The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Movie Review

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Review:

A strong second installment to The Hobbit trilogy, despite continued padding.

Smaug instantly took his place among the most spectacular CGI dragons ever committed to film.

My rating:3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)

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The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Movie Review

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Review:

I wasn’t happy when I heard that Peter Jackson was breaking up The Hobbit into three films. I didn’t think there was enough plot to justify such a decision, and having seen two of the three films, I still don’t. Jackson had to do a lot of padding to fill out the extra hours and the movies do seems overlong and bloated as a result. ETA: If you agree, here’s one attempt to re-cut the films to something closer to the novel: The Hobbit (Tolkien Edit).

On the upside, Jackson keeps the action going enough to maintain interest, so they’re entertaining, if not entirely satisfying, and the casting is excellent, especially Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins.

My rating:3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)

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The Lord of Rings: The Return of the King Movie Review

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Review:

The Return of the King is a truly epic conclusion to an epic trilogy. The Battle of Pelennor Fields is especially spectacular.

My rating:4 Stars (4 / 5)

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The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers Movie Review

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Review:

I think a lot of fans consider this the weakest of the three Lord of the Rings movies, because it’s stuck in the middle – neither set-up nor resolution. However, it has so many of my favorite scenes (Rohan, Gollum, the Ents, the Battle of Helm’s Deep, etc.) that it may be my favorite. (It’s a very close call between Two Towers and Return of the King.)

My rating:4 Stars (4 / 5)

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The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Movie Review

Review:

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Okay, confession time. I’ve never read the books. My dad read The Hobbit out loud to me when I was a kid, but by the time he read The Lord of the Rings to my siblings, I was too busy with schoolwork and only got bits and pieces of it. So my opinion is colored by that.

That caveat in place, what I really, really liked about this movie (and the whole trilogy really) was how successfully Peter Jackson et al were able to bring Middle-earth to life and make you feel as if you were right there with the characters. It’s definitely one of the most immersive fantasy movies I’ve ever seen. In fact, the closest comparable experience I can think of is Game of Thrones, and they have a lot more hours on the air to create such a richly detailed world. (I don’t own the Extended Edition but I’ve seen the special features and highly recommend them for a fascinating look into the behind-the-scenes work that went into creating such a fully realized world on screen.)

The acting and script can be a bit hit or miss. Both are good for the most part, but sometimes take themselves a bit too seriously. Fortunately there’s usually somebody like Merry or Pippen along to lighten the mood and bring things back to earth. The Fellowship of the Ring also suffers a bit from being primarily a set-up for the other two films and it’s my least favorite as a result, but there’s nevertheless much to enjoy.

My rating:3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)

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Avatar: The Last Airbender, Book 3 Review

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Review:

Though not quite as consistent as Book 2, Book 3 is a strong and satisfying conclusion to the series, with many excellent episodes and an especially strong character arc for Zuko.

My rating:4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

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Avatar: The Last Airbender, Book 2 Review

Review:

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My favorite season of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Starting with the introduction of Toph in episode six, “The Blind Bandit,” the show knocks it out of the park with a string of almost unbroken awesome until the season finale.

Along with Toph, who is tied with Iroh as my favorite character in the show, the season also introduces Zuko’s badass sister Azula and her equally badass friends Mai and Ty Lee as new antagonists, cementing Avatar’s position as one of the best depictions of strong, complex, and diverse female characters on television.

My rating:5 Stars (5 / 5)

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Avatar: The Last Airbender, Book 1 Review

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Review:

Avatar: The Last Airbender is not just one of the best children’s tv shows I’ve ever seen, it’s one of the best tv shows, period. The worldbuilding and character development are amazing, the animation quality is good (and sometimes outstanding), and there’s an enjoyable blend of action, humor, adventure, and more.

I do consider Book One to be the weakest season overall, but it’s still highly enjoyable, for the whole family.

My rating:4 Stars (4 / 5)

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Enchanted Movie Review

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Review:

Disney isn’t afraid to poke fun at itself! Enchanted is a charming and fun send-up of many of Disney’s stock tropes and cliches. Amy Adams is adorable as Giselle and Susan Sarandon looks like she’s having the time of her life as the wicked stepmother. I also loved James Marsden as the well meaning but hopelessly oblivious Prince Edward. My only question is why they hired a famous Broadway star like Idina Menzel and then never had her sing!

My rating:4 Stars (4 / 5)

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Stardust Movie Review

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Review:

I saw Stardust for the first time without realizing that it was an adaptation of one of Neil Gaiman’s novels and didn’t really know what to expect. It charmed me completely with its blend of action, humor, romance, and high fantasy and is now a favorite. I’m really amazed that it wasn’t a bigger hit, and consider it one of the most under-rated fantasy films I’ve ever seen.

My rating:4 Stars (4 / 5)

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