The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – Movie Review

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There was no question I’d go see the Hobbit. The novel the movie is based upon is one of my husband Cristoph’s favorite books. He’s endured every indie flick I’ve ever thrown at him so I figure I should go quietly when he makes an unspoken cinematic request. Besides, I tend to like adventure films as well as buddy movies, and the Lord of the Ring series and Hobbit franchise have plenty to offer in those areas in particular.

Knowing we’d be in for a long running time, Christoph and I set out for an afternoon showing of this latest Peter Jackson offering. He was excited to see what Jackson’s vision of one of his childhood favorites would look like this go around. I was excited to travel to a fantastical land and ride a wave of adrenaline for a couple of hours.

We hit the theater early enough in the day that it wasn’t too crowded. We got there early because I’m learning not to be such a procrastinator when it comes to getting ready. Once we arrived and made our way to our seats, we sorted our snacks and settled in for some epic storytelling.

We are thrown back into the extraordinary story of The Hobbit as we begin this leg of the journey at the Inn of the Prancing Pony. It is here that Gandalf convinces Thorin Okenshield to embark on a journey to obtain the Arkenstone so that he can once again unite his people, the Dwarves. Gandalf knows Thorin won’t be able to do this alone and suggests that he enlist a thief to help him recapture what is rightfully his as the rightful heir to the dwarf throne.

Following this induction into the world of Peter Jackson’s Hobbit, we get a cinematic recap of events from his previous film.  We are reminded of what’s happened and how far our group of brave and ballsy misfits has come. We meet up with our crew once more as they’re being chased by orcs. The gang escapes initial attempts to capture them and ultimately, even Gandalf inexplicably abandons everyone mid-adventure. Stumbling through their journey with their fearless leader nowhere to be found, they come across giant spiders that threaten to extinguish them all.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is the continuation of the story set into motion in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit. It is the story of Bilbo Baggins’ dedication and obsession with helping his friend Gandalf and venturing to really live life for once. And, if you’re really going to live life you’re going to have to slay a dragon to do so, at least in Middle Earth. Enter Smaug…

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As I’ve already mentioned, I like adventure and buddy movies. Now, I’m not a big Lord of the Rings (LotR) nerd, nor am I a die-hard Tolkien fan, but I do get into these movies. The films draw me in where the words would normally induce mental lethargy. It seems my attention span is almost non-existent. Additionally, I’ve got to be grabbed hard & fast in order for anything to intrigue me to the point of paying actual attention. With that said, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, grabbed me fairly firmly and held on tight.

There’s lots of stuff to like about this movie. It’s just as beautiful as all the others and equally as grand. Ian McKellen as Galdalf, stays true to the character and makes the most of his screen time as always the quintessential Gandalf. Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins is my favorite thing about these movies. Freeman is charming and just shady enough to stay interesting. Richard Armitage as Thorin brings an intensity to the role that held onto my attention once the movie got the story going. It’s Thorin’s quest that we’re on, alongside Bilbo and in Thorin we must trust to get through this ordeal. Armitage leads bravely and he’s interesting to watch on screen.

Overall the acting was good. There wasn’t however, any one actor that stood out in particular. The visuals are top notch, as I’ve come to expect from Peter Jackson. Once again, it’s very easy to get lost in the cinematography during this film. The visual grandeur is not lost on me and I appreciate every detail.

Great care was taken to ensure that none of the fine points were overlooked in this film.  This intense attention to detail is what kept me engaged most during the long running time. The journey itself—to slay that dragon we talked about—seems to drag on a bit. While I was entertained the entire time I was watching the film, the story still felt drawn out. The epic action sequences, which were always just around the corner, saved the film from becoming monotonous several times. While it’s good to have intense action scenes, it sucks to have a long and drawn out storyline. Scenes progressed at a steady pace while the story remained stuck in something of a cinematic limbo.

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The Desolation of Smaug get’s a B because while it captures and holds the attention through a rather lengthy rendition of the famous Tolkien story, it just gives me more of what I’ve already seen. While I’m getting more of the good stuff, it’s all still the same stuff and when things get repetitive, they become boring. This movie never crossed into boring territory, but it tap-danced on the border in several spots.

While I don’t regret this leg of my journey with Bilbo and friends, I do still need closure. It’s great to spend time with these wonderfully rich and diverse characters, but I think we should say goodbye. I need to reach the conclusion so I can feel like all the time that I’ve invested into watching these films was worth it. I must to know it wasn’t futile. I have to know it mattered. Bring me that last good bye Peter Jackson; it’s time.

 

desolation of smaug poster

 

 

 

The Hobbit: the Desolation of Smaug – B

B = Watch it in a theater, stream it on T.V. or add it to your Netflix queue; chances are, you won’t curse me when the credits roll, for recommending.

 

 

 

 

 

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