Review of 'The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug'

2nd film in the 'The Hobbit' series

the_hobbit_the_desolution_of_smaug.jpg Perhaps I was one of the few people to find “An Unexpected Journey” went by way to quickly and had a lot of “running around”. Boy, that was nothing compared to this one.

“The Desolation of Smaug” picks up shortly after where “An Unexpected Journey” leaves off with the party still on their way to the Lonely Mountain. Bilbo (Martin Freeman), Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and the dwarves continue their journey passing through the Mirkwood Forest (with it's giant spiders and without Galdalf who is off on a bit of journey to figure out what this “Necromancer” is all about) where they are captured by the elves (including Legolas (Orlando Bloom)) which they escape in barrels then smuggled into Lake-town by Bard (Luke Evans) located at the base of the Lonely Mountain (where there is an excellent turn by Stephen Fry as the mayor) and finally into the mountain itself where the dwarf treasure is guarded by Smaug, the dragon (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch though, truth be told, he was so heavily modified it could almost have been Madonna).

Of course, that is the basic story but there is so much going on here that I would hesitate to even try to put it all down: The dwarves in the mountain trying to get away from Smaug, Gandalf finding who is behind the Necromancer, the attraction between the elf Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly) and the dwarf Kili (Aidan Turner), the poisoning of Kili, etc., etc. The first movie was certainly the calm before the storm and keeping track of everything is difficult and frustrating. I can imagine Tolkien fanatics must be up in arms here at the changes made by Jackson and I won't even try to compare the book with this movie (they both have the same characters, largely and they both have the same story…if you squint very, very hard).

I found it quite long and more than a bit repetitive (what, another shot of the characters running across a plain?…another massive battle, who this time?…). The assault Jackson makes on the integrity of the original story is hard to overlook - What was a tight and entertaining small adventure of a Hobbit in the land of The Lord of the Rings has now been ramped up to equal that original trilogy in importance (literally)…Of course, to stretch it out to three movies this pretty much had to be done…(sigh)

Of course, it looks great, let's face it. Hyper-realistic and fairly good acting for what is, admittedly, an action film. Jolly good fun and amazing eye-candy. Fantastic on the big screen and in 3-D (which is used to great effect here). Hope the Tolkienites are not too upset…assuming they are still watching and have not given up and gone back to reading the books…

Rating: “It is OK but I have some issues”

Review Date: 2014-01-06

Directed by: Peter Jackson

Studio: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

Year: 2013

Length: 161 minutes

Genre: Fantasy

Other reviewed films in the 'The Hobbit' series:

Other reviewed films by Peter Jackson: