I'm afraid I can't blank out spoilers here, so I made them as small as possible. Please only copy-and-paste them to Notepad to read them if you've seen the film!
That said... holy cow. I went to see Hobbit 2: The Desolation of Smaug the other night - it had to be that particular night, since the local cinema were showing it for one night only, for $10. At least the price is right!
I'm not sure just what I saw. I can understand that a book for kids (as The Hobbit undoubtedly is) can't be translated faithfully to the big screen. I can understand that Peter Jackson is going to put in extra scenes that weren't in the book, because he wants to appeal to the adults who'll be taking their kids to see it (e.g. that whole Tauriel-Kili romance nonsense), and that he's going to put in other extra scenes to appeal to the Tolkien fans (e.g. Gandalf meeting up with Radagast and trying to infiltrate Dol Guldur, to find out if The Necromancer == Sauron).* I can even understand why he had the dwarves rush in to try and save Bilbo from Smaug; they don't do this in the book, but I guess Peter thought that they needed more screen time and a bigger finale - plus, if he made them do what they did in the book (i.e. sneak in under cover of darkness), the audience might think that they were a bunch of pansies.
Believe me, I can understand it. I don't agree with it, but then again, I've never directed a film, so I shouldn't criticise! And, although I need to suspend my disbelief quite a bit, I can understand it.
But I just want to understand one thing. Where in the name of Durin's beard did that Golden Dwarf thing come from? When the film showed that, I just thought, "WTF?!?!" I think Peter just ran into a brick wall with that - he started that whole fight/chase scene between Smaug and the dwarves, and he had no way to get Smaug out of the mountain and get the plot back on track, so he thought "Let's put in the most implausible way to get the plot rolling again."** Has Peter Jackson finally flipped and jumped the shark?
(And, oh yes - when the dwarves leave Esgaroth, they are wearing fine heavy armour. Yet when they arrive near the Lonely Mountain, the armour has disappeared. Uhmm... what? Did the dwarves think that they don't need it, because even if they get close enough to Smaug, he'd just bake them alive inside their armour)?
Perhaps I'm being unduly harsh. I did get the DVD box-set of the first movie (i.e. An Unexpected Journey)***, and when you watch the movie in its entirety (i.e. with the deleted scenes added in), the whole thing does make more sense. I presume that if I get the DVD box-set of the second movie, it would make more sense too.
But should I? And should I even make the effort to watch the third movie, given all the extra silly drivel that Peter is so fond of putting in?
So now it's your turn. What do you think of these movies, hmm?
* Incidentally, I guess I hope that the third film will show what ultimately happens at Dol Guldur - i.e. the White Council drives Sauron away, whereupon he flees to Mordor, thus putting in motion the chain of events that would eventually spark the entire LOTR arc, etc., etc., I'm sure you all know the story by now!
** Speaking of implausibility - where in the name of Orthanc did Radagast's giant rabbits come from? Rhosgobel Rabbits, my (big hairy Hobbit) foot! Incidentally, in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, you can briefly see the same team of rabbits under the trees of Mirkwood, carrying Gandalf and Radagast to Dol Guldur from the High Fells so Gandalf may investigate the ruined fortress. Presumably, they carried Radagast to Lothlorien to take a message to Galadriel. *shrug*
*** ...which makes it An Unexpurgated Journey, I guess.