Film Review – The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug

The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug (M)

Directed by: Peter Jackson

Starring: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom

Three and a half stars

Review by: Julian Wright

With the lengthy introductions to the 13 dwarves (count ’em!) out of the way (and, hopefully, the musical numbers) in An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit surges forward with the action packed second chapter. There are familiar faces, orcs, enormous spiders, more orcs and the infamous Smaug serving as more dangerous hurdles on this extended and tumultuous adventure.

While on their travels and being chased by orcs, Bilbo (Martin Freeman) and his dwarf buddies (too many to list here) are captured by the elves including Lord Of the Rings‘ Legolas (played again by Orlando Bloom) and Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly), who has sympathy for the dwarves and takes a fancy to one of them. The swift little fellows manage to escape and find themselves being tracked by two species, but their next destination is to the hidden lair of fire-breathing dragon Smaug to nick one of his precious jewels from the mountains of treasure that he guards. The trick is to not wake the beast while they are robbing him.

On a superficial level of pure popcorn entertainment, Smaug is a vast improvement over the lumbering An Unexpected Journey. The pace is fast without the pesky set-up and establishing scenes that we endured in the first chapter. Jackson still has not lost hi touch when it comes to leaving his audience breathless with frightening close encounters and in awe of the detail of the world he has brought to the screen.

While this fast paced experience resembles a roller-coaster ride of thrills, this saga feels more like a race car track – going around in circles, not really going anywhere. The character development set up in the first film are put on the back burner so that this time we are sharing the journey with people we have a vague idea of. fortunately, they are brought to life by a charming and appealing cast, led by screen and Rings veteran McKellan and the watchable Freeman. Only Bloom fails to register, his blank face a blemish on the stunning Middle Earth landscape.

What Jackson still has failed to do yet again is justify the run time and reason for this story to be stretched over three 2.5 hour films. He keeps us nicely distracted from that fact that this could have been wrapped up in a couple of lengthy films, as opposed to three, with a parade of expertly crafted action sequences. But at the very least, we finally get to learn how to pronounce “Smaug’.

One Response to “Film Review – The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug”

  1. The story is finally feeling like it’s actually going somewhere now, I just hope that they don’t screw it up in the next, hopefully last installment. Nice review.

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