Monday, February 29, 2016

James Bond Songs

Music is the most subjective thing on Earth, and it seems the proof I need is just to see what each people think of each Bond song. Most people generally agree on which Bond movies were the good Bond movies, but nobody can agree on the songs though. But there were some general agreements to where I came to the conclusion that I guess I have weird, yet specific music tastes. I've never seen a list I agree with when it comes to music, but sometimes it can be nice to see a list on music that you don't normally listen to from somebody who actually knows what they're talking about(like, maybe K-pop).

I think music might be the thing I'm most knowledgeable about, which is not saying much because I don't feel that smart about it. I can explain basic music theory, I can play guitar by basically imitating what I hear, and I like to hear all of the different parts in a song to see how they all fit together. But it's nowhere near the knowledge of that one guy I linked who likes K-pop for some reason(seriously, there's something he's sees in that music that I just don't, but it's nice that he's able to point out songs that I can actually like).

So, I do feel like I can have some sort of authoritative voice when it comes to good music because I'm starting to become familiar with why I like the songs that I do. Whenever I've seen other lists of James Bond songs, they only could get into the surface level stuff like "Oh, this singer sounds screechy" or "man, these lyrics don't make any sense" but there's a lot more to it than that. I feel like some people are missing a lot of things when they just focus on these superficial elements.

So, here's my list of what I think is good James Bond music. And yes, we're going through every one of them because I honestly can't believe how much I don't agree with other people.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Best Movies of 2015

I usually do a video for this but I never gave myself time to do one and I actually didn't see as many movies as I usually do for this year. So, the list is going to be shorter.

Also, maybe I should just mention that the movies that end up as being my favorites are usually the ones that I have something interesting to say because it resonated with me in some way. So, maybe a movie like Creed could be better than most of the movies I liked from last year, but they were movies that I just simply liked better or movies that I have something a little more interesting to say about them. This isn't some sort of definitive list where I calculate the best movies that'll be remembered as classics. This is just simply a list of movies that I remembered liking.

But, other movies I did like that aren't on this list for completely arbitrary reasons are Creed, Mad Max: Fury Road, A Bridge of Spies, and Inside Out.

So, here we go!

5. Antman

After Marvel proving that they can properly do an Avengers movie, still give Iron Man fresh air even after two movies, and make the biggest blockbuster summer hit from a bunch of characters nobody's ever heard of, it seems like the second Avengers movie would just be a safe bet that it would be as great as we secretly hoped it would be. And, while good, the big surprise came from making a good movie out of a superhero character that people probably knew but nobody cares about. Maybe due to ideas that Edgar Wright had that were taken after he left the project, but the overall enjoyment came from being a light, simple, fun action romp after what felt like that the Avengers 2 may not have been as great as we'd hope it'd be.

Antman isn't exactly Guardians of the Galaxy and it's nowhere near the excitement that was the first Avengers, but it was exactly what we needed.

4. The Martian

How much of an achievement can it be that they made an exciting film from hard science fiction that also manages to be a fun space adventure? It's pretty great that it's not only just a good film that advocates science and space travel, but that it does so in a way that can entertain anyone.

I'm not sure if I'm as high on The Martian bandwagon as others may be, but it's definitely worth a mention especially after Christopher Nolan's last attempt at whatever he was trying to do with Interstellar.

And I guess the big takeaway that I can get from this movie is that it's, apparently, possible to live off of potatoes...something that I don't want to test.


Still, it's pretty good.

3. The Hateful Eight

Are there any bigger, broader messages at play in this film? Perhaps about racism, sexism, and maybe the way this country is tearing itself apart due to hatred? Was a bit too on the nose when they were all stuck in the cabin and decided to pretend that each section is a part of the US that a person can stay in so they could leave each other alone?

Answer: Yeah, probably.

But, with all of that said, it's also just a great and engaging flick. Honestly, probably my new favorite Tarantino movie that stands up with Reservoir Dogs and Inglourious Basterds. Mostly because it has all of the things I like from a Tarantino movie. He does conflict through dialogue well, it's sharp witted and darkly funny, and, even if you know that the characters are just the most fucking despicable people you'll ever see on screen, I couldn't help but be engaged.

What makes it interesting is that it's more like a staged play than anything else in Tarantino's filmography. The entire movie basically takes place in a cabin that everybody is stuck in. That doesn't sound all that engaging, but Tarantino's masterful eye towards cinematography and editing as well as his keen ear towards unique dialogue makes makes this nearly three hour epic go by in a blink of an eye.

And, in regards to what this movie might be trying to say...well, I read Tarantino's original script after I saw the movie. Tarantino went back to rewrite it after it got leaked on the internet. I'm glad that I didn't read the script before seeing the movie but I'm really glad that Tarantino not only came back with a better script, he came back with a message. Most movies come out better and memorable when they have more to say. So, in that way, I'm kind of glad that whole incident happened.

2. Ex Machina

Pretty much the good "feel-bad" movie of the year. It's a movie that uses the Turing Test as a basis and it shows why we might be a little too overly excited in having AI robots indistinguishable from Humans. It's interpretation isn't exactly an optimistic answer and it'll definitely make some people feel bad about the turn of events the story eventually takes, but it will definitely stick with the viewer for a long time.

Without spoiling anything, the movie isn't against science or messing with things humans may not be capable of understanding(thank god), but it uses the whole device to explore a part of humanity that will make people feel uncomfortable. Sometimes, people's painfully human desires will get the best of them, especially if we live in a world where nobody wants to understand that.

1. Kingsman: The Secret Service

Matthew Vaughn is definitely one of the best action directors working today, but there's nothing quite like having a film go through whiplashes between cartoony, extreme violence while balancing some heavy drama and some more subdued action scene only to come around to a fancy dinner movie involving food from McDonalds.

I always have to feel like I really have to justify why I think this movie is as special as it is. Sure, it's a sort of parody on James Bond and points out all of the silly things that Bond is known for, but those kinds of movies are a dime a dozen. Except that this movie somehow manages to embody all of Bond's tropes to not just criticize them, but to excel at them. Sort of showing that James Bond isn't as fun as it could be(which is honestly a bold statement to make).

But James Bond never really amounted to much as far as "great art" is concerned. Even if the better Bond movies are some of the better action movies to ever come out. How about a movie that has some audacious things to say about the upper class? A movie that points out that the rich would happily leave everyone to die so long as they're guaranteed protection. Maybe a bit preachy, maybe a bit much, but the pay off is an absolute roar.

The point of comparison I have with this movie is The LEGO Movie of all movies. Sharp in wit, highly self aware, yet incredibly fun, engaging, and smart. There isn't exactly a movie I enjoyed more than Kingsman for this year and I had a blast. 

Hell, if nothing else, I hope the people behind Spectre can look at this and rethink their lives.

It's also worth noting that this is kind of a really weird movie. The opening scene is played so straight only to have it bounce around from "holy crap, look how fun it is to be James Bond" to "but this is still serious stuff." The fact that it all works and remains engaging is mind boggling.

So, no, I really have no problem in saying that, yes, Kingsman: The Secret Service is that good.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Is There Life on Mars?

I don't think I'm exaggerating  when I say that no one expected this. I mean, here's a tweet on his birthday, two days before he died.

Of course, the tweet I displayed was a slight joke. We all knew that David Bowie wasn't God. That would be silly.  Sure, he made great music, was a great actor where he was able to make his own inherent strangeness work to his benefit, and was just a seemingly great guy. Hell, when was the last time we had a great artist that people were still talking about in a positive light before the person died?

But, even behind the jokiness of David Bowie being God, perhaps it kind of wasn't a joke either.

This is what makes it difficult for a lot of us. To me, Bowie never really seemed to be from this world. But, it kind of feels normal to think of him that way as well. I've read pieces about how Bowie got by in the industry by being weird. He was a bit of androgynous figure who created weird, off-beat, yet, fascinating music. Who else would perfectly embody the role known as The Goblin King and completely own up to it while still have everybody love him?

Maybe we just all started to believe that he was some sort of alien after he made an album about sort of being one. Who else could do a whole album like The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders from Mars, a rock opera involving a messenger travelling through space with space lasers and space invaders? Out of context, this all seems weird and very out there. But, within the context of David Bowie, it's all very awesome.

And that's not even including the other great albums and songs he did. I only really having a passing familiarity with his albums, but there are quite a few songs I liked by him. So much so that this what I wrote about him a year ago when I talked about my top five favorite artists.

"No matter what this guy does, it's at least always interesting. He branches off into a lot of different kinds of sounds and a lot of them are just winners. Even his more pop sounding stuff is immensely listenable compared to other artists. His songs you probably hear on the radio like Modern Love and Let's Dance are honestly quite great, but his quieter and even more "quirky" songs are what really stand out for me."

This was the song I used to represent him.

It's not quite something I can fully describe or comprehend. I could probably tell you how this song was constructed and why it works really well. But how someone could conceive anything like that? It would already take someone special like David Bowie.

Don't ask me to rank my favorite songs of his or my favorite album(I already feel too critical of The Beatles just by having a favorite album by them[Rubber Soul]); it's really hard to have to rank an artist's work when each of his pieces are already great in their own unique way.

So very special. So very unique. What else could he be besides an alien?

And I think that's what makes it difficult for a lot of us. If anybody were immortal, it would have to be David Bowie.  Someone we could call God and kind of be sincere about it. Someone we could call an awesome space alien from Mars and we wouldn't even have to think twice about it.


Because there was no one else like David Bowie.

The only thing that would humanize Bowie is if something happened to him that every human has to face eventually. Death...

David Bowie was just as human as the rest of us, something that most of us probably forgot or refused to even realize.

David Bowie wasn't the immortal we all secretly thought he was, but...well, I don't know what else I can add to that sentence. I've tried finishing that sentence before, but I can't. I'm not sure how to finish it without sounding maudlin. Losing David Bowie is a loss I don't think we can ever recover from.

I don't think I can say it better than Todd in the Shadows can

Or Carrie Brownstein

Or Jen Kirkman

Or, really, a lot of people.

Now...I guess the only thing we secretly hope for now is that David Bowie didn't die, he just went back home. Because I know I'll never be able to accept the truth.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Oscar Predictions(and Blunders)

Oscar time? Okay!

So, I'm going to go down the awards that I care about or feel like I'm okay talking about and then I'll tell you what I think should win. Got it? Okay.

Best Actor: Benedict McCumberbuns(The Imitation Game)

If The Imitation Game isn't going to win Best Picture, then Sir Sherlock Holmes is bound to win this award. Why? Well, he plays in a Biopic set in WWII about a guy with a mental disorder who happens to be gay.

This is just pure Oscar Gold, isn't it?

Real Best Actor: Jake Gyllenhaal(Nightcrawler)

What? Were you expecting me to keep to the nominees?

Well, I'm not. One of the weird things The Oscars keep on doing is overlook a lot of special achievements or at least the things that are more interesting. And Gyllenhaal's performance in Nightcrawler? It's nothing quite like anything else. Granted, the script helped a lot of this performance, but there isn't going to be anything quite as fascinating as the performance Gyllenhaal gives.

Best Actress:....

Honestly, this is kind of a toss up for me. Meryl Streep isn't here to ruin everything this time and, honestly, I've only seen one of the movies in this line up.

Real Best Actress: Rosamund Pike(Gone Girl)

Rosamund Pike in Gone Girl was something else entirely. She gives this weird, creepy effect that's not dissimilar to Gyllenhaal's performance, but also not quite like anything else.

I won't give away anything for those who have still not seen it, but you really should!

Best Support Actor:....

Yeah, kind of at a loss here as well. I've only seen Boyhood of all these movies and honestly.

Real Best Supporting Actor: Dave Bautista(Guardians of the Galaxy)

There was only one actor this year who could deliver the line "Never call me a thesaurus" and have it be the best thing ever.

Honorable Mention: "I am groot!"

Best Supporting Actress: Meryl Streep(Does it matter which movie?)

I'm not as confident in this prediction, but let's just see what happens.

Real Best Supporting Actress: Rosario Dawson(Top Five)

Weirdly enough, yet not too unsurprisingly, The Oscars came up pretty short when it came to racial in, there isn't any. The only reason why Selma made it as a nominee for best picture was probably because The Oscars were starting to realize how white the whole thing was looking.

Anyways, Top Five was a special kind of movie and Rosario Dawson really made it her own here.

Best Animated Feature: Some movie that isn't going to be The LEGO Movie

Real Best Animated Feature: The LEGO Movie

Maybe The LEGO Movie proved to be a little too critical of everything to make anybody feel comfortable putting this in as a nominee. But, of all the things that make me not respect The Oscars as much as people think I should, this one is it.

Best Director: Alejandro G. Iñárritu

Holy crap you guys! He made the movie look like it was all done in one take. Unbelievable!

Real Best Director: Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel)

Yes, I'm a Wes Anderson fan. Yes, not everyone is going to like his style. But, damn, even with all of the Wes Andersonisms in his new movie, there's still just isn't anything quite like it.


It's really hard for me to pinpoint just one thing as being "The Best" Sometimes, there are some things that make me go "Yeah, this is the one" but a lot of times I'm more like "Damn, guys, it's all good"

But there's nothing quite like The Oscars giving a nominee to American Sniper for...anything.

Like, best Editing? Are you serious? Did we watch the same movie? Find any kind of generic action flick and you'd still have one that was better assembled than American Sniper.

Oh, it's up for Best Picture now?


I've written a review for the movie, but I'm holding off on it until the damn movie has done any real damage.

Best Picture: The Imitation Game(Maybe)

I'm not in the biggest crowd for this prediction. Anything I have to say about why I'm predicting this movie has to do with what I said back when I talked about Benedict CumberMcHandy.

Others are predicting Birdman or Boyhood.

Boyhood seems more likely, but we'll see.

But, man oh man, if they give it to American Sniper....

Real Best Picture: The LEGO Movie

Nothing, nothing, is going to be as big and as bold of an achievement as The LEGO Movie. Usually, when I talk about best picture, I understand why my favorite movie isn't going to get mentioned.

I guess it might be too much for me to expect anything like Scott Pilgrim or The World's End to get more "professional" recognition outside of certain cult followings.

But, damn, The LEGO Movie? Not even up for best animated feature? Only gets a mention of that one catchy song?

I just dunno.

Anyways, yeah, as you might expect, The Grand Budapest Hotel would be my choice if I was restricted to just choosing the nominees but I think the most important film to win would be Selma.

Wouldn't that be something?

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Kingsman: The Secret Service

Nearly five years ago, Kick-Ass shocked the senses of many adolescent minds everywhere(including yours truly) by giving us a daring, high concept story of how shockingly violent a world could be with real super heroes. While the movie could be called a dark satire on the superhero genre, there was no denying that it was also a lot of fun. Sure, it never really stops being incredibly scary that a ten year old girl could be trained as a heartless assassin, but there was nothing quite as inventive as the scenes that involved her beating the crap out of bad guys.

Matthew Vaughn's next superhero movie was X-Men: First Class, a movie that was good but didn't have the sort of violent, creative edge that made Kick-Ass come to life. But, now, he's back to prove himself again as the master of this gleefully violent, yet earnest kind of film-making he has shown through Kick-Ass with another adaptation of a Mark Millar Comic known as The Kingsman. This time, it's a take down on the James Bond genre and it's nothing quite like anything else.

What's the story? Well, if you've seen the trailer, it almost looks like it could be a James Bond movie by way of Harry Potter, where a kid gets discovered that he has the potential to be somebody great, but the trailers are being really deceptive in that regard. But even the first half of the movie sort of takes you through that kind of story only for the carpet to be pulled to show what this movie is really doing. It turns out that this movie is more of a Bond thriller than even the most recent James Bond movies with Daniel Craig.

In fact, this whole movie could be viewed as a sharp, meta commentary on the whole spy genre, particularly with the Bond movies. There isn't a lot of subtlety when two of the character start to literally talk about how serious the spy movies have been getting as they have been moving away from the fantastical elements that probably made those kinds of movies popular in the first place. There's also some commentary on class issues and on the way the modern government is running the world, but this movie is all about taking every Bond trope that you know and then turning it on its head. No prizes in guess that there is a diabolical villain with a secret lair, an evil henchman with metallic body parts, and a bunch of mooks in the same colored jumpsuits for our hero to relentlessly kill, but be surprised on how it all plays out.

Unfortunately, since this is one of those movies that revolves around shocking and surprising the audiences with every turn it makes, I'm not sure if I can really talk the story without spoiling it. It honestly kills me that I can't quite yet talk about a lot of the weird things that happens in this movie. But, basically, the main character, Eggsy, gets involved in the secret service by way of his deceased father being a part of the program. He gets recruited by Harry Hart, a Bondian super spy played by Colin Firth, who starts him on the path of becoming a "gentleman spy"(a literal term used in this movie as if the movie was sort of winking at the audience). While all of this is happen, we see Samuel L. Jackson as Valentine, a Steve Jobs-esque tech innovator, working on a diabolical plan of some sort to take over the world. So, with plot details like that, you could sort of guess where it's all leading to, but the movie takes a really dark turn in the middle...and that's all I'm going to say about that.

If anything else, Matthew Vaughn is quickly becoming one of the best action directors working today. What could have been overly familiar, boring fight scenes where it looks like two guys just flailing around at each other turns into ultra-violent, tightly choreographed, well shot fight scenes that still feels incredibly organic. And if one was wondering if Vaughn can only seem to do action scenes that involve creative ways to add to the body count, there's an intense scene involving skydiving that's more involving than your latest city destruction porn from your next blockbuster.

If there's any complaints that I do have with the movie, it's that one of the characters gets set up, characterized, and shown as someone who can really take care of business and then they give this person not a lot to do towards the end of the movie. And, if that wasn't enough, the character just so happens to be a female character named Roxy, the only main female character that is a part of the secret service. That was probably going to happen anyway since she's not the main character, but it's still pretty disappointing. However, the one female character who does get to do actually story stuff is one of the villains who literally has blades for legs...and it's awesome. A real character that makes for an even more imposing villain than even the main villain himself, though you're going to have to see the movie to see how that works.

Comparisons to Kick-Ass can be easily made, but, of all the movies it has most in common with, it's almost like the The Lego Movie of spy-thrillers. It rips apart the whole spy genre while simultaneously embodying it with an un-ironic sincerity. It's big, bold, audacious, gleefully violent, and also really good. After all, spy movies have gotten a little too serious lately, "Give me a far-fetched, theatrical plot any day!"

My only worry is that this movie is going to get killed at the box office thanks another young-adult novel adaptation that's even less deserving of a hit than usual. But now that you know how awesome this movie is, you know what to do this weekend!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Top Movies of 2014

Bonus: The Honorable Mentions

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

What is the legacy of The Hobbit movies? Was it all really nothing more than an extraneous digression of Jackson's career? I'm not really sure about all of this, but I can't deny that I've been enjoying the ride from the start. Are there problems? Sure! Did we really need these movies? Maybe not. But, were they fun? Hell yeah! Maybe the movies were there to show off action scene more than anything else, but, since this is a Peter Jackson project, you at least know they are going to be good action scenes. And, honestly, the story behind it all was all nicely done as far as I'm concerned.

I get why others wouldn't like it, but, for me, honestly, I'm glad I got to see it all.

Mr. Peabody and Sherman

I was waiting to hate this film. Hate, hate, hate, hate! The trailers looked terrible, it looked like they were dumbing it down for the kiddies and maybe even most of the parents, and...ugh...I was seriously just not looking forward to this movie.

But, defying every law of logic out there, it turned out to be good. It's not exactly great, it's not going to go down as a classic, but it all worked for me. It was genuinely funny, they did keep the spirit of the original show intact, and I was just surprised by the whole thing. And, really, that's enough to make me talk about your movie in a positive light of glowiness.

Sometime, it's nice to be wrong.

Big Hero 6

Pixar didn't get there chance to make a good movie this year, but Disney actually came out with something that might be on par with Pixar. But, it can't be that hard to figure out, right? Mix a good story with real emotion into the whole thing and you got yourself something more than a stupid ****ing Penguins movie. It even features an incredibly surprising and funny cameo for those who stuck around til the end of the creidts.


We only use 10% of our brain...well, for me, that might be true. At least, only 10% of my brain helps me in doing anything useful, the other 90% just tells me to go back to bed and eat an entire pizza. But, as we all know, the whole 10% thing is complete bullcrap. But I'll be damned if there wasn't anything more ballsy to come out this year, except for maybe Noah(which honestly also deserves a special mention of its own). It's like a high budget grindhouse with a big grandiose message along with creative action scenes. And then it turns around and turns into 2001 Space Odyssey by the end of it all. How can I not at least give a little bit of love to that?


This is a really good and dark action movie in its own right, but if there was anything showing a disconnect between me and other people is that I wasn't quite affected by this movie as others were. A classmate in my Film Studies class was genuinely pissed off at how crummy the main characters were acting during one of the scenes while someone else was really enthusiastic about telling me that it was an intense and exciting movie almost in the same way as past me would passionately talk about The Phantom Menace(Hey, it's okay to like that movie when your a kid). Where does that leave me? I 'unno, but I can say that this movie does have an impact among those who've seen it.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

I was probably going to like a movie that featured Apes dual-wielding machine guns no matter what, but how about a movie that genuinely makes you care about a tribe of apes as if they were close friends to you? 

This movie is so awesome!

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

If anything, the Russo brothers might be quickly becoming my new favorite action directors and maybe my favorite American action directors period(there's a reason why the best action movies we get aren't coming from the US). They've come up with creative brawls unlike anything else we've seen. For the rest, I'll admit that I'm not exactly as in with the story as others have been for one reason or another(I can't explain the weird feeling I get), but the movie is surprisingly smart and complex in its story and its themes. That's worth a lot of things.


In the real world, some things that should be obvious for everybody somehow gets blocked from their vision due to...idiocy, I guess. How do you make progress for the betterment of this world when a big chunk of people are willing to stand their ground and prevent that from happening? Like Lincoln from Spielberg, Selma shows that, sometimes, you really need to get down and do what it takes to steer the country in the right direction. MLK often gets cited as the "peaceful protestor" who helped make progress with racial and social issues, but what gets left out is how this all played out showing what MLK was willing to go through. But, finally, we get the story that pulls no punches.


You seriously wouldn't believe how close this movie was in making it in my top ten. And, yeah, I know what your thinking. "That raunchy Seth Rogen comedy with Zac Efron? Like, really, Sean? Did you hit your head somewhere down the line?" But, I was not expecting how smart this movie was willing to play it. Sure, it never really stops being incredibly funny on how you can involve a baby in the midst of a college rave, but the film goes even further by giving a theme that Zac Efron's could be a sort of reflection on Seth Rogen's character. Who knew you could turn a joke on how these two guys doing an impression on their favorite Batman would turn into something hilarious yet a bit maudlin?

If only the same Seth Rogen helped in the making of The Interview. He would be unstoppable at this point...

Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

One of the big things about making the Hobbit movies is that they're working from a book that's really hard to adapt. A lot of the changes and additions they made to the source material might seem extraneous and even downright blasphemous but the movie is working from a book that doesn't really have that much of a story. There is definitely a story in Tolkien's The Hobbit, but the structure basically amounts to...just a bunch a random stuff happening. In the book, it always seems like the Goblins and the Orcs show up just to be dicks about it, so maybe some credit should be given for making the villains a more essential part to the story. This is why An Unexpected Journey got off to a bit of a rocky start, even if I still really enjoyed it. In fact, maybe this whole experience has been a little rocky from the start as it was hard to see where all of this extraneous bloat would be going.

But, if the series has been anything, they have at least been entertaining and fun to watch as nobody seems to know their craft of big giant battle scenes as well as Peter Jackson. In fact, one could probably look at these movies as nothing more than Jackson seeing how much left he could throw into this fantasy world of Middle Earth. Of course the goblin cave sequence would be nothing but silly, yet awesome light-hearted action. Of course they would adapt a simple scene of the Dwarves escaping by way of barrel riding into a full scale action scene involving kung-fu and heads getting cut off. And, much in the same way here, yeah, what took a couple of pages in the book has been blown up into a full feature length movie involving a battle of five armies. The final result of The Battle of the Five Armies will depend on how much you've been on board since the beginning of the whole Hobbit thing, but I can't say that I haven't at least been enjoying these movies by a lot.

Since The Desolation of Smaug ended on a cliff-hanger, The Battle of the Five Armies picks up right where the last movie ended. The dragon, Smaug, is terrorizing the people of Lake Town only to be taken down by The Bard. This part literally happens before the title of the movie is shown and before the actual story starts. The real story has the Dwarves reclaiming their mountain after Smaug's defeat only to have the leader of the group, Thorin Oakenshield, be overcome with greed. A lot of this has to do with some sort of dark energy that Smaug had left in the mountain. While this sort of trouble is going on, the people of Lake Town attempt to settle in the remains of the destroyed town next to the mountain in hopes that Thorin will keep his word on helping them out. Unfortunately, even when Lake Town has an army of Elves to coerce him to keep his word, Thorin is being kind of a douche and is willing to fight in order to keep his treasure. This is all happening while there is a looming threat of Orcs to make things even worse.

So, yeah! Going back and trying to describe the plot of this movie shows how complicated the series has actually gotten. Everything to this plot is the pay off to everything that has been set up in the previous movies. Not that it has been difficult to follow even with their being about three different plots going on as it all comes together pretty nicely. The reason why these movies have gotten pretty dense is how they could lead up to this epic battle without it seeming like something that comes out of nowhere as it does in the book. There's a reason why they had scenes of Gandalf investigating the return of Sauron only to find out that this is directly involved to the start of this epic battle.

And once the battle does come, the entire thing hits really hard. Jackson throws in just about everything he could think of in order to make this a one big, exciting war. However, it is all backed by some emotional key moments that keep the story going. The Hobbit of the story, Bilbo Baggins, seems to drift in and out of the background and almost seems unnecessary to the plot, but he actually turns out to be the key guy that holds the dwarves together and the one who helps them on the right path through some pretty effective scenes. Even the love triangle between Legolas, Tauriel, and Killi really comes into its own by the end of this movie. And, while I'm even having trouble telling you which dwarf is which, the more important key dwarves in the group finally do get a good payoff by the end of it all.

I'll admit that having the last movie ended where it did pissed me off as much as the last movie I saw where it did that(Catching Fire), but, now that it has all come together, I'm having trouble figuring out where you could have ended The Desolation of Smaug in a way that would make it feel like a complete story. In fact, these last two movies could be viewed as being one long giant movie as there are a lot of callbacks and even minor payoffs that were setup in the last movie. Of course, this might make people think these films should have just been two movies in the first place but a lot of the additions to the stories from the books feel like they are needed in order to make it feel like an over arching story and not just something where a bunch of stuff happens which was the sort of feeling I got from the book. How well these additions were done is up for debate, but I'm hard pressed to think of a better way to do it while still retaining the iconic events from the original source material.

By the end of it all, no, these movies are not going to live up to the legacy of The Lord of the Rings movies that started it all. However, it has been fun and I'm glad I got a chance to see these made in the first place. I've seen this movie two times at this time of writing this and I have to admit that I think I actually liked it better the second time. This might not be my favorite of The Hobbit movies, but the conclusion is satisfying enough and the battle sequence is just down right fun. It's been a good run and I can't wait to see what Jackson has in store for the next Tintin movie.