Movie-goer review of The Desolation of Smaug

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I’m going to do my best not to be a Debbie Downer, but I am really struggling here.

I recognize that hard core Tolkien fans likely have one opinion, while regular movie-goers have another. That said, I am going to give two separate reviews: one for the Tolkien fans and one for the movie goers.

As with any movie review, spoilers ahead.

For the Movie-Goers:
This review if for those who haven’t read the book and who are aren’t concerned about the Tolkien canon or whether it strayed from the book.

I am not a movie reviewer, so I will not attempt to analyze the pacing or the cinematography. What the heck is cinematography, anyway?

I have previously written about my frustration with the sensationalism that plagues a great many films.

My biggest frustration with the The Desolation of Smaug was cartoon-like battle scenes whereby none of the combatants were affected by the laws of physics.

Some of you will undoubtedly argue that this is a fantasy film and we shouldn’t expect any sort of realism.

Not true.

If there are no rules, then why didn’t Thorin and company pull out their wands and say ‘Accio broom stick.’ They could have flown to the Lonely Mountain. A better idea would be for Bilbo to have crept up on Smaug, pulled out his light saber, and taken off his head.

There are rules in fantasy worlds, and they are generally governed by the world itself. For example, Batman is fully human and must be governed by what is possible for a rich, athletic man, using technology.

Captain America is human, but his DNA has been augmented.

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He is several times more powerful than a regular man. But if Captain America suddenly jumped to the top of a 400’ building, it would seem silly.

Another might argue, it’s just a movie. Don’t over analyze it. Sorry, but the believability of a movie is what makes it seems real. When The Hunt for Red October came out, it was so realistic that our government wondered if the author had revealed classified information.

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No, movie goers aren’t going to ignore it when a movie’s action sequences devolve into a cartoon-like session of Kung-Fu pandas who regularly ignore the laws of physics.

If you are not a Tolkienite, and can get over the ridiculousness of the actions scenes, you will probably be impressed by several things:

  • The way the film connects itself to the LOTR trilogy.
  • The story line of the rise of Sauron.
  • The beautiful CG that is Smaug the dragon.
  • Howard Shore’s musical score. (The soundtrack is on my Christmas list.)

In the end, if you are not burdened by my frustrations, you might just enjoy the film.

I give it 4/5 stars for being a grand, breathe-taking adventure–but with some Pokemon fight scenes.


If you are interested in Howard Shore’s soundtrack, check out this affiliate link:


Movie-goer Review:
Tolkien Fan Review:

Learn the academic side of The Hobbit

The new Hobbit film came out yesterday. I’m going to see it tomorrow with a group of friends.


If you are really interested in the Hobbit, I suggest you follow The Tolkien Professor, Corey Olsen. Not only is his passion for Tolkien painfully obvious, he is an evangelist for the cause. As a professor, he offers audio, video, and published resources for those interested in the all things Middle Earth.

If you love the Hobbit, his lectures are a good place to start. You can download them here:

I highly recommend them. I have listened to them twice and have enjoyed every minute of it. They are also free.

If you want to take things further, Professor Olsen actually started a college called Mythguard Institute. They are in the process of accreditation and offer master degrees for those who want to study English literature (like Tolkien) at an academic level. Here is a link to the Mythguard Institute.

Last year, Professor Olsen published a book on his research of the Hobbit. It can be purchase here:

There is so much to learn that will enrich your enjoyment of Tolkien’s work. I follow Professor Olsen and look forward to learning from his research.


Offending Multiple Geeks on Multiple Counts



Disney, Han shot first!

Unless you are a fantasy Luddite, you’ve heard the news: George Lucas sold his Star Wars franchise for over…

Yup. Over four billion.

For years Star Wars fans have been up in arms about Lucas’ artistic license, like changing episodes 4-6, and creating episodes 1-3. We need not even mention Jar-jar or the Ewoks. In fact, the fervor against Lucas has culminated into a documentary called, The People Vs. George Lucas. Check it out:

A moment of transparency is in order. On May 19th, 2005, after watching Revenge of the Sith for the first time, I walked out of the theater, headed into a bathroom stall, and wept.

True story.

My childhood dreams had been shattered. All I wanted was to see Vader hunt down the Jedi, as Obi-Won mentioned in A New Hope. Instead, all I got was, ‘NOOOooooooooo!”

Nonetheless, for the time being the franchise is safely out of Lucas’ hands. Let’s hope Disney can do a better job.

I have an idea, though.

I know the chances of a writer working for the Disney/Abrams team actually reading this blog are as about as good as my midichlorian count jumping past 50, but here it is:

Han shot first!

Han shot first!

How fantabulous would it be to see an opening scene in Episode 7 where two mysterious figures are wandering through the alley behind an off world bar? They are cloaked in the typical Star Wars dirty brown, potato sack weave.

While about their secret business, a shifty-eyed Rodian follows them (A Rodian is the race of Greedo). As they shuffle through the alley way, the Rodian gets closer and closer, drawing a pistol.

At the sound of the pistol being drawn from the hardened leather holster, one of the hooded figures shifts his head to the side, as if he heard the sound (a la Indiana Jones).

Suddenly, the cloaked figure drops to his knees, pulls out a blaster reminiscent of a Mauser C96, and blasts the Rodian before he can even cock his gun.

The cloaked figure steps into the light, pulls off his hood, revealing an aged, but still dangerous Han Solo.

<Audience cheers.>

Surveying the smoking corpse, the other mysterious figure pulls off his hood. It’s Luke Skywalker, Jedi Master.

“Why did you shoot first?” Luke asks.

“I always shoot first” says Han, in his typical B.A. style.

<Audience cheers again>

<Hardcore fans wet themselves>

Hey, a Star Wars fan can dream.


Oh, here’s a funny video. I don’t want my kids growing up in a world where Greedo shot first.

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