THIS CONTAINS SPOILERS. You have have been warned.
And yes, I did go see part two of the Hobbit tonight. Given that my normal venting buddy decided to go to bed (LAME), I decided to use this as an opportunity to brush up on my writing skills. And to vent. All kinds of venting.
First--and this cannot be understated--the movie was awesome. I pulled a Thor at the end of the movie, standing up and announcing, "I like this movie. ANOTHER!" I thought it stayed pretty true to the spirit of the book, and even the additions that were added *cough*Legolas*cough* were freaking amazing. To tell the truth, I was originally kind of ticked off that Legolas got added, but after seeing his fight scenes, I was sold. They were almost as good as Ironman's fight scenes (and from me, that is high praise indeed). My favorite part about them was that, unlike most fights, he didn't rely on just one weapon, nor did he stay in roughly the same ten feet of space. He was all over the freaking place, using his hands, feet, knives, and bow depending on where he was and what his surroundings were. Given that I try to practice combat like that, I can appreciate the level of difficulty involved in trying to even imagine such a fight, let alone do it or film it. (I don't care if they used CG and photoshopped Legolas' face in, it was brilliant.) The female elf that was introduced with Legolas, Tauriel, was pretty good herself.
I will say one thing about Tauriel, though--I don't really know what the point of having her there even was. I thought originally that she was going to have something going on with Legolas, but there appear to be hints of some cross-species romance going on between her and one of the dwarves, which I think is unnecessary and kinda stupid. It also eats up WAY more screen time than it should--I mean, come on, we could either have a few more minutes of freaking DRAGON BREATHING FIRE or we could watch two different species try to sort out romantic feelings. Granted, I am a guy, but still. Useless much?
Back to awesome: words can't justify how amazing Smaug was. Honestly, I can't imagine how he could have possibly gotten any better. Kudos to his designers. He was basically almost exactly as I imagined him, except that in my imagination he had front legs separate from his wings. A minor detail.
Hmm, let's see...oh, right. I know the producers wanted this to be a big lead-up into the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but they probably could have just left that part of it alone. They introduced Sauron (or at least his eye) and Gandelf got trapped again...seriously, that guy needs to invest in some jailbreaking spells. I seem to recall him being slightly more capable in the books. Also, I spent a considerable portion of my time yelling at Bilbo for being stupid, mostly when dealing with Smaug. I mean, come on dude--you are facing down a fire-breathing dragon that really wants to eat you, step on you, char-broil you, or in some way reduce you down to your component atoms, and the first thing you do is take the ring off for a CHAT?? I mean, maybe you get some courage points for that, but you then spend the rest of the movie pretty much forgetting that you have it with you? IT MAKE YOU INVISIBLE. THAT'S KIND OF AN ASSET THAT YOU NEED, BUDDY. PUT THE RING ON. It's not scheduled to corrupt you until the first Lord of the Rings movie, anyway.
Also of note: I think the dwarves should NOT have charged out for a death-or-glory confrontation and then retreated AWAY from their exit. Bad tactical decisions, guys. On the other hand, you made up for it in the furnace room (I'm a sucker for mechanics).
Oh, and interesting tactical decision...by the producers, to end the movie on a cliffhanger like that. It's a good thing I read the book and know what's gonna happen next, or I would have probably hurled something at the screen. Like the chair I was sitting on. I don't care if it's bolted to the floor--I HATE CLIFFHANGERS.
And the spiders were amazingly scary. I about crapped myself. Well done, animators. That's gonna haunt me in my nightmares.
Still, overall, it's a great movie. Go watch it. And I don't want to hear ANYTHING about me spoiling the movie for you, because I warned you at the beginning of this article and you're still reading.
"I like this movie. ANOTHER!"