The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug Review

The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug hit theaters last, and if you didn’t run out for a midnight showing, you’re missing out. It’s wildly entertaining, and visually spectacular. Though hardcore Tolkien aficionados may be upset with the changes and additions, the rest of us mere mortals are in for quite a ride.

The movie starts before the quest, with a meeting between Gandalf and Thorin. Thorin is a hunted man with a price on his head, but the grey wizard is prepared to help him reclaim his home. From there we jump right back to where we left off in the first one, with one wizard, a hobbit and thirteen dwarfs on a quest to reclaim a kingdom from a dragon.

This latest addition finds a more focused plot point, straying very little, with excellently paced action sequences that aren’t too fast to see. The high point of the Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was the battle in the Goblin city, but the action was so fast and crazy, with much of the rest of the movie slow moving, that all the awesomeness couldn’t be taken in fast enough. That isn’t the case here.

The movie is much more balanced, giving our heroes a slew of foes to battle throughout, and there’s also a familiar face. The additions of Tauriel and Legolas to the story add an element of familiarity, and that strong female element. Tauriel is fierce, and not one to be reckoned with, but she’s also sentimental and caring. She’s fantastic stray from the source material, but so is Legolas. I’m all for seeing Orlando Bloom don his bow and wig, but the seamless integration of the beloved Lord of the Rings character into the story took me by surprise.  I shouldn’t have been, Peter Jackson is a genius, but the scenes with Legolas are really spectacular.

 The special effects guys really should get kudos for this entire movie, but more so for Smaug. All future movies featuring a dragon should look for no better role model than Smaug. The dragon really put things over the top. His sequences really put things over the top, which was in no small part from the efforts of Martin Freeman (Bilbo), and his voicer Benedict Cumberbatch. I’m not sure why Cumberbatch’s performances still surprise me, but they do, and so did Freeman’s.

This second installment to The Hobbit is certainly no The Lord of the Rings, but whereas the last of that trilogy is my least favorite, the last Hobbit is set up to be the best, as it should be. It’s fun, and exciting, but not overly dark or gory. Kids and adults alike will enjoy it. It’s 2 hours and 41 mins, but they really do fly by, and it opens for a wide release today.

1 comment:

  1. It's weird how little screen-time Bilbo actually gets here, but when he does show up and do his thing, he's easily the best part of the whole movie. Good review.


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