Short review of the 2nd Hobbit film: It’s awesome! Go watch it when you get the chance. Now, if you want a little more details as to why this is a great film, read on! However, take note that there will be a few MINOR SPOILERS about the overall plot. I won’t give away the big things but I will discuss some of the smaller stuff.
The Desolation of Smaug takes places a few days after the events of An Unexpected Journey. Bilbo Baggins is still in the company of Thorin Oakenshield and the dwarves. They’re still on their quest to retrieve the Arkenstone so that Thorin Oakenshield can reclaim his rightful place as King Under the Mountain. In the book, that was pretty much it. In The Desolation of Smaug, however, Peter Jackson decided to add a lot more side stories that were not included in the original story to give it more complexity.
And it works! A lot of purists may not enjoy them since the film is “desecrating” the original story. But, as a film, these added elements make the movie more interesting! Gandalf has his own story investigating the castle of The Necromancer from the first film. You get to see a lot more of Lake-town and its citizens (especially Bard the Bowman). Each of the dwarves are given more things to do and have more personality. Legolas even makes a return here to track down the dwarves!
However, the best thing Peter Jackson decided to introduce is Tauriel. She was created specifically for this film and she is a fantastic character! She’s the head of the Elven guard and she’s extremely handy with a bow and arrow. She’s a refreshing change since all of the other main characters in the film are male! Tauriel also gets her own side story as well. And it’s a fairly interesting one.
These additional stories make the film move in a fairly fast pace. One thing that I didn’t like with the first Hobbit film was it dragged in some parts. This is not a problem with this movie. In fact, I have a feeling some viewers may have some difficulty keeping up with the brisk pace the film has.
The acting of most of the cast is superb! Sir Ian McKellan and Orlando Bloom return as Gandalf the Gray and Legolas from the Lord of the Rings and they both act the same way I remember. Martin Freeman gives a lot of personality to Bilbo Baggins. Evangeline Lilly’s Tauriel is great to see on-screen. Richard Armitage’s portrayal of Thorin Oakenshield really works. He just has a commanding presence in each scene he’s in.
However, there’s still one character in the film that still manages to overshadow Thorin’s presence. And that would be Smaug. He is voiced to perfection by Benedict Cumberbatch. You can really believe that his voice is coming out of a large and terrible creature (and that’s a huge compliment, not an insult)! Also, if you think you have an idea of how Smaug is from the various trailers, you don’t! Smaug is an awesome sight to behold! In fact, I would have to say that the best scenes from The Desolation of Smaug involve the titular dragon.
Also, from what I’ve read, Benedict Cumberbatch just doesn’t do the voice of Smaug. He also did motion capture for the creature! It may seem hard to believe, especially since Smaug moves so much like how… a dragon should move! But that’s just a testament to how great of an actor Mr. Cumberbatch is!
I only have a couple of nitpicks about the film. The Master of Lake-wood came off as a stereotypical corrupt official. His lackey is just too much of a yes-man and threw me off a bit. Besides those issues, this is a near perfect film. I usually have trouble with movies that end in a cliffhanger and The Desolation of Smaug closes out with a massive cliffhanger. But, instead of feeling cheated like I usually do, I was incredibly excited and I am now eagerly awaiting when the third Hobbit film, There and Back Again, is released next year!
I highly recommend watching The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. Not because it’s part of a trilogy of films. But because it’s a good movie, period!
Have you watched The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug yet? What did you think of the movie? Are you as excited as I am for the third film? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below!