Why The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is Freakin' Awesome

 

In a word: Wow”

 

 

  • 12:10pm, Friday 13th of December, 2013: The time and date of the first showing of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug in 2D at my local cineworld. 
  • 12:40pm, Friday 13th of December, 2013: The time and date that the actual film started. 
  • 15:10pm, Friday 13th of December, 2013: The time and date I hazily emerged, forever a changed man.


“There's a leprechaun joke in here somewhere”

What can I say about Peter Jackson's second installment of the Lord of the Rings prequel trilogy, The Desolation of Smaug? More importantly, what can't I say, in the interest of keeping it spoiler free, for I would not wish a diminishing of the sublime experience of this film on even my worst enemy (it's EA, in case anyone is wondering; closely followed by Sony). I can definitely say this: this film is a wonder. It will comfortably sit at the top of my films of 2013 list, even with stiff competition from the likes of Don John, Thor: The Dark World, Star Trek Into Darkness and Pacific Rim. It's also better than the first instalment, An Unexpected Journey, and I love that film.

 

Desolation, as I will now call it, opens up with a wonderful little cameo from Peter Jackson, in a flashback scene to Gandalf and Thorin's meeting in the Prancing Pony in Bree, and the literal beginning of the quest depicted throughout the trilogy. It was a nice way to bridge the gap between films, and ease the audience into it, as well as set the tone for the film – because make no mistake, the tone of this is markedly gloomier than the first. Which isn't to say there isn't brightness and hope in there, it's just not as frequent.

"Newcomers Bard the Bowman (Luke Evans) & Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly)

As with the first film, the acting is all top notch, and the casting perfect. We get some more development for Bilbo, though quite a lot less than the first, as he takes more of a back seat to the development of Thorin, newcomers Bard and Tauriel, and returning favourite Legolas. It was also nice to see the rest of the dwarves get a bit more time to shine, most notably Kili, who practically gets his own subplot.

The overall story doesn't advance all that much, which is perhaps the only negative I could say about the film; it definitely feels like the middle of a trilogy. There's enough going on here, though that it's not an issue, and we get to explore a number of subplots and character development – with a healthy dose of action – along the way. The Gandalf/Dol Guldor subplot advances on considerably, and in a fantastic, breathtaking way. Now that this film has established every player, I can't wait to see what they do with that in the final instalment.

 

The prettiest bad ass ever makes a well executed return”

What I really need to talk about though, is the titular Dragon, Smaug. He is, without a doubt, the greatest depiction of a Dragon ever seen in moving image; to be honest, he's quite possibly the greatest CGI creation in the history of ever. I'm not even exaggerating, either, as the level of detail and quality of the creation is sublime, and the characterisation – particularly Benedict Cumberbatch's excellent voice acting – is a pure pleasure to watch. There's also plenty of it to watch, once the film gets to that point, and Smaug dominated scenes are aplenty.

There was only one thing that hated about this film, and that is that it ended; I was genuinely gripped, and desperate for more - and I've read the book countless times so it's not for lack of knowing. It is quite an abrupt ending (though you realise exactly when they are going to do it), which is jarring and depressing when you realise that that signals another year of waiting. The day they release the extended cut blu rays of the complete Hobbit trilogy will be the day I have the single greatest 24 hour marathon ever before seen in the history of mankind.

The other Dwarves get more moments to shine individually, and it's great to see”

If you are going to watch this film, you are in for a delight. If you are unsure whether you are going, then be sure. If you have no plans to go either because you do not like the series, or are content to wait for the blu ray release: get your heads checked.

This has been Blacksmith, for The Awesome Update.

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