The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug (2013) Review
Yes! I got to see a big film at its premier night and it was great! Few Hobbits, Couple Dwarfs and a DRAGON! Smaug you scene stealing marvel. What more could you want? And in case you were wondering, yes the sequel is better than the first film. It had better flow, more action and you know stuff actually happened most of the time. It’s essential what you get when adapting the events of the book rather than the journey featured in the fist film. The characters are very interesting, got to know more of the dwarfs and a whole bunch of new characters that will feature in the last film, such as Bard The Bowman and Thranduil (Elf King). Out of everything featured in this film I must say that the visuals effects are by far the most stand out improvement over the first film. Smaug was a sight to see and worth the price of submission. I’ll go into much more detail below but for now bookmark this if you are waiting to see the film, leave any comments below, if you have seen the film then check out the spoiler sections and I will look forward to hearing everyone’s thoughts.
“Dragonfire and ruin! That is what he will bring upon us! He cannot see beyond his own desire!”
The second in a trilogy of films adapting the enduringly popular masterpiece The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug continues the adventure of the title character Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) as he journeys with the Wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellan) and thirteen Dwarves, led by Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) on an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor.
Tim’s Film Reviews Recommended
Story: 95% Acting: 90% Characters: 95% Dialogue: 85%
Action/Adventure: 100% Style/Sound: 95% Visuals: 100%
The story telling is much improved and its flow of events doesn’t stop for a good old walk, it just keeps flowing, like the first should have. Whilst this time the story actually had events worthy of a 2 hour plus film it did suffer from middle child syndrome in that it has very little closure on the events depicted, I am wonderfully teased for the next film though. The best features of this film are the action and visual effects but the story of Lake Town and Smaug is also fascinating, you get Bard the Bowman (who I really liked) and his story of loss and guilt at failing to stop Smaug destroying Dale, and in reverse because of Bards attempts Smaug actually has vulnerable a side as Bard was the only person to ever dent his armoured scales. Granted the story doesn’t have the same epic scale as The Lord of the Rings, but without a war it’s hard to achieve that. The good thing about this sequel is that it has a far greater adventure given life in Smaug, he’s a monster but he’s smart and very cruel.
The cast is much larger this time around as we get introduced to a whole host of new characters, but also a far greater understanding of the existing characters, mainly the dwarfs who I can actually tell the difference between them now. My favourite new character would have to be Smaug obviously and Bard who I really liked in the book and who Luke Evans has brought to life. Benedict Cumberbatch has had a good year and if his final performance is Smaug then you are ending in a high Ben. The dialogue between Smaug and Bilbo is great, and for those of you who thought the mind games between Gollum and Bilbo in the first was the best part then expect to like this interaction. Believe me nothing is spoiled in the trailer because you haven’t seen anything of Smaug both visually and in his speech. Now then Bard was always a favourite of mine because whilst the other characters are corrupted or have in some ways selfish reasons for their fight Bard only does what is best for his people, he is the hero of the Hobbit book and whilst you get a glimpse of this in the trailer I am sure they have set up the last film fulfil this characters future heroism.
The action and the adventure set in this film are brilliant, including a few flawless action set pieces which could win best of year. Highlights for me would be the forest spider fight which shows a much bolder Bilbo save the day, the barrels in the river chase was fantastic! So fun to watch and wonderfully choreographed both thrilling and laugh out loud funny of which the trailer show very little, and of course the Smaug scenes where brilliant but I can’t really go as it is spoilers. We also got new settings in our middle earth, Lake Town, Mirkwood and the Lonely Mountain which makes me think it’s the address the people who own cash for gold uses.
The visuals are really stunning and a massive improvement over the first film, none of that CGI overload used on the Orks and goblins. Mainly because there aren’t that many of them this time around and because the ones used are mostly guys in make-up rather than complete CGI although they are slight CG’d in the face. The mountain and Lake Town look gorgeous and the visual effects mixed with the great backdrops of New Zealand just work. Moving on we come to Smaug, of whom the best visual effects of the year could easily be bestowed. Smaug is a stunning piece of work, both in design, movement and just his immense powerful presence when he is on screen. “My armour is like tenfold shields, my teeth are swords, my claws spears, the shock of my tail is a thunderbolt, my wings a hurricane, and my breath death!”
Leave this section if you haven’t seen the film, do it now! Thorin Dies!!! I told you to leave. On a serious note though, that ending kind of annoys me, wait no it really annoys me. How could you stretch a 100 page book into three films and still not have a whole film dedicated to Smaug. I mean the next film will now have to have a giant dragon attack on Lake Town and the battle of five armies in one film. I was expecting to see Smaug die in this film and that *swearing!* cliffhanger is a wee bit ridiculous for a 2 hour and 40 minute film. So what do you think of the end? Are you glad we get two films of Smaug? Are you angry that the film doesn’t really have a conclusion? Sound off in the comments.
The best reviews I found would be these:
“The Desolation of Smaug isn’t perfect. It’s more than a bit over-long in places. At the same time, it is skilfully executed and carried off with enough craft that it’s hard to resist. A much stronger film than An Unexpected Journey, it’s well worth a look this Christmas.” The Movie Blog. Full Review
“The real joy of watching The Hobbit is bearing witness to Jackson bringing all these elements together in beautiful harmony. With all my gushing aside, you do have to invest and care about the characters. I do though. I’m on board 100% and can’t wait to see the final chapter in another accomplished and, dare I say, epic story. ” Frame Rates. Full Review
“It might feel a little long at times but it is still a good piece to the journey and leaves us with a cliffhanger ending which we have to wait a whole year to see the final part of the trilogy. Which let’s face it is going to be the best part! It has been building up nicely to set it up for bigger things and I am sure we won’t be disappointed with the third instalment.” Let’s Go To The Movies. Full Review
“This sequel contains great visuals, fun characters, cohesive storytelling that leads to further plots and great action that pays tribute to Tolkein’s entire legend onscreen on both sides of this adventure. It is not without its slower parts and moments that add very little to the overall film. I was not overly-excited to see this one after being disappointed by the first, but now am glad I did and cannot wait to see the final chapter.” The Focused Filmographer. Full Review
“What the trio of Jackson, Boyens and Walsh did here was create an overly ambitious and wonderfully exciting film that assaults the senses, makes fans of the text happy and still sets the stage for a tremendous final act that will sure to be the very best of this Hobbit Trilogy. I can’t recommend The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug highly enough, and for those 2 and a half hours you’ll be transported from a dark movie theater to an entirely different world of imagination and wonderment.” Funk’s House of Geekery. Full Review
My favourite scene would have to be DRAGONS!!! It just is the best when you watch anything fantasy, great visuals and the best of the films dialogue. Although the barrel run on the river had a very funny moment with the fat dwarf, everyone laughed and it just worked for me.