Written by / 12/14/2013 / 1 Comment / , , , , , , , ,

THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG

year: 2013 cast: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Evangeline Lilly rating: ***1/2
When Bilbo Baggins suddenly loses his ring… The Ring… during a scene where hungry spiders have captured his dwarf friends, there’s the kind of desperate edge needed for a last minute rescue and some truly exciting swordplay (later on, a few more small but important things are lost and found in a similar fashion)…

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Eventually, two characters not in J.R.R. Tolkien’s source novel join in: although one is an important part of THE LORD OF THE RINGS.

Tolkien purists have already frowned at the decision to include Legolas, but he’s a decent addition as is (surprisingly) Evangeline Lilly as Tauriel, the subliminal love-interest who also has eyes for vulnerable dwarf Kili… But we’ll leave the sporadic kitsch aside. One of the best scenes in the movie is a standout in the novel: Our little heroes escaping from their Elf captors in river-riding barrels… Director Peter Jackson ups the action-ante from AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY, a bloated/brooding mess that never quite knew where it was going...

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Thankfully, DESOLATION OF SMAUG provides the much more intriguing, fleshed-out characters an ironclad destination so the action really matters… That being the place where Smaug the Dragon hoards tons of gold, once belonging to dwarves and taken very seriously by the pivotal Thorin Oakenshield (although Ken Stott's wise Balin steals the show).

Here’s where Peter Jackson brings us into a truly formidable, nightmarish region, visually exceeding even the plush, gorgeous exterior of Middle Earth, whether computer-generated or actual footage of the director’s New Zealand playground. Meanwhile, a subplot where Gandalf investigates an Orc castle, tying things into the RINGS trilogy, adds peripheral suspense, but there’s enough excitement in rousting the sneaky dragon into a vengeful frenzy to merit a satisfying finale, making up for the sudden ending that will most likely conjure audience groans: And yet it sure beats the three-hour groaning many of us suffered the first time around.
THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG makes up for that awful UNEXPECTED JOURNEY
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1 comment:

  1. Great review.

    You know how much I ranted and raised an angry fist against the first Hobbit movie. Well I loved DESOLATION OF SMAUG! Well done Mr. Jackson, well done. Yes I was in a tizzy over Legolas being in this movie but but, he fit in nicely, and the she-elf Tauriel was darn good. I dug the guy who played Bard, even Radagast's Rabbit sled didn't irritate this time around. But seriously that's all just the side show because...

    ohmygodohmygod...SMAUG!!!!! Smaug was awesome. This is how a dragon should be on a movie screen. Soooo good. The interplay between Smaug and Bilbo, so good.

    I'll be seeing it again. Heck I could see it again tomorrow. Maybe I will.

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