Second Breakfast Club 26th January

And so ends another excellent breakfast meetup over second breakfast. Nearly everything ordered featured eggs prominently, but no two meals were the same – lots of differing tastes here! The topic for this month was “Review of Hobbit part 2: Desolation of Smaug and comparison between the books and the movie.”

We started off with a review over the dinner dance, and everyone agreed that it went very well with an excellent turnout. For this year’s dinner dance (2014), we discussed a few changes such as table layouting (in particular opening up the entranceway so it isn’t so clogged, and making sure everyone can move freely between tables) and also filling up the space around the photo booth a little better. We then stopped for a meal, and with the hard work of the morning out of the way got stuck in to a two page critical review of Desolation of Smaug by Proudfoot.

Moving through it section by section, we talked about Mirkwood (and how it compared to Fangorn Forest in the Two Towers) in particular whether there was a little bit too much CGI. This naturally led into the Mirkwood elves and a comparison to the Rivendell elves.

Next we discussed Smaug’s coat and being hit by black arrows. Definitely a bit of “story magic” that anyone could hit a moving target with a single arrow at a hundred meters away, even if it’s as big as a dragon! One thing we were disappointed to have missed was the Smaug’s “glittering coat” which was supposed to have been encrusted with jewels and gems from sleeping on his golden hoard, and we noted that the movie changed the hole in his scales to have come about as a result of a previous arrow hit, and not as the hollow where the Arkenstone nestled. We also had a bit of a chuckle about how the dwarves decided to use molten gold to try and defeat a dragon. The shot where Smaug flew into the sky and shook it all off certainly looked spectacular, but someone raised the little tidbit of info that all the gold in the Earth’s crust was apparently a block about ten metres across, let alone enough to build a solid statue a hundred meters high! At least they treated the molten gold seriously, instead of riding a wheelbarrow down a stream of it (while holding onto the sides).

Here we breaked to order various drinks and coffees, then got back into it. There was next some discussion about a love triangle between Kili, Tauriel and Legolas (much to the interest of the lady members of our congregation). It was generally agreed that Tauriel was an excellent characterisation of the Wood Elven captain which appears in the Hobbit, and was not a departure from the story as envisioned by Tolkien.

Moving on from elves towards Laketown a bit more, we had a bit of a chuckle over the barrel riding scene. Very nice action, and it was agreed that Martin Freeman’s performance as the barrels are tipped into the river should definitely win an award in recognition. At times the CGI felt a little bit off and the action a little bit overdone (especially the part where they throw the axe up the line of barrels to each have a chop on the log that the Orks are using to cross the river) and no mention was made of how difficult it would be to stay upright while riding a barrel down a raging river at all!

Next we did some brief anticipation about the Battle of Five Armies and the various participants, then branched off into a discussion about who the ancestors of the Mirkwood Elves were, as no-one seemed to remember (Sylvan? Noldori?). We nominated that subject to be the topic for discussion at next months’ Second Breakfast club.

Finally, we finished off with a bit of talk about New Zealand and where some of the scenes were shot. Disappointingly, there was less of a showcase on the New Zealand scenery in DoS as was hoped, it certainly wasn’t quite as impressive as the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

After that we finished up just in time for lunch. Between us we managed to consume enough food and drinks for about three times as many people, so in all I think it was a successful event!

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