Thursday, December 19, 2013

Review of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is director’s Peter Jackson’s follow-up to last year’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and is the second installment of a three-part film series based on J. R. R. Tolkien's 1937 100+ page novel, The Hobbit.

Yes, I am still sore that anyone would try to get 3 films out of a 100+ page novel.

However if you ignore that, like I intend to, you would find that The Desolation of Smaug is a fine, fun and exciting film.

The movie pick up right where An Unexpected Journey left off with the 13 Dwarves, Bilbo (Martin Freeman) and Gandalf (Ian McKellen) on the run from Azog (Manu Bennett) and the orcs. So it is advisable to see the first movie first before this one. However even if you didn’t, I don’t think it’ll matter too much as this movie is a different beast from the first.

Whereas he was more into setting the mood in An Unexpected Journey, here Peter Jackson seem more intend on having a good fun time. It mostly worked as the action set-pieces were something to behold. From the fight with the spiders, to the barrel battle, to the battle in the Lonely Mountain against Smaug, action and combat is something this movie has no shortage of.

Also I like the fact that Jackson didn’t forgot about the humor of the book. The Hobbit was written by J. R. R. Tolkien as a children book and is a pretty light-hearted, quick paced book. The Desolation of Smaug is something like that. It is a movie more into having fun than the more serious Lord of The Rings trilogy.

Not to say the movie doesn’t have a serious side. This movie shows Bilbo finally understanding the corrupting evil influence of the One Ring as he could understand the language of spiders while wearing the ring and even brutally killing a spider when he lost the ring in the skirmish.

As exciting and as good as the movie is, there are just some things that prevent it from being great. For one thing, the elves in this movie are on steroids. At one time in this movie, Legolas (Orlando Bloom) told Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly) she cannot hunt 30 orcs alone.

On the strength of this movie, I have to disagree. Whenever Legolas and Tauriel show up, orcs get knocked down like bowling pins. Whereas the company of dwarves were captured on 3 different occasions (spiders, Wood Elves, guards from Laketown), these 2 elves kill orcs without breaking either sweat or stride. Honestly if this was a RPG game, players would be screaming these 2 were OP (overpowered).

I also have to say the love triangle subplot between Kili (Aidan Turner), Legolas and Tauriel is nothing short of ridiculous. Not for a single moment did I even remotely believe that an elven warrior like Tauriel would consider a dwarf like Kili over the handsome, orc-killing, almost invincible prince of Mirkwood. The stupid love triangle was without question the weakness part of the whole movie.

However on the whole, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is a winner. Far better than The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, it’s a fun ride through Middle-Earth as the action and humor of the movie shines through. Everyone in the theater was laughing during the barrel escape, and the ending will make you want to watch the third movie of the series, The Hobbit: There and Back Again.

That makes The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug a winner in my book.

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