The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug Film Review

Posted: December 16, 2013 in Movie reviews
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Hi Everyone. I recently got back from seeing the sequel to Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit An Unexpected Jourmey: The Desolation Of Smaug. Here’s my take on it.

The storyline of ‘Desolation’ continues the events of An Unexpected Journey, in which the hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) travels with the wizard Gandalf The Grey (Sir Ian Mackellen) and the company of dwarfs  led by Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) through the Elven woods of Mirkwoord, Laketown, all the way to The Lonely Mountain to reclaim the dwarfs’ homeland and to steal the Arkenstone gem from the deadly dragon Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch).

First of, I’d like to say that I throughly enjoyed An unexpected Journey, sure it had some problems, it was far too long and some scenes really dragged on, but I still had a good time watching it and it was great to return to the wonderful world of Middle Earth created by the master himself, J.R.R. Tolkien. Now this film, I can honestly say was a truly FANTASTIC sequel. It improved on the first movie in almost every way. For some people, this may be the film they were hoping to see when the first Hobbit film came out.

Firstly, even though this is a long film (2 hours and 50 minutes) every moment is exciting. I didn’t feel bored once, not once scene dragged and each one felt like it had a purpose in the film. This film is also a lot darker than its predecessor, with some gruesome fight scenes and a lot of general peril (The spider scene I felt was actually generally creepy).

As always the acting was spot on, Jackson is great when it comes to casting his movies, everyone in the film looks and acts the part. Martin Freeman is still awesome as Bilbo, watching him you get the thought that no other actor could play the role. It was great to see him begin to fall victim to the one ring that he stole in the first movie. He actually comes of as threatening when a spider tries to take the ring back. Sir Ian Mackellen is still on top as Gandalf the Grey (Though he sadly doesn’t appear that often in this film and his presence is missed) All the dwarves are great and so are the elves, in short, every performance in this film is great.

I also really enjoyed the new characters introduced in this film. Bard, the resident of Laketown is great, you can really sense his passion and fear of the dwarves mission of awakening Smaug. And of course there is Tauriel, the she-elf who was invented only for the film.  Some fans have been wary and critical of this new character, but I honestly thought she was great, not only was she was a total badass (Seriously, she kicks a lot of butt in this film) but she was a free spirt who did what she felt to be right. I also like how in a way, she represents a bridge between two worlds and she develops a romantic connection with one of the dwarf brothers, Kili. The romance is short and sweet, never dragging and never out of place.

We also see the return of fan favourite Elven warrior, Legolas (Orlando Bloom). Again, this character was not mentioned once in the original book and while I didn’t really see the point of having the character return, it was still great to see him. But for me, the best part of his return was that we actually see him bleed! That’s right he gets injured in this film. He never got a scratch on him in The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, so this was a welcome change. Even still it was great to see the character back in action. Speaking of which, the action in this film is also spectacular, my personal favourite action piece was the Barrel escape from the Elven prison. It was full of so much energy, style and some brilliant cinematography.

But for me, that absolute best thing about this film was the title character himself, Smaug. Good god was this character amazing. Everything about him was astonishing, his look, his design, his voice, I cannot thing of a single thing wrong with him. He was elegant, he was threatening, he was devious and menacing, definitely one of the best onscreen villains I’ve seen in a long time. He appears in the last half of the film and every second is ‘precious’. The scene between him and Bilbo and was perfect, it was very tense and beautifully acted. It leads to what I think is a great ending, sure it’s basically the filmmakers saying ‘haha, we’re making another one, you have to wait till next year to see it‘ but it’s still a great ending that leaves you totally pumped and ready for the third and final instalment of the trilogy.

But of course like any movie, this film does have its flaws. Firstly, the soundtrack (Composed by the amazing Howard Shore) was fairly underwhelming, it was nice to listen to, but I don’t think I’ll be buying the soundtrack as it wasn’t very memorable. I also didn’t like how the thirteen dwarfs constantly gave up whenever they were faced with a problem that they couldn’t understand. I know that they’re meant to be stubborn creatures, but it got quite tiring having to watch Bilbo step in and solve the problem while the dwarves sat in a corner and sulked. Also, there were a lot of changes from the book that for me didn’t make much sense, sadly I can’t reveal them to you as it is quite a big spoiler, so for now I’ll just say it involves the return of an old face. For me I didn’t see why this element was added into the film and it needed a lot more explanation, hopefully the third film will put my concerns to rest and explain this sudden change.

Overall though, The Desolation Of Smaug is a fantastic sequel. It was almost everything I could have hoped for, even though it had some flaws, none of them ruined the film for me. If anyone was left disappointed by An Unexpected Journey, I urge you to see this film as you will not be disappointed. Any fan of The Lord Of The Rings and The Hobbit should also see this film. It’s fun, exciting, dark, tense, suspenseful, poignant and a great adventure. Bravo Peter Jackson, I eagerly await the release of ‘There And Back Again’.

Overall rating: 4.5/5

Reviewed by Nick Zabierek.

  1. Jaynewis says:

    Another great review Nick

  2. Morrgan B says:

    Good review. I have to agree that Smaug’s scenes were stunning. Definitely on my list of favorite animated dragons. It’s hard to believe that Martin and Benedict didn’t act together during this, since their scene was executed so perfectly.

    Your comment about the return of an old face, I’m assuming that has to do with the Necromancer (I’ve never seen Lord of the Rings, but I’ve done my research). I won’t give away anything, but I think it was a nice addition, since this is meant to be a prequel to the LOTR franchise. Granted, the Necromancer was never in the first book (yes, I’ve read it), it still keeps the tension of the story going. Smaug is not going to last forever, so the Necromancer is the back up villain.

    And I agree with your comment that the film didn’t lag. That was my BIGGEST complaint about the first one!

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