Monday, December 16, 2013

Start to painting Challenge delayed by Rampant Dragon!

With the Analogue Hobbies painting challenge immanently about  to kick off on Sunday at 7pm NZ time, I knew I would have to wait a while longer until I could pick up a paintbrush, as at the time I would be half through watching...

The Hobbit - The Desolation of Smaug

at the cinema...

Well I have prep'ped as much as I think I have any chance of completing in the time frame allowed by the challenge - I just need to dig out some suitable casualty figures and a cowboy... and come up with an idea for the  "Last Stand" final theme bonus round...

But on to the movie, and what did I think?... [warning - contains Spoilers]...

Well pretty much a rip roaring ride, thoroughly enjoyable, though I did find myself pondering how PJ was going to stick to the book's story line and also deviate from it to elaborate the tale and make it his own... so it was a case of watch and see as the story unfolded...

There was a good mix of following the tale as written, and further elaboration, in terms of filling in the background info as to how the tale came to be...

I really enjoyed the Dol Guldur scenes, the sense of the return of the Necromancer, as Sauron begins to regain his strength and build his armies again... the whole leading up to the eventual War of the Ring, though still some decades off at this time... but this back drop of menace, and the threat that Sauron/ The Necromancer could use Smaug in his army, being Gandalfs underlying 'niggle' and why he feels the Dragon must be dealt with before it can be used in such a way, in the future,... Thus having met Thorin, Gandalf has the plan to send him to Erebor to do just that, one way or another... yes Gandalf is using him a little like a pawn in the scheme of a much grander game, but that is the reality of the game Gandalf finds himself forced to play...

So we follow the Dwarves on their on going quest, and watch them tangle with all manner of foes, allies and beasties along the way...

Beorn the WereBear skin changer is wonderfully done. Azog and the orcs continue their chase, at their Masters bidding, and Bolg comes into play too...

The Spiders of Mirkwood are really well done, and frankly terrified my young daughter (nearly 8yrs old), who burrowed into my arm, whimpering! But she recovered with the continuing story, and more popcorn was nervously munched, eyes peeking over the top of the carton at the screen...

Thranduil and the elves proved to be a further obstacle to the dwarves with the spiders barely past, the elves come to the rescue, but then become the next threat to the dwarves timely passage to Erebor.

Here we get to meet the delightful Tauriel, and thus the love interest of the movie...  and get to see Legolas once again... Here in Mirkwood we get a glimpse of Thranduil's mindset, and his concerns about protecting his kingdom from the growing menace...

Barely have we pondered this then we are racing to Lake Town in barrels... and having dispatched many orcs along the way, bump into Bard. I did find Bards character development interesting and not quite how I envisaged him. Nor had I expected  the grim pervading sense of worry and foreboding hanging over Lake Town and its Master, played charmingly by Stephen Fry, and his little sidekick with whom I couldn't help but draw parallels to Grima ...

By this point the tale is jumping back and forth as differing story threads diverge as differing characters are caught up in varying locations... including the orcs led by Bolg raiding Lake Town, hotly pursued by Legolas and Tauriel... I didn't see that coming! Legolas even shows he's finally fallible, getting a bloody nose for his troubles!

We also finally get to see and meet Smaug - superbly done and his interaction with Bilbo wonderful... The dwarves get in on the act as they try and contest with Smaug in the hopes of reclaiming their halls...

At lot of the action becomes a little over the top, and I certainly didn't see a giant golden dwarf coming ... I prayed it wouldn't open its eyes and start romping around... thankfully things didn't get that silly...

Finally their efforts get Smaug out of Erebor... but at what cost?

Tune into the next movie dear viewer to find out... just one more year to wait!

.... [End Spoilers]

In the time honoured fashion - I think I score this movie 4.5 stars out 5.

If you are a Tolkien fan you'll be seeing this anyway, if you're not, go see it anyway, as it's an excellent Roller Coaster ride of a movie, suspend disbelief momentarily and just enjoy your adventures in Middle-Earth!


By movies end, my daughter had just about given up the ghost and had started to slumber... its a long movie for a little one to watch... however elder son, was raving about this Hobbit Lego set and that Hobbit Lego set he wanted - guess who's going to be broke for Christmas!

For myself I would of course be thrilled at the prospect of some of the new models, but costs are prohibitive, and in an annually increasing way... Still I can't wait to see what they do about Smaug as a model!

So quite wonderful stuff, and a much quicker pace than the first movie... and after finally getting home having regained my breath, I did find a little time to finally pick up a paint brush... and managed to base coat 'Nanny' from the EotD Sherlock Holmes set, and get the tracks painted on 5 Panzer IVs, before bed-time called... a slow start to the opening days paining, but a start none the less...


  1. Thanks for the excellent review, Scott.
    The movie is definitely on my list for January and your report confirmed my expectations. ;-)

  2. Good to see they've picked up the pace. I found the first film glacial at times.

  3. I am waiting for am three films to be finished, then I will get them and watch them on the bounce.

    The starting is the important bit so glad you have got it going


  4. I saw the film yesterday. Your review express exactly my opinion about the film. A very nice movie with nice fast action scenes, especially if you are watching the HFR 3D version! Smaug scenes could be less though. In particular, the giant dwarf scene was not necessary.

  5. Can't wait but I have to wait until my daughter gets home from Edinburgh on 21st!

  6. I started reading this then decided to stop. Looking forward to seeing the movie is an understatement.

  7. Great recap and review Scott. I managed to see it on Thursday. It was pretty cool although it takes itself much more seriously than the book. I was wondering how they were going to do Beorn. Luckily they didn't have dogs walking on hind legs serving cups of tea like the book!

  8. Nice review Scott. It was quite the ride. Story changes aside, my lone critique was the fact that they spun off a bunch of 5-6 story subplots and didn't wrap up any of them. The third movie is going to be packed!

  9. A thoroughly enjoyable and well-written review, many thanks! A little smile formed when reading about the little one being wary of the spiders :)

    Lastly, you awoke a thought: How will the Smaug-model be done? In plastic or "fine"-cast? How much will they decrease the size of the monster? I would in fact like it better if it is playable, not that I am likely to buy it, but still... a playable monster is, in my mind, better than a pure collector's item.


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