Before I start, I should give a bit of background about what exactly The Hobbit (the book) means to me.
Without a doubt, The Hobbit is the book that shaped my love of storytelling, reading, fantasy, travel, adventure, etc. In short, The Hobbit, more than anything else, helped to shape me into who I am today.
That being said, from the beginning I was leery about a film adaptation of it. As far as the first movie is concerned, I was mostly ok with it, apart from the silliness of Radagast the Brown’s bunny sled and some other things. Other than those, the first Hobbit movie kept to the source material well enough.
The Desolation of Smaug, however…ugh. Now, a lot of people may call me a snob for this, but I’ve always been of the opinion that when you’re making a movie based off of a book, the rule should be to NEVER ADD, JUST SUBTRACT.
Legolas was certainly, well, probably present in Mirkwood when Thorin and Company find themselves there, but was never named, or even mentioned in the book. I get it, though. His being in the movie is a way for Peter Jackson to flesh out the elves and give them some character beyond the dickishness of King Thranduil. Fine, whatever. I’m sure Orlando Bloom needed the work.
However, what I can’t forgive is the half-assed love story between Kili. a Dwarf who, in the book barely has any characterization beyond his name, and an elf who DOESN’T EVEN EXIST in any of the Tolkien source material.
I understand the reasoning behind the character of Tauriel — If I recall, there’s not a single female character in The Hobbit, I’m fine with her being the captain of Mirkwood’s guards, and God (or whoever) knows I’m a fan of Evangeline Lilly. Yowza. But the love story, however, is as poorly crafted as it is unnecessary.
Which brings us to the scenes in Lake-town. The town itself looks just about exactly as I had imagined it, so no problems there. The character of Bard the Bowman is played by someone who looks a dark haired Legolas. Seriously, it’s distracting.
Stephen Fry was excellent at wringing out as much as he could from yet another character who might not even have a line of dialogue in the book. But he’s Stephen Fry, so, duh.
That’s enough about what’s wrong with the movie. On to the best part.
Yup, that’s pretty much it.