Title: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)
Director: Peter Jackson (The Lovely Bones)
Cast: Martin Freeman, Sir Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Evangeline Lilly, Orlando Bloom, James Nesbitt, Stephen Fry, voice of Benedict Cumberbatch
Plot: Bilbo Baggins (Freeman) and the 13 dwarves lead by Thorin (Armitage) continue on the perilous journey to the Lonely Mountain to recover the Arkenstone from the lair where slumbering dragon Smaug (voiced by Cumberbatch) lays waiting.
“Dragonfire and ruin, that is what you’ll bring upon us! He cannot not see beyond his own desire!”
Review by Eddie on 14/1/2014
It might not be easy to admit but we as film-goers have been well and truly spoiled over the last decade with films full of spectacle and wonder, worlds come alive with life due to the wonderments of modern technology. One only needs to look at any of Avatar, Harry Potter series, The Matrix series and the daddy of them all The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Peter Jackson’s epic saga will always remain one of the best loved and amazing of journeys so when the first Hobbit was met with an overall meh reception it was somewhat blamed on perhaps to many comparing it to its great predecessors and now with Smaug released onto audiences it will allow us now to get a better idea of just how this trilogy is tracking and to answer that in my opinion it must be said pretty mediocre.
I am no way denying that I to am amongst the spoilt generation of film goers and I can not but help myself in comparing these films to the LOTR and when doing so the Hobbit films pale in comparison. It’s no easy task putting your finger on exactly what makes this film lesser to the original trilogy but upon careful consideration it has to be put down to padding, plain and simple. Making a short book into a 3 part nigh on 9 hours worth of film was always an interesting choice and a choice that seriously could only have been to make more money as what has been designed to the pad the story out is easily the films weakest points.
Love stories, return of past characters and brazzingly unneeded opening scene director cameos fill Smaug and puts a dent in the story which is and basically should be a bunch of dwarves walking around dangerous country side to sneak into a mountain and steal from a slumbering dragon. Great scenes from the novel are adapted well by Jackson but are always separated by scenes that bring the mood back down and a consistent checking of the time will be in order by the viewer as the 160 minute run time is interrupted by these segments. Sounding so petty in the written word it may seem like mere 1st world problems but there are elements to this film that can not be ignored, the film featuring some stand out action scenes, Jacksons typical eye for detail (Middle Earth still feels amazingly alive) and a great introduction of the ominous dragon Smaug. For these moments alone Desolation needs to be seen on a big screen and remains an at times must see entertainment spectacle that will please many a Tolkenite the world over.
Pondering how to best sum up Desolation over a couple of weeks has been no easy feat and by now all know what to expect from Jackson’s film so here goes nothing.
Desolation is a step up from the first snooze worthy adventure and has moments that could stand equal to the original trilodgy (barrel river sequence in particular). Desolation however again feels bloated in parts and still doesn’t have a Frodo or an Aragon to lead it forward, with the dwarves again remaining frustratingly hard to appreciate. Desolation needs to be seen on the big screen and hopefully now after 2 somewhat lacking start up entries the finale will be what we have all been waiting for – a film with heart, spectacle, characters we care for and one seriously angry dragon.
3 and a half Steven Colbert cameos out of 5