The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Director: Peter Jackson
Writer: Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, Guillermo del Toro
Based on: J. R. R. Tolkien’s novel, and other books of his
Sequel to: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Prequel to: The Lord of the Rings
Cast: Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Ken Stott, Graham McTavish, William Kircher, James Nesbitt, Stephen Hunter, Dean O’Gorman, Aidan Turner, John Callen, Peter Hambleton, Jed Brophy, Mark Hadlow, Adam Brown, Orlando Bloom, Evangeline Lilly, Cate Blanchett, Sylvester McCoy, Lee Pace, Manu Bennett, Benedict Cumberbatch, Luke Evans, Stephen Fry, Ryan Gage, Mikael Persbrandt
The dwarves and Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) have come quite a way under the leadership of Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and Thorin (Richard Armitage), but they still have a long way ahead of them until they will reach the dragon. As they reach Mirkwood, Gandalf has to leave them and the group soon finds itself in the clutches of the wood elves and King Thranduill (Lee Pace).
I already enjoyed the last Hobbit movie but this was one was even better. The pacing works more smoothly (even if it could have been a little shorter), the characters are awesome as usual and it has brilliant moments (and moments of none-brilliance).
This film does a few things better than the first one. First of all, there is much more Thranduill and Lee Pace is awesome and makes that character amazingly astonishingly wonderful. I would totally watch The Thranduill Chronicles (and I’m pretty sure Thranduill would love that). Secondly, they gave Martin Freeman more room to be funny and he uses that completely to his – and the audience’s – advantage. Third, there’s Thorin’s character development that takes him away a bit from being broody (into asshole territory, but it still does him good). But most of all, it’s the pacing that’s very much improved, even if the film stil has lengths.
And also not compared to the first film, it does a few things right: Luke Evans is perfect as Bard. I really enjoyed Tauriel, too. And the Necromancer plotline worked rather well. The barrel escape scene had me crying with laughter (though I don’t think that’s what the movie was going for at all times).
It also messes a few things up – like the spider scene in Mirkwood which was a bit lackluster. Or Orlando Bloom’s face which they pushed right into the uncanny valley somehow and which didn’t help with his general difficulties of showing emotions (which made the unnecessary love triangle not only unnecessary but also extremely weird). And as much as I enjoyed Stephen Fry, that wasn’t a character he played, it was just a caricature. The script is generally a little hamfisted. Like when Smaug [SPOILERS] flies out of the mountain and announces “I am fire! I am death!”. As a Teen Wolf fan, I generally expected him to continue with “I am the alphaaaaaaaa!” [/SPOILERS]
But generally speaking it worked very well. It was funny. It was tense. The soundtrack was wonderful, as per usual, and it looked great (I did enjoy the HFR, but this time round I saw it “normally” and it was very nice as well). I had a blast.
Summarizing: Entertaining as hell with added Lee Pace – what more could you want?