The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Review
Warning: This review contains spoilers.
After a bit of a hiatus, I have returned to provide another review for your viewing pleasure with this review of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. The second installment of the Hobbit prequel trilogy is every bit as good as any of the other Peter Jackson led Middle Earth films that have come out over the last decade. Following the adventures of Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf the Grey, and a company of thirteen dwarves looking to retake their homeland, the Desolation of Smaug provides exhilarating action, a strong story, and the coolest dragon in the history of cinema.
The film begins with a scene that takes place a year before the quest to retake Erabor begins when Gandalf meets with Thorin at Bree to convince him to take on the quest. The action then shifts to Bilbo, Gandalf, and the dwarf company fleeing from Azog and the orcs. They reach the house of Beorn where they're given shelter until they continue their journey. When the company reaches the edge of Mirkwood, Gandalf sees Mordor markings and receives a message urging him to investigate a prison. He leaves the company behind to begin his search. The company gets captured by giant spiders, then they're rescued and subsequently captured by the elves of Mirkwood. Bilbo helps them escape and the company reaches Laketown where they are helped by a man named Bard the Bowman. He helps them get through the town and on their way to Erebor where Bilbo finds the hidden door. They get inside and take on the dragon Smaug until he escapes, heading for Laketown while Bilbo watches in horror. Meanwhile, Gandalf discovers that the Nazghul have been set free and investigates Dol Guldor alone where he discovers that the Necromancer is actually Sauron and a massive orc army has been hidden in the ruins.
This film carries Jackson's signature style that has been present throughout the series. He easily blends CG, live sets, costumes, acting, action, and music into an epic adventure that really needs to be seen in order to understand just how incredible all of it really is. The action sequences that feature the company fighting off giant spiders, their escape from the elves, and the their battle against Smaug inside the ruins of Erebor offer plenty of awesome spectacle that fits in right alongside the great action of the other films. Martin Freeman did another outstanding job as Bilbo Baggins. His scene with Smaug is one of the best of the entire Middle Earth series. Richard Armitage, Ian McKellan, Lee Pace, and Evangeline Lilly did great jobs as well in their respective lead roles. However, one of the scene-stealers was Orlando Bloom in his return as Legolas. He did an outstanding job and I was very happy that he played Legolas differently than he did in the LOTR trilogy. In this film he was a bit darker and was definitely more of a hardened Prince who bleeds Elven blood and royalty. He has an edge in this movie that makes him different in a way that makes him interesting this time around. It will be interesting to see him make the transition into a more inclusive and understanding person in the next film that'll see him behave more like he did in the original trilogy. Another scene-stealer was Benedict Cumberbatch as Smaug. His performance has to easily be the most impressive since Andy Serkis debuted as Gollum over a decade ago. Smaug was hands down the best dragon ever put on screen and I can't wait to see him unleash his full fury in the early stages of There and Back Again.
The Desolation of Smaug sets the stage for the epic finale being released this December. I can't want to see the battle with Smaug at Laketown and the climactic Battle of Five Armies on the slopes of Erebor. I predict that There and Back Again will be the highest grossing and best-reviewed film of the trilogy. It's even possible that the next film could get major Oscar nominations like the Lord of the Rings trilogy did from 2001-2003.