And now… A review of the second of three movies that are all three hours each and are based off of the shortest book in the series.
I saw The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012) on opening night at midnight with two of my friends and we all had pretty high hopes for it. About fifty minutes into the movie I came to the realization that my dreams were to be shattered before my eyes. The movie was long, meticulous, and just overall bland. I gave it a 4/10.
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013) picks up right where we left off with Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), Gandalf the Grey (Sir Ian McKellen) and the rest of the dwarves journeying towards Erebor, their homeland, to take it back from the titular dragon, Smaug. Also Bilbo has been toying around with the one true ring.
I had pretty solid expectations for this movie because I figured, “Okay, they got that first mess out of the way, now we can get down to brass task and go find us this dragon everyone’s been talking about, right?” And yes, this movie does improve from the first one; but once again I found myself lost in the story and just confused as to what the point is to what they are doing.
When I watched the Lord of the Rings trilogy, it was clear what everyone was doing and why. I was invested in these characters and did not check my watch once during my first viewings (And those movies all push like four hours). Also Lord of the Rings had multiple things going on at once. You had Frodo and Sam doing this while Gandalf and Aragorn were doing something else but it all had a point! This movie focuses on this one group the whole time and I’m just not interested at all in what they are doing. I kept saying to myself, “When are we going to get to the dragon, which seems to be the point of this movie?”
There are action sequences in this film that are well done despite the overuse of CGI. One scene that stood out is the scene you see in the trailers when the dwarves are all in water buckets going down a river at high speeds while getting chased. The scene was certainly entertaining, but then what threw me off is there are some shots in which they used a GoPro camera, which has a fish eye lens on it. It made little to no sense why these shots were in the movie and it threw me out of one of the few scenes I enjoyed in this movie. My friend put it perfectly, “Someone was trying to prove a point, and I don’t know what that point was.”
Martin Freeman once again gives a good Bilbo, but I can’t really base it off anything else. McKellen still gives a great Gandalf as well. Legolas (Orlando Bloom) returns for this movie and he certainly was the high point of the movie. I enjoyed most of the scenes he was in and Bloom certainly has not lost the essence of his character. However he isn’t in the book so I can’t help but feel this was just director Peter Jackson being overzealous; but then again one could argue this whole trilogy is overzealous. Benedict Cumberbatch is the voice of Smaug and I think this was the high point of the movie. Smaug is incredibly articulate and just terrifying to hear, let alone see. I love Cumberbatch and will see just about anything he is in. Which reminds me I need to start watching BBC’s Sherlock.
Overall, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug improved slightly on the mistakes of the first film, but I’m just not invested in this story at all. I know which characters are gonna make it out alive and which ones may not. Returning actors to the series do a fine job and Cumberbatch delivers splendidly as a terrifying fire breathing dragon with a wingspan about the size of my college campus (Exaggeration… I think).
Overall Rating: 5/10 – Average
If you’re a fan of the series, you’ll probably enjoy this movie. I know one of my friends who saw it yelled at me for not liking it… Sorry, I guess? I think the CGI is excessive throughout and this trilogy as a whole will never compare to the Lord of the Rings. But what kills me is I know I’m gonna end up paying to see The Hobbit: There and Back Again (2014) next year just to see if Peter Jackson, one of the most egotistical directors in the business currently, redeems himself.
IMAGES: http://static4.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20131104230604/lotr/images/4/42/Hobbit_the_desolation_of_smaug_ver15_xlg.jpg, http://s2.img.edn.vn/123phim/2013/09/1379992839697_the-hobbit-2-su-tan-pha-cua-smaug-the-hobbit-the-desolation-of-smaug-b772e9.jpg