Starring: Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage
Directed by: Peter Jackson
Written By: Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, Guillermo del Toro
Rating: PG-13 (US) Running Time: 2 hr 41 min
So here we have the latest episode of The Hobbit. I did half expect the film to open with one of the lead characters saying ‘Previously on The Hobbit.’ Followed by a quick recap of the last film’s main action points. But alas we’re simply thrown back into the thick of things. First with a quick bit of back story to explain how Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen) and Thorin (Richard Armitage) first meet (and a blink and you’ll miss it cameo by Peter Jackson.) Then we move forward with the continuing adventures of our company of Dwarfs on their mission to reclaim Erebor.
Again, a small section of the book is stretched over nearly three hours of seat time in the theater. It moves along at a decent enough pace too, but for some reason, this just wasn’t as much fun. All the same elements are there from the first film. The visual effects are great, and the action a treat to watch. One thing became very clear though. Your average orc soldier is absolutely useless in battle! Easily dispatched by elves, dwarfs, humans, wizards and the surrounding landscape.
Martin Freeman again is dependable as Bilbo. But that’s to be expected really since they filmed all three Hobbit films together. Where The Desolation of Smaug really gets interesting however, is when we finally get to meet the dragon. The scenes with Bilbo and Smaug are totally worth the ticket price alone. Smaug’s character design is amazing, and Benedict Cumberbatch provides the perfect base for the titular character’s voice.
If you haven’t seen the first installment of the Hobbit trilogy, then do not see this sequel until you have. It will not make any sense otherwise. If you did see and enjoy The Unexpected Journey, then you can expect more of the same. The PG-13 rated action never gets too graphic.
The photography, set design and visual effects are first rate, and need to be enjoyed on a nice big digital screen. A regular 2D matinee will do. At home a HD viewing on your TV is recommended.
The initial meeting between Bilbo and Smaug.