Published on December 10th, 2013 | by Anto0
Movie Review: The Hobbit – The Desolation of Smaug
I’d wandered out of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey last Christmas being slightly disappointed. I’d struggled to articulate why to my mates but in the weeks that followed I’d got to understand that I’d expected more of the LOTR feel. With Peter Jackson returning in place of Guillermo del Toro it was clear that we weren’t going to get a new vision of Middle Earth but more of what we’d come to expect. The first film, in what eventually has become a trilogy, had to lay a good bit of groundwork but in the Desolation of Smaug, things really get going. We know that the group comprising of Gandalf, Bilbo (“the burglar”) and our 14 dwarves are headed for the lonely mountain to reclaim the lost kingdom of Erebor from the titular dragon.
I don’t really want to get into how the story plays out as it’ll contain spoilers but I do want to talk about how this film gets more right than it’s predecessor. I’d heard criticism from some on Twitter that the first film felt too childish. That’s definitely been addressed here as the pace, action and intensity are hugely upped. It’s possible to detect that the story has been hugely expanded from the book but it’s rare. The set pieces are excellent with the barrels in the river being a particular highlight. New characters? Well we meet the Silvan Elves of Mirkwood (Legolas included), the inhabitants of Lake-town, new evil emanating from Dol Guldur and Smaug himself. The latter is a particular highlight. The CG is absolutely spot on and Cumberbatch delivers an intimidating mo-cap and vocal performance. There are flaws but they are too few to have any significant impact. The running time, at 161 minutes, has been considered by some to be too long for families with small children. I’d point at the fact that it’s a 12-A, I wouldn’t be bringing any kid less than 9 to this but that’s just my opinion.
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is released this Friday 13th December and I’d recommend you see it on the largest screen possible. I certainly will be seeing it again.