Review

When Warner Bros. first announced that Peter Jackson would be returning to the franchise to adapt “The Hobbit” for the big screen, fans were ecstatic. But when it became clear Jackson intended to make not just two, but three, full length films out of The Hobbit (roughly 300 page book), many fans were quick to label this new trilogy as nothing more than a greedy studio cash grab. To make matters worse the first entry in the series opened to very mixed reviews and was considered by many to be unnecessarily long and poorly paced with very few memorable moments. Overall the film was unable to live up to the jaw-dropping spectacle depicted in the previous Lord of the Rings trilogy and left many fans uncertain about the future of the franchise.

Fortunately, The Desolation of Smaug proves that any shortcomings in the first installment were well worth the trouble and time invested. Jackson’s vision to tell the beloved prequel story while simultaneously laying the foundation and tie the trilogies together really begins to pay off in this film. Both The Hobbit storyline and fundamental pre-Lord of the Rings plot points are brilliantly intertwined throughout the film, creating a much more exhilarating and emotional viewing experience. One could even argue that the second chapter actually adds value to the first film and strengthens some of the scenes that felt forced or out of place.

“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” continues the adventure and picks up right after the events of An Unexpected Journey. Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen), Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage), and his company of dwarves continue their journey to the Lonely Mountain. Pursued by an army of Orcs commanded by the ruthless Azog, Bilbo and his friends have no choice but to endure the dangers of Mirkwood –a dense and dangerous forest where even the most valiant and skilled warriors can become lost to darkness. Wood-elves, skin-changers and a stampede of giant spiders are just a few of the obstacles standing between our rag-tag band of survivors and their homeland. Oh yeah lets not forget about the enormous dragon ”Smaug the Chiefest and Greatest of Calamities”.

I honestly don’t want to say to much about Smaug or spoil the movie for anyone yet to see it. Suffice it to say that Smaug lives up to the reputation and definitely did not disappoint.

From the moment the film begins you get a sense of a much larger story coming together, continuing to provide character backstory and weave elements of both stories seamlessly. Jackson continues to take liberties and divert from the source-material, which is sure to agitate die-hard fans hoping to see a faithful adaptation of the story, but in my opinion he really adds to the characters and stories we loved from the previous books and films. The best example is Orlando Bloom once again reprising the role of Legolas. Jackson takes clever advantage of the elves exceedingly long life-span, and uses this film to explore the young Fellowship member’s backstory as the son of the Elvenking, Thranduil (Lee Pace). Although Legolas does not directly tie into the story of The Hobbit, his inclusion is major highlight and provides some of the most entertaining and memorable moments of the film.

The-Hobbit-Desolation-of-Smaug-PosterThere will always be a loyal fan base that will show up no matter what when it comes to Peter Jackson and the Tolkien series, but that is not a good reason to make a film, let alone three of them. Thankfully Jackson proves why his story deserves to be told and builds upon a story that many fans want to see more of. Personally I can not wait till the third film.

Ian McKellen returns as Gandalf the Grey, with Martin Freeman in the central role of Bilbo Baggins, and Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield. The international ensemble cast is led by Benedict Cumberbatch, Evangeline Lilly, Lee Pace, Luke Evans, Ken Stott, James Nesbitt, and Orlando Bloom as Legolas. The film also stars (in alphabetical order) John Bell, Manu Bennett, Jed Brophy, Adam Brown, John Callen, Ryan Gage, Mark Hadlow, Peter Hambleton, Stephen Hunter, William Kircher, Lawrence Makoare, Sylvester McCoy, Graham McTavish, Dean O’Gorman, Mikael Persbrandt, and Aidan Turner.



About the Author

Sean McAloon

I am a Philadelphia based journalist, who is obsessed with movies and television. I is also a comic book enthusiast , although i can’t keep up with everything. I like to spend my free time trying to working on short films. I currently work as an editor for popculturemadness.com and darkmediaonline.com, focusing on entertainment news, interviews and public relations. I studied business management & marketing at Goldey Beacom College.