Films, besides writing, are my one true passion. Always have been, always will be. Where some extracurricular hobbies fade in and out of interest, cinema is the one constant that engages me on a daily basis. When I'm not watching films, I'm thinking about them, and vice versa.
Currently, I freelance as a critic for a local newspaper in Sweden, where I'm also born and raised. Aside from the grand works of Ingmar Bergman and a select few other film-makers from here, I'm more curious, however, about foreign films and have been molded in particular by Hollywood gems crafted between the 70's and 90's.
I'm a consumer of all genres, but possess a self-confessed soft spot for action and adventure. Spielberg's early blockbusters, like "Jaws", "E.T", "Jurassic Park" and the Indiana Jones series, have been a major influence on me, along with the original Star Wars trilogy, of which I'm a die-hard aficionado.
My written work can also be found on Facebook, where I actively run a film site called "Mike's Movie Reviews". Just go to the following page and click "like" to follow news, reviews, trailers and other film-related material that I post there on a regular basis:
I'm also an active member on Letterboxd:
## Film Consumption Overview ##
Number of movies seen in total: 2093
Number of movies I want to see: 773
Number of 5 star ratings given: 28
Number of 4½ star ratings given: 39
Number of 4 star ratings given: 315
Number of 3½ star ratings given: 973
Number of 3 star ratings given: 601
Number of 2½ star ratings given: 115
Number of 2 star ratings given: 20
Number of 1½ star ratings given: 6
Number of 1 star ratings given: 3
Number of ½ star ratings given: 0
Peter Jackson and the famous carrot are back. So is the slapstick though; fat jokes featuring Bombur and lethargic, overlong set pieces. Along with all new flaws and shortcomings that no Tolkien devotee should have to suffer. Out of the frying pan, but into the fire of poor timing, video game vibes and a seriously pissed off dragon.
Do not confuse devotee with purist, however. The Hobbit may be my all-time favorite book (and the only one I've read twice actually), but I don't get hung up on petty changes, or even more significant ones as long as it's handled in good taste. Case in point: Tauriel, a new female elf character played by "Lost's" Evangeline Lilly. Great casting choice and quite an interesting, well-rounded addition to the ensemble. Marred though, unfortunately, by a much-too-forced love triangle that adds little of worth.
There are improvements, but they're not many. The action is better and more consistent and it's nice to have Legolas kicking ass and taking names again. What's the deal with the new contact lenses though? Is there a point to that I have missed somewhere? Oh well. It was fun to finally see Mikael Persbrandt as Beorn (a big moment for us Swedes), even if his intimidating, bearded presence is just around for a couple of minutes. I suppose they're saving him for the last leg of the journey... quest... thing.
The great highlight for me was Smaug. I didn't care for the way he looked in the trailers, but the cinematic representation was a different beast altogether. Awe-inspiring, brilliantly realized and majestically voiced by the-man-you-can't-believe-isn't-a-fancy-egg-dish. O Cumberbatch, the stupendous!
A darker, less fluffy second chapter which comes closer in tone to the Lord of the Rings films, but too often feels like a repetition or remake thereof. "Darkness is upon us" this. "We shall have our vengeance" that. If the original trilogy was a person, the Hobbit flicks are like a younger, less talented sibling that desperately wants to be as impactful and admired. There's as much potential here as there are golden coins in Smaug's lair, yet two films into the trilogy it hasn't found a soul to match the beauty and depth of its predecessors. "The Desolation of Feels" would be a harsh, yet reasonably accurate title.
Two straight letdowns aside, I still felt positive about the sum of the experience. The sets and scenery look more breathtaking than ever. I saw it in 48 FPS, but didn't get the bothersome "fast-forward" sensation like I did when I saw "An Unexpected Journey". The clarity in the picture was even more astonishing this time, with an exception for the blurry haze that appeared whenever a lot was moving on screen.
A score of 4/5 is what the previous chapter received as well. On both accounts for the tremendous entertainment value; not so much the story, which I suppose was doomed from the beginning to fall short of the magic that wrapped itself around The Lord of the Rings films like the finest of silk.
The ultimate sign of my immediate relationship to this movie came when I exited the theatre and felt no desire to watch it again. Which is a little sad as I had planned to, but now altered those plans to a second viewing of "Catching Fire" instead.
I wanted to love this film, this trilogy. I wanted to cherish it for decades to come and pass it down to future grandchildren like a precious family heirloom. Now, I sense my edge-worn book will be all that they'll inherit.