Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Movie Review: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

 The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug continues the exciting adventure of the hobbit Bilbo with 13 dwarves and Gandalf (although he left halfway to investigate an important matter) to reclaim the lost kingdom of Erebor, which happens early before the events of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy.

As a prequel to famous The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug proved to be an entertaining, engaging and enjoyable fantasy adventure epic, much better than The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in terms of action, humour and CGI and makeup effects for the beasts and creatures of the lore. The scenery shots for the film were magnificient as well. It's nice to see an old character again, the fan favourite (for females), Legolas, the brief mentioning of Gimli and the resurgence of Sauron and his dark forces.

Although there are various subplots found in the film (introduction of a movie-only character, the meeting with Beorn and elves of Mirkwood, Tauriel and her brief romance with Kili, Gandalf's investigation and his eventual confrontation of an old and powerful foe, introduction of Bard and the people of Lake Town, the appearance of Smaug), Jackson managed them well by balancing the subplots with some exciting action scenes. Notably, the barrel chase, confrontation between Gandalf and 'Necromancer', Bilbo and Smaug scenes were well made enough to be considered the best scenes of the trilogy so far.

Tauriel, the silvan elf is a great new addition to the LOTR lore, proving to be a capable fierce warrior like Legolas. It's always interesting to see a strong, capable woman in a male-dominating story. On the other hand, the appearance of Smaug is truly a presence to behold as we don't often see dragons of this scale in films.
Despite its merits, it might be too far of a stretch to make a trilogy from a single book as it never feels as epic and grand as the LOTR trilogy...seemingly lacking a compelling central plot to move the story forward for a 161-mins film. The film also suffers from numerous contrivances, a common problem to many fantasy films...just to name a few: the spiders that manage to catch the group are not eating them immediately, Legolas & Tauriel seemingly always arrive in the nick of time to rescue the main characters, Bard the Bowman just happens to be around when they need help to cross the river, Smaug doesn't kill Bilbo immediately when he knows that he's there to steal the Arkenstone for the dwarves...

Although the film ends in a cliffhanger (and its shortcomings), which may upset some audience or fans, it's still proved to be a satisfying fun watch and I find myself excited to watch the last instalment of the trilogy, The Hobbit: There and Back Again next year.

Rating: 8.5/10

Legolas: "It is not our fight."
Tauriel: "IT IS OUR fight. It will not end here. With every victory, this evil will grow! If your father has his way, we will do nothing. We will hide with in our walls, live our lives without light and let darkness descend. Are we not part of this world? Tell me, Mellon, when did we allow evil to become stronger than us?"

Galadriel: "Why the Halfling?"
Gandalf: "Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay... small acts of kindness and love. Why Bilbo Baggins? That's because I am afraid and he gives me courage."

The 13 Dwarves, Gandalf and Bilbo:

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