The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

So we come to the second part of the trilogy that no one asked for –The Hobbit!

Following on from the events of An Unexpected Journey, Bilbo and the dwarves fall foul of Orcs, Elves and giant spiders as they prepare to meet their most dangerous foe yet-Smaug the dragon.

Ok first the positives. There are some great set pieces in this film, such a very scary-especiallly for arachnophobes like me-encounter with some giant spiders, and the part where the dwarves and Bilbo escape from elves and Orcs in wine barrels down a river. The fight scenes are good. Although he may have been shoehorned into The Hobbit films it was still good to see Legolas again and I remembered how much I enjoyed seeing Orlando Bloom fighting Orcs with a bow and arrow in a blonde wig. Martin Freeman again is brilliant as Bilbo and when he is the centre of the action the film really shine. Newcomers Evangeline Lily (Elf Turiel) and Luke Evans (Bard the Bowman) fare well enough in the mix of all the action and Lily in particular is great in her fight scenes. And as you expect from Peter Jackson Middle Earth looks as beautiful as ever.

On the downside it’s soooooo long. There is so much padding in this film you could easily have cut out several scenes and it would make no difference to the overall film. Freeman’s Bilbo is a great central character but it sometimes feels like Peter Jackson has forgotten this film is called The Hobbit as there are so many characters vying for attention. I have no problem with the adding of some much-needed estrogen with the inclusion of Turiel but I do have a problem with her being saddled with such a lame love triangle with Legolas and hot dwarf Kili (even if it does mean we get to more screen time for the lovely Adian Turner).

Although I love Jackson’s take on Tolkien I can’t help but think during this film that it would have been good to see another filmmaker’s take on Middle Earth. Everything just feels so familiar here. It was always going to be tough to follow The Lord of The Rings films but its a constant shadow over The Hobbit films that I think it would have been better if another director had given us his version of The Hobbit. Imagine what the Guillermo del Toro version would have been like.

Luckily there were enough good parts to keep me interested in the film and the Smaug (excellently voiced by Freeman’s Sherlock co-star Benedict Cumberbatch) and Bilbo encounter was worth the long wait. I shall still be looking forward to the final part of the trilogy, but with lower expectations this time.

Rating 3/5-a mixed bag but it’s worth a another visit to Middle Earth

(PS. As I’m mentioning Freeman and Cumberbatch, I have to just say that I saw the new episode of Sherlock last night and although a few bits annoyed me, generally I thought it was a great episode. Cumberbatch and Freeman play against each other so well. The opening was especially brilliant-and I bursted into uncontrollable laughter when Derren Brown appeared on the scene.)


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15 responses to “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

  1. Just reviewed it too, I enjoyed slightly more though aha, good review still though!

    • Thanks. I just think it would be a better film if it was shorter but thats my complaint about most films. It was fun in places though and Martin Freeman is a great Bilbo.

      • I know what you mean there’s only certain films I can tolerate for this long, luckily these are in that category and I agree I thought it was actually surprisingly funny 🙂

      • There was some good humour in the film and some likeable characters. It just would have been better as one or two films rather than three.

  2. Still feels a bit too long and unnecessary for its own good, but I had fun. Let’s just hope that they can end this trilogy on a good note. Good review Lauren.

    • Yeah the length was the major problem for me-and the annoying love triangle. The next film should have some good action scenes in it which will hopefully be worth the wait.

  3. I agree completely. Too long and too much padding. I still enjoyed it, but Jackson’s taking this trilogy (that shouldn’t even be a trilogy) a bit overboard…Nice review!

    • Thank you, I enjoyed the first one more than I thought I would so I had high hopes for this one. Although it was still good the main probably continues to be the length-like you said this shouldn’t be a trilogy.

  4. Great review, yeah some scenes weren’t really needed or could have used some trimming. I also think that the film forgot about the Hobbit as the central figure until they entered the mountain. I still had a blast watching this!

    • I agree Martin Freeman seemed to get pushed to the side when he should be front and centre of all the action. Shame really as if this was one or two films I think they’d be a lot more better.

  5. I haven’t read the books but when I learned that Legolas and Turiel weren’t even in The Hobbit books I was shocked that that much lee-way was taken by Jackson. Those were pretty significant roles in the film. I’m wondering how the dwarves get out of the barrels without their help in the book! Anyway, good review. I do see some merit in all your complaints, but I still had a lot of fun watching this. I actually prefer long movies if there is a big story to tell, and I think this story has that. Awesome thought on Del Toro directing this beast, that would be sweet! Hey, who’s to say this all doesn’t get a reboot in 20-30 years and we get to see something like that!

    • Hi thanks for commenting. I always seem to be complaining about long films these days 🙂 but i have to admit the hobbit was fun. The barrel ride was really good and i liked the elves involvement in that. I should really read the book and find out exactly how much Jackson had to add in. As for any possible reboot i can imagine the studios not waiting that long to remake it-just look at spiderman that was what five or six years 🙂

      • Yeah that’s true. I did think that was way too quick to reboot Spidey, but with superheroes you have lots of different villains to work in and change up the story. Not as easy to do when adapting to a novel. Though Jackson is trying 🙂

  6. Howdy Lauren, love the review as it is honest and definitely has some aspects to it that I feel the same about. I loved the action sequences in this film with the barrel scene, the spiders in the forest and everything with Smaug. Legolas was awesome and liked seeing a more cold and aggressive side of him, the new characters were interesting though my favourite was Lee Pace as Thranduil, sure he was in the first film but in this one we got to see more of him and his calm yet strange, creepy and stern personality. Highlight of the film was Smaug voiced by the brilliant Benedict Cumberbatch, not only was the voice gorgeous, but along with that incredible CGI, it made the dragon one of the most intimidating and scary creatures I have seen since the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park.

    The film definitely wasn’t perfect, Luke Evans was alright but I wasn’t in love with him like everyone else, also that love side story thing between Turiel and Kili felt so random and out of place. Plus that ending was the most abrupt of all the Middle Earth films so far.

    • Thanks. I forgot to mention in my review how much I like Lee Pace. Glad you also disagreed about the love story aspect as it was a bit pants. Still interested in seeing the next one though.

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