Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Peter Jackson, 2013) Review

Christmas film interruption time as we take a look at yet another 2013 film...I'm really flying through these this year. Last December saw the prequel of the amazing Lord of the Rings trilogy with The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey which, while it was a good film, didn't really compare to the original trilogy. It's been a year since then and we can now return to Middle Earth to witness The Desolation of Smaug.

On the quest to the lonely mountain, Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) Throrin (Richard Armitage) and their band of Dwarves must pass through the Mirkwood Forest and reach Lake-town without the aid of Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and face the judgement of Elven warriors. From Lake-town, Bilbo must prove his worth as a burglar and reclaim the Arkinstone from the Arkhenstone from the clutches of the beast that took over the mountain, the ferocious dragon Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch).

THIS is what I wanted from the first Hobbit film. Action sequences have always been a highlight in the Lord of the Rings trilogy (the battle of Helms Deep is one of my favourite action scenes in any film) and the first Hobbit film never had any one action scene that stuck out. There were memorable scenes such as the Gollum scene but not nearly as many as old trilogy. The Desolation of Smaug fixes this and ups the ante. Since the introductions were done previously, we get more time for the journey and action. The barrel scene that was featured in the trailer is more amazing than you could possibly imagine and any scene with the eponymous Smaug is absolutely brilliant. These are scenes that are truly worthy of being associated with The Lord of the Rings.

I have to wonder what people's reaction to Martin Freeman being cast as Bilbo was. I bet they couldn't see how brilliant of a performance he would deliver in this film. While you could accuse him as just being a hobbit version of John Watson in the first film, Freeman proves his acting abilities in this one. This film adds much more emotion (the scene with the ring in Mirkwood Forest is really well acted). Other actors such as Ian McKellen and Richard Armitage also do well, even though McKellen is downplayed a bit in this one. The actor that truly blew this one out the water though was, just like Star Trek Into Darkness, Benedict Cumberbatch. His voice combined with Smaug's design is worth the price of admission alone.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug was the film we've been wanting sine these prequels were announced. If you loved the original trilogy yet felt let down by the first Hobbit film, this one will hopefully fix everything. The acting is amazing, the action scenes make the film, more emotion makes more a more engaging experience and Smaug is one of the highlights of this film year. Well worth the price of admission.

Fixes all the problems with the first film and expands upon these elements even further.

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