking her book from page to screen.
However, much as we love all things Disney, in our house, Hobbits trump magical governesses any day of the week, so we opted for The Desolation of Smaug.
WARNING: HERE THERE BE SPOILERS!
As with the LoTR trilogy, I thought all the changes/omissions/additions made for the movie version fitted in well. The second movie opens with a flashback, complete with Peter Jackson (plus carrot), in his traditional Hitchcock cameo. We see Gandalf and Thorin at the Prancing Pony in Bree. The scene does a great job explaining why the dwarf who would be king needs a burglar, as opposed to an army.
Later, at Dale, it was good to see more of Bard than we saw in the book. Also, the introduction of iron harpoons as the movie’s version of Bard’s dragon-killing black arrows makes a lot more sense.
I was pleasantly surprised to find the romance between Kili and the she-elf, Tauriel, worked just fine – perhaps because I’d watched the deleted Rivendell dinner scene in the extended version of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
There was plenty more to enjoy, including: The spiders of Mirkwood (eek!); Stephen Fry as the Master of Dale, and of course, Smaug the impressive.
I love Peter Jackson’s over the top approach to fight scenes – In King Kong, the gorilla’s battle with the T-Rex trio remains one of my all-time favorites – so I was looking forward to see what he did with the barrel riding scene. He didn’t disappoint.
Lol, out loud movie moments include: Legolas’ reaction when he sees drawings of Gloin’s wife and son (a young Gimli); Bombur’s barrel-rolling, Ninja impression; Legolas’ unusual approach to white-water rafting; Dwalin’s head-in-the-toilet appearance; the unfortunate orc who thought he was out of danger when he made it to the row boat beneath Bard’s window.
Overall, I’d give this movie a 9/10, which is a half-point up from An Unexpected Journey. Definitely looking forward to the DVD, the extended edition DVD, and of course, the third movie.
How about you?
What movies have you seen recently?