I now am the proud owner of the complete Avatar television show dvds, The Complete Seasons 1-5 of The Clone Wars, a brand new cricket bat, gloves and Now You See Me. Having spent the majority of my last working week's pay, plus any Christmas money, I feel that I have succeeded in gaining some long term investments of creativity, fun and enjoyment.
Of course, I must mention that I did also do one other thing today which merits a proper full review, for it is somewhat book related. I visited the library...well no I did that, but I also watched The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.
Now, last year around this time, when I watched The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey I both loved and felt rather tormented about it. I liked the new 48fps technology but felt that it, at times, this gave the movie a rather cartoon or television movie feel (especially with the depth given to the film by 3D projection). I also loved the CGI but felt at times it looked like a glossy pamphlet or a video game of Middle Earth. There was a clear jarring feel to the film in how different it was to the superb Lord of the Rings franchise but yet it hit a nice balance to me between the silliness of The Hobbit as a book and the seriousness of The Lord of the Rings films. But something was missing from that film on the whole - perhaps it was merely the length and the padding (which was great for Tolkien fans and not so great for others necessarily) but I do not know what it was.
Fortunately I believe The Desolation of Smaug to be a superior film. After all, it has more dragons. However it hits an even nicer balance than the previous film between gravitas and silliness - with the barrel escape being a fine example. Legolas is even better in his role than in The Lord of the Rings, Gandalf - while we don't get so much of him - has a great adventure on his own, Thorin starts displaying signs of the greedy dwarf king seen at the end of the novel, Bilbo shows how he has improved as a courageous adventurer thanks to the ring and his experiences and apart from that the rest of the dwarves (aside from Balin and a couple of moments with Fili and Kili and Gloin) unfortunately remain as more or less a rabble of male dwarves. The subtlety and touches are much better handled in this film however, which to me speaks of superior editing to the first film. However, the star of it all has to be Smaug (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch to wonderful effect). Smaug is by far the best CGI dragon to hit the screen with his magnificent enormity, his fire-breathing and the general terror conveyed by all he is.
As it stands if you hated the first instalment more than anything you will likely find this a similar endeavour. If you were a little disappointed by the first this should be an improvement. If you loved the first? This should be a great ride for you. It's no Lord of the Rings, but its still one of the best fantasy films out there to watch and I fully recommend you see it. If for the CGI, Orcs, Smaug, Elves and every other wonderful creation in it!