Monday, December 16, 2013

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013): Review

I was bummed this weekend because I was so busy with scheduled activities that I was unable to go see The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.  Because I have been waiting for this movie to come out I decided to stay out later then usual this Monday evening and go see it on a work night and I am glad to say that it was worth it.  I really liked this movie and do not want to have to wait for the third installment of The Hobbit to come out next year, I want to see it now.  The cliff hanger at the end of the movie left me going, "no you didn't just end it there," but I do understand why it was the point of the story where it pauses and it did seem a logical point.  I still can whine about having to wait another year to see it.
Last year I went and saw The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (read my review from last year here  and it was my first adult viewing of anything The Hobbit or Lord of the Rings.  I had watched the first Lord of the Rings movie LOTR: The Fellowship of the Ring in theatres when it first came out in 2001 but I never really got into it, I blame it on my teenage girl stubbornness but since last years viewing of the first The Hobbit I re-evaluated my position and went back and watched all the movies and am now a fan (read about my Lord of the Rings Journey here ). I really enjoyed this movie and although it is a very much a middle of the story movie it was a journey with Bilbo and gang that I enjoyed.  As I am a more recent fan of these movies I have not yet read the books so I was not upsetted or annoyed with the adding to the story, as The Hobbit is a short book that was beefed up for the movies and from what I know about the stories Legolas is in no way a part of the book but I liked how his and Taurial were weaved into the story.
In Desolation of Smaug we start with Gandolf, played by Ian McKellen meeting up with Thorin Oakenshield, played by Richard Armitage, and what gets them started off on this quest in the first place.  We then come back to the twelve dwarfs and Bilbo, played by Martin Freeman, as they continue on their journey from the first movie.  They are trying to get to the secret door to the mountain before the end of autumn but in order to do this they separate from Gandolf and go through the forest, as they are still being pursued by Orcs. In the forrest they come across the Woodland Elves, meet the woodland king Thranduil, played by Lee Pace, the prince Legolas, played by Orlando Bloom, and elf warrior Taurial, played by Evangeline Lilly.  As Bilbo, Thorin and co work to get to the mountain they have to face the very real threat of dealing with the dragon Smaug, played by Benedict Cumberbatch. 
I liked the overall pace of the movie, and once it got through the little set up that it had, it kept a pretty good pace of action (which was not toooo drawn out this time) and moments focused on character interaction and acting. Martin Freeman continues to be great as Bilbo and I really enjoy all that he does as an actor. I don't think that there was a weak link in the acting or casting of the movie, the only thing that I struggled with is that the fact that Orlando Bloom is obviously older then he was when he was in the LOTR trilogy a decade ago, which chronologically happens after these movies) but that cant be helped as he is a decade older now. Going into the movie I wasn't sure how I would like Evangeline Lilly's character but I found out that she added a nice dynamic to everything and I especially loved the chemistry between Taurial and Kili, played by Adrian Turner.
Once again this movie does all of the Peter Jackson cinematography stuff but I would have liked more sweeping landscape shots, which I have come to love and expect in these movies, but as there was less travel over long distances in this movie, it makes more sense with the story. There were moments where I could tell that everything on screen was computer generated but I think that with everything being so HD it is difficult to make everything look perfectly real. 
I saw this movie in 3D and enjoyed the dimension that it gave everything and when I see this movie again I wouldn't mind seeing it again in 3D.  The only thing I didn't really like in 3D was the bees toward the beginning of the movie, as they seemed to be there only for the 3D effect and had no real point.

This movie continues to hold up to the standard expected from Peter Jackson and his Tolkin movies, I think that all of the added material will annoy those die hard fans, but those who have enjoyed the other movies it hits all the marks needed. I think some knowledge of the first movie is needed to get all of the references, but I think that you will be able to follow the movie even if you haven't seen the first Hobbit movie, that is as long as you don't get caught up in the details and just go with what is happening.

My Rating: 3-

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