Movie: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
What it’s up for: Sound editing, sound mixing, visual effects

Oh, Hobbit. Dear, sweet, Hobbit.

I guess I should just start off talking about how amazing the visual effects were. They were quite astounding. Smaug himself is the big-ticket item in this category. When he pulled himself up out of that pile of gold, I reacted with a hand to my mouth and a slight gasp of amazement. That being said, the whole Smaug thing dragged on rather long, but it looked amazing while it lasted. The other particular special effect concept that I found myself mentally commenting on was all the choreography. The fact that most of the fighting scenes were probably 90% CGI means that, yes, choreography may not be the proper term for it. However, someone had to come up with those ideas (he jabs here, then that orc flips and stabs with his sword etcetcetc) in the first place, right? The whole scene down the river was great. Evidence of the thorough and fantastic job done in that sequence was given with the verbal reactions by the audience I was with. Good movie-making…no, good STORYTELLING is defined by getting the audience to react to something that is not real as if it were real.

Let’s see, besides the special effects, what can I say….For it being what it is (without focusing on comparison to the books or to LOTR), the movie was fine. It was intriguing and mostly kept you interested. Besides the dragon scene dragging on far too long, the only other complaint I have with the pace of the film was how erratic things felt, particularly in the last half of the movie, as we jumped back and forth between three different storylines. Gandalf’s whole bit just doesn’t mesh well with the others’ since they only vaguely connect. I still don’t understand why they had to add the whole weird white Orc story arc. It seems excessive. However, I liked the addition of the love interest between Kili and Tauriel. I know, I know, I’m such a GIRL. I don’t care. It was cute and kept me interested in staying through the slow parts of the film.

The sound mixing  and sound editing were fine, as most CGI heavy films are. The stronger of the two, I think is the editing because there were so many types of sounds they needed to create. This was felt strongest during the dragon scenes with the thousands of coins and pieces of treasure that would move at any given moment. Well, I guess that would also fall under mixing. Most fantasy movies have to have a strong combination of the two to be effective and Smaug certainly did.

Predictions

Sound mixing: Probably not

Sound editing: Probably not

Visual effects: Probably will lose to Gravity but it definitely deserved the nomination

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