A Review: The Desolation of Smaug

shark

And that’s pretty much what it felt like to watch The Desolation of Smaug.

Which is a bummer. I had such high hopes for this movie. I really really REALLY wanted to like this movie. I mean, the first one wasn’t bad. It stuck to the original plot okay and the characters actually had personality.  And I love The Hobbit. It’s probably my favorite book of all time. More so than The Lord of the Rings, to be perfectly honest. And I think Peter Jackson usually does an okay job.

Not so much The Desolation. You know, for a movie officially titled The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, there’s very little actual hobbit in this movie. There are so many intrusive subplots that the scenes bounce around like a frigging kangaroo on a pogo stick surrounded by jackrabbits and mexican jumping beans on trampolines. Yeah. It’s that bad.

*SPOILERS AND ALL THAT BLAH BLAH BLAH YOU KNOW THE DRILL*

So, here’s the basic plot summary:

“Gee, I sure hope we don’t encounter any more intrusive subplots”

“Did someone say intrusive subplot?!”

“Oh son of a bitch!”

First there’s the random subplot of Asog the White Orc still hunting the company. Then there’s the subplot of Dal Guldur and some other Orcs. Then there’s the subplot about the Mirkwood Forest. Then there’s the subplot of the Necromancer (Sauron). Then there’s the subplot of Thranduil and Legolas. Then there’s the subplot of the female elf character who literally has one purpose. Then there’s the subplot of her falling in love with Kili (wat?). Then there’s the subplot of the people of Dale and Bard. Then there’s the subplot of Kili getting poisoned by an Orc arrow. Then there’s the subplot of finding the Arkenstone. And finally there’s the subplot of Bilbo actually existing in this movie.

bitch are you serious loki

No wonder this movie took two and a half hours to do nothing.

There are two things this movie did really well.

Thranduil.

Because this is a beautiful man. A beautiful, elegant, man who has amazing diction. And I could gaze at him all day. (But don’t Google him in the middle of class. Lots of NSFW O.o Oops)

me gusta

And, of course Smaug. I’m pretty sure that’s where the entire budget went for this movie, cause it certainly wasn’t in the writing department. A big part of this character is Benedict Cumberbatch. Mmmmm. Benedict Cumberbatch. His delivery is great, his voice is great, he is great. I need a dragon so that I can dragon the dragon to do more dragon. And that pretty much defines my life. Add Benedict Cumberbatch to that and I had to create a new word: Cumbergasm. It’s a word now. tumblr can thank me later.

Whoo! 8D

foaming mouth guy

My entire attitude toward most of this movie was “Yeah, yeah yeah, where’s the dragon?” I mean, the subplots were boring. I found myself being bored in a peter Jackson movie. Wha- I- HOW????

Especially with the stupid ass Kili x Elf Chick subplot (no, I’m not going to bother learning her name. She’s a useless, pointless character). I’m so glad we spent a good third of the movie trying to save his life from poison just so he can die in the next movie. Oh, oops, spoiler alert? Read the book.

not interested

And don’t give me any of that “They needed some romance and female characters to bring in the girls in.” Bitch please. I’m pretty sure women outnumber men as fans of this series at this point, and I don’t really care about bimbos who don’t read the books seeing the movies. I’m pretty sure Hollywood isn’t financially insecure enough to need these people.

not my problem toph

Honestly, for a movie that’s two and half hours long, not much happens. I’ve said literally all I need to say. I’m not going to go through the whole movie like I normally would, partly because I went to the midnight premiere, so I’m tired and it’s all a little hazy except the parts I like, and it’s so damn long and complicated that I would be here forever trying to explain the various plot points and jumping around as much as the movie does. It’s a difficultly just following it when you’re actually watching the movie, I’m not even going to attempt to do it on paper (webpage).

Despite its flaws, I recommend going to this movie. It’s really an experience that’s worth the big screen. Ok, Smaug is really an experience that’s worth the big screen. Everything comes back to Smaug. If you can sit through the rest of the subplots, plot holes, dick moves, and beautiful elf men, it’s really a treat to see the last 20 minutes of the film. Also, go with a group. It’s really the best part of the whole thing. My friends and I took an entire row by ourselves and we all chattered through the movie, because it was fun. 🙂 So, overall, I had a lot of fun, even though the movie was a subpar disappointment.

But all I want for Christmas is a movie that doesn’t leave me with the sick sense of disappointment in my chest. Is that too hard to ask? I have high hopes for next year, because:

and

Plus. WINTER OLYMPICS!!! BRING IT ON 2014!!

Edit: I saw the movie again, and I want to revise my assessment of it. It’s a decent movie when it’s not midnight and you’re tired! Please go see it! If for nothing else than the last half hour is pretty awesome. 🙂

A Review: Frozen

Ok. So. I want to review this movie, I really do. But . . . I don’t have much to say?

surprised gif

I know, right? Me, the girl who can’t shut up when she’s just talking about . . . well, anything. I mean, I liked the movie. A lot. I even liked the songs, which most reviewers say are sub-par. But to be honest, when is Disney not sub-par these days? Not trying to be mean, I’m just stating a fact of my life. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older, but I kinda doubt it since I’m still hugely enchanted by Dreamworks movies. So . . . that’s a thing.

Basically, this movie is a confusing mush of random feels that I don’t know what to do with.

So, I guess I can just do the review.

SPOILER ALERT AND ALL THAT SHIZ!!!

Alright, so, some background. This movie, like most Disney movies, is based on a fairy tale. This fairy tale, interestingly enough, is Scandinavian in origin. I’m not sure from which country, or if there’s a different version in all of them, but that’s pretty irrelevant. It basically just means that the names, designs, and settings are Scandinavian, which, being of Norwegian ancestry, I find really awesome. And, I do have to admit, that’s one thing Disney is doing better than they used to: their “sets” are getting more accurate to the place they’re supposed to represent.

birthday thumbs up

So, we start with a song and some snowflakes that transition into the title page. Pretty standard Disney stuff. We have a really nice choir in the background, and we’re introduced to the romantic lead as a young boy, doing  stuff with ice . . . harvesting is the best word I can think of. And then we get a shot of the actual kingdom we’ll be focusing on. The Northern Lights are dancing across the sky, and we focus on the two main characters as little girls.

Elsa, the older sister, has white hair, which, because it’s a Disney movie, means that she’s special and/or cursed. For this movie, we’ll go with both. Anna (pronounced the Scandinavian way AH-nah), is the younger sister, who has brown hair. I honestly have to say I would have liked it better if she were blonde, but since I don’t know the country of origin, I suppose it’s possible this could take place in in Finland or something. *le shrug* But anyway, Anna wakes up Elsa and wants her to play, but Elsa doesn’t want to until Anna suggests making a snowman. It’s the middle of summer, so they go into the ballroom and Elsa uses her snow powers to create a winter wonderland for them to play in. It’s really sweet until Anna gets a little carried away and Elsa accidentally hurts her.

scully eyeroll

Ok, I know I said I liked this movie, but it’s so full every every Disney cliche known to the human mind. And the whole “supernatural powers accidentally hurting a sibling” really annoys me, more than a lot of the other cliches, because it’s just an excuse for the character to have a ridiculous amount of self-loathing and fear and for the parents to make it into a big deal for no apparent reason. I mean, ok, in this movie, Elsa nearly kills Anna, but her parents don’t handle it very well. Instead of telling her that it was a horrible accident, but everything turned out fine, and trying to help her figure out her powers, they shut her in her room and don’t let anyone into the palace, fearing that the town will flip its shit if they find out.

My first question is why? It’s never established why ice powers would be frowned upon. The parents never really seem all that phased by it. Anna knows about the powers until the weird stone trolls replace her memories and has no problem with them. Elsa herself seems pretty in control for the most part until she hurts Anna. It doesn’t make sense. It’s definitely a question I wish they would have explored further.

shrug

So, yeah, a song happens, the parents inevitably die, everything is sad, blah blah blah. Like, why does Disney feel the need to kill of the parents? I mean, they should know by now that we’re all expecting it. It’s not even a surprise anymore. Do you think it’s on all the writers’ contracts or something? “If making an animated movie, one or both parents must die in a contrived fashion to move along a small part of the plot.”

furry disproves

So, that happens. An they’re all very sad. I have to admit, watching their reactions was pretty sad, but it would have been better if they weren’t trying to get through as many cliches plot establishers as possible. So, three years go by after the other ten or so, and Elsa is going to be crowned the new queen of the kingdom. I guess they just sort of didn’t have one for three years or something. Yeah . . . But there’s another song! Sung by Anna, about finally getting to go out and meet people and not be alone anymore. Most of the songs are sung by Anna, which is weird, since she’s played by Kristen Bell, who has an okay singing voice, but Elsa is played by Idina Menzel, who is so much better! Whatever. She gets the most memorable song in the movie, so I guess I can’t complain.

Where was I? Oh, yeah, so Anna’s super excited, but Elsa is super nervous about messing up and revealing her powers, which are crazy out of control for . . . reasons . . . But that doesn’t matter, because we’re really just setting up a plot device for later. Anna runs outside and just dances and sings around the town without really drawing any attention to herself, despite being a princess, but whatever. That’s Disney.

She meets this guy named Hans, who is the youngest son of another kingdom, and he’s very handsome and charming, but also kinda derpy, and she falls for him hardcore. They have a little moment in a boat

and then she dashes off to get ready for the coronation. That’s one of the actual few annoying traits about Anna though. She’s constantly moving, or talking really fast. I think it’s supposed to be endearing and symbolic of her innocence or something, but most of the time, it’s so distracting that I was just like

strangle Shut up and just process for a while!!

I mean, she didn’t have any social interaction as a child after Elsa locked herself away, so I can’t really blame her for it, but God is she socially inept!

Anyway, so the coronation happens and then there’s the party afterward. Some creepy old dude from another kingdom asks Elsa to dance, but she doesn’t really do human contact, even with gloves on, so she kind of ends up throwing Anna to him. And it’s one of the funniest parts of the movie. The old dude is all awkward dancing and doing weird things and in general, it’s just weirdly funny.

Then comes another song with Hans and Anna, doing the lovey dovey thing. Not much to say about it. It’s cute, but generic.

And then comes the inevitable Elsa reveals her powers because Anna makes her mad scene. Anna asks her blessing to marry Hans, and Elsa, smart girl that she is, says “No you can’t marry some guy you just met.” Anna gets upset, Elsa gets upset, Elsa reveals her powers, which of course makes everyone cry “monster!” (which I don’t get, wouldn’t they call her a witch or, hey, crazy thought, something Scandinavian?) and so she has to run away, leaving a snow storm in summer in her wake.

Her flight leads to the best song in the movie, posted below.

Although, I’m pretty sure they wrote this song and then wrote the movie around it and decided that they didn’t want Elsa to have such a confident personality. There is no other time she’s this confident in her powers. It’s really weird.

Right, so, I’ve completely forgotten to talk about Kristof (Kristoff?). He’s the romantic interest I mentioned above. Before Hans. Hans is the “romantic interest” if you know what I mean. Kristof is probably the best character in this movie. He is also super hot. Just putting that out there. YOU SAW IT COMING!!

But seriously. Maaayyybe it’s the Norwegian blood in me, but I would marry the shit out of this guy in, like, two seconds on looks alone, but then of course, he’s the nicest guy in the world (but he should have had blue eyes *pout*). Also, this is probably the anti-feminist in me, but I really wish the movie was just about him and his reindeer (Sven) finding the Ice Queen Elsa’s castle and doing the whole . . . Rapunzel . . . thing . . . dammit! Well, except I like how the twist at the end wasn’t romantic. I’ll get to that later.

They first meet in a trading post and sauna, where a pretty funny interaction with the shopkeeper happens and Anna has to sort of get Kristoff out of trouble. She buys him some equipment he couldn’t afford and some carrots for Sven, because unlike Jasmine, she actually carries money when she goes out. He’s kind of gruff, and Sven is his best friend, so he’s a little “quirky” weird and doesn’t really want to take Anna up the North Mountain, which is where Elsa set her castle, but Anna makes him go because she bought him the equipment he needed.

So, of course, he and Anna just sort of argue for five minutes while they travel, which is like, 2 hours in movie time. I mean, I’m not blaming Kristoff for totally judging her about wanting to marry Hans, so I’m not really complaining, because unlike a lot of Disney movies, they don’t constantly argue for the movie and then magically realize they’re in love. Oh, oops spoiler warning to the really obvious plot point. Then there’s a point where they get chased by wolves original, which gives rise to one of the best gifs I’ve ever seen.

true love forzen

Lol. I can’t wait to use this in an actual post. Someday . . .

After the wolves, they meet up with this awful little snowman character whom I will pretty much ignore, because he’s annoying and completely pointless except to give the tiniest pep talk at the end. Like, seriously, he doesn’t do anything in this movie. So I’m going to pretend like he doesn’t exist, because he might as well not.

Moving on. They reach Elsa’s castle and they have a scene where Anna tries to get her to come back home. I wish they had really spent a lot of time building up how close these sisters were, because from what I’ve seen so far, they were close when they were, like, 7, but after Elsa hurt Anna, they didn’t really speak again. It’s a little confusing, because Anna still seems to think that they are children and so should be as close as they were ten or however many years ago.

unimpressed cat

It just makes the whole scene lack real emotional input from the audience. I mean, I have a sister. And I’m empathic enough to be able to understand all these emotions, but, like, it still felt pretty emotionally shallow. And so, as forshadowed in the beginning, Elsa ends up lashing out and freezing Anna’s heart (or something), which doesn’t affect her immediately like it probably should have, but you know it’s going to build up to something big. Anna doesn’t really seem to notice . . . somehow . . . and Elsa conjures a big snow creature to throw her and Kristoff out.

While all this is happening, by the way, Anna has put Hans in charge of keeping the city safe. So far, he seems to be doing a pretty good job, handing out blankets, food, all that. Then Anna’s horse comes back without a rider, he gathers up a bunch of dudes to go after her. The creepy old dude from before sends two of his men (sons?) with the orders to kill Elsa. Because that will solve everything. They ride off.

Kristoff and Anna realize that something’s wrong with her because Anna’s hair is going white, so he takes her to his family, who are the trolls from the beginning. They adopted him because he was an orphan? Yeah, that wasn’t really established. Oh well. The troll shaman from the beginning rolls up after an annoying song about marriage and says that there’s ice in Anna’s heart and that only an act of true love will save her.

you don't say

Because Disney is incapable of leaving out the phrase “true love.” So, blah blah blah, Anna feels like she needs to get back to Hans, cause he’s her true love, even though he so obviously isn’t at this point, but whatever.

Meanwhile, Elsa tries to defend her castle and herself from Hans and his group of dudes. The two old guy’s men break in and try to kill her. To defend herself, she almost kills them, which is pretty badass, because they way them animate her ice powers is really cool. Movies like this are the only reason I regret not getting a graphic design degree and go work for Dreamworks. This is pretty much the only other time she is confident in her powers until the end, though, which is kind of a bummer.

Hans convinces her not to be the monster they think she is, so she doesn’t. One of the guys almost shoots her, but Hans stops him, though the arrow damages the palace and Elsa is knocked unconscious. She comes to in the dungeon of the palace in chains, where Hans comes and tells her that it’s going to be okay and that he’ll do his best to help her, even though she doesn’t know how to stop the winter.

dean sorry

Kristoff and Sven get Anna to the palace and leave her in the hands of the staff and Hans and does the mopey good bye thing, blah blah blah . . . So they get Anna warm and she explains everything to Hans, telling him that an act of true love will save her, so, like, a true love’s kiss.

PLOT TWIST! Hans is evil. Yeah . . . bet you saw that coming. I mean, there really hasn’t been a villain up to this point, and he was just too good to be true. I did actually like him, even though I thought something like this was bound to happen. *sigh* Oh well.  He leaves Anna to freeze to death as Elsa escapes and starts freezing everything, the story raging worse and worse. Sven, meanwhile, convinces Kristoff to go back for Anna, especially since the storm starts raging.

(Judge me all you want, but that face is beautiful.)

emotional twirling

That snowman comes in and gives Anna a pep talk about true love and she realizes she loves Kristoff and manages to get out of the palace to find him. Kristoff, meanwhile, is in the middle of galloping (can reindeer gallop?) across the fjord.

Somehow, they all end up on the frozen fjord: Elsa, Anna, Krstoff, Sven, and Hans. The storm makes it so that they can’t find each other, and Elsa keeps getting more and more upset, which makes the storm keep getting worse. The ships that were trapped in the fjord are starting to be blown over, which, of course, makes it hard for Kristoff to get to Anna. Sven ends up getting stuck on an ice chunk and so he has to go forward on foot.

Meanwhile, Hans finds Elsa and, still playing the good guy, tells her that Anna died because of the ice. She feels so guilty, she collapses and everything just stops, which makes it so that everyone can see everything. Anna is ready to run to Kristoff, but sees Hans attempting to kill Elsa (Hans, by the way, has made everyone think he married Anna, Anna died, and so with Elsa out of the way, he would be king) and, and this is the best part, she turns away from Kristoff to save Elsa instead.

Now, that’s a good twist. Like, Disney, good job. And Anna is saved because she sacrificed herself for her sister, which is probably more true love than any love story. I like that. I have to actually say: Good job, Disney.

subtle thumbs up

So Anna thaws because of convenient Disney magic loopholes. Still, I would have liked Hans and Kristoff to get into a sword fight, but it really wouldn’t have worked into the plot, unless Kristoff flipped for Hans “killing” Anna. Too bad. Oh well. *le shrug*

Elsa figures out that love is the way to control her powers and from then on everything is happy and shiny in the kingdom forever *sappy happy sounds*

aang big eyes

So that was Frozen. I really, really liked it. I feel like I have to emphasize this, because when I review things, I tend to focus on the bad or mediocre bits and not enough on the good bits. The character design is creative, the songs are decent, the side characters are pretty fun, the sets are lovely, and the plot holds together pretty well. I definitely recommend seeing it, especially if you like tall, sweet, Scandinavian men. But that might just be me.

zac efron wink

Ha! I guess I did have plenty to say, after all it’s not like it took me a couple of days to write this review or anything. And hey. I’m going to see the midnight premier of the Hobbit this week. See you then, dear readers.

Crossing the Finish Line

So maybe the semester isn’t quite done yet, but I have crossed the finish line. I have completed my Senior Paper!!

celebrate

crazy rafiki

dancing colbert

Alright, for those of you who don’t know, my college has this requirement for graduation. We have to do what is called a Senior Paper or Senior Project, or SnrP by yours truly. This is similar to what I imagine a Senior Thesis is, but it can be less intense than that. These SnrPs can be either “just” a paper or a year long project in which the student collects and presents her own research.

Mine was a semester long paper, a literature review in which I read a shit ton of scientific papers and synthesized them into one paper in which I defended my ideas. While it might sound easier than conducting my own research, it’s really not. Scientific papers are hard to read.

abed ttack

Pretty much like that. Plus I had to do this while being swamped by everything ELSE this semester.

BUT I’M DONE!! HAHAHA!!! I BEAT IT!! It’s turned in now and I don’t have to worry about it next semester. Whoo hoo!!! Also, I got a cupcake for finishing it.

cupcakes gir