Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug Film Review

Peter Jackson’s second installment to the prequel line-up in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings has rolled into movie theaters across the globe, grossing $808.2 million in the international box office by Jan. 13 of this year.

The adventure precedes The Lord of the Rings trilogy by 60 years and follows the journey of the central protagonist Bilbo Baggins, who is swept into an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from the fearsome dragon Smaug. Recruited by the elderly wizard Gandalf the Grey, Bilbo finds himself joining a company of thirteen dwarves led by the legendary warrior, Thorin Oakenshield. Their journey takes them into lands rich with peril and across implacable enemies. Bilbo Baggins not only discovers strength and courage that is even surprising to himself,  but also gains possession of Gollum’s “precious” ring that holds unexpected and useful qualities. A simple, golden ring that is tied to the fate of all Middle-earth in ways Bilbo cannot begin to recognize.

Running at 183 minutes, the movie can seem long-winded at times for those not accustomed to lengthy films. It did, however, prove to be very satisfactory. Without getting too specific or capping any spoilers it was much more enjoyable than the first Hobbit, which, though exceedingly consistent with the book, felt more like it was three hours of mini conflicts and skirmishes. The Desolation of Smaug had a much clearer goal and conflict set for a specific purpose in its story line. Set with moments of predictability, it evens itself out with moments of unpredictability.

Special effects lived up to the name of most Jackson’s movies, which might have something to do with it going to the Oscars this year with a secured visual effects nomination. After the movie, there were many scenes that were digitized with computer imaging that were completely seamless.

The acting from the whole cast was far from a let down. The only ankle weight cast in the movie was Tauriel played by Evangeline Lilian. Though easy on the eyes, the Canadian actress recites her lines as if she’s rehearsing. To many of the die-hard fans, this can be a little irritating, this character isn’t even in the book-but, that’s OK. Legolas, the elf from the trilogy isn’t in the Hobbit either, but he plays a major role in Jackson’s interpretation. Fortunately, the real cast does a fine job. I was particularly impressed with the voice of Smaug the Dragon, recorded by Benedict Cumberbatch.

Overall, the film is a satisfying fantasy romp, providing you have the time. The final chapter in the Hobbit Trilogy will conclude in theaters this year, December 17, 2014.