Movie Review | The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

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New Line Cinemas | December 2013
Directed by Peter Jackson
Rating: PG 13

From the moment ‘The Hobbit’ was first read to me by candle light on a camping holiday in France, I have been a lover of all things Tolkien; ‘The Lord of the Rings’ movies are some of my all time favourites! So here follows my unquestionably unbiased and assuredly well-balanced review of ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.’ (Wink, wink.)

Bilbo Baggins is back and with a bang! After a sluggish start-- the perpetual dinner party of ‘An Unexpected Journey’ was tiresome even to a super fan such as myself -- this second installment is certainly a return to form for director Peter Jackson. There is hardly a moment when Bilbo and his friends are not stampeding over mountains, climbing trees and battling enormous, mutant spiders. A note of caution: before watching, make sure to visit a washroom and preferably shun all liquids during the movie, a ten minute bathroom break could be costly.

For those of you who haven’t read the book or watched the first film in the trilogy, ‘The Desolation of Smaug’ rejoins a band of dwarves, led by the imposing Thorin Oakenshield and accompanied by Bilbo Baggins the hobbit, on their quest to the Lonely Mountain. This mountain, once their home, is now occupied by an enormous and fearsome dragon, Smaug. The clue is in the title so I will be revealing no secrets when I tell you that the said Smaug features heavily in this particular episode and he is certainly both an enormous and a fearsome screen presence. Particular highlights were the reappearance of the Necromancer,who is truly terrifying, and a fantastic performance by Martin Freeman as Bilbo.

My one criticism was Peter Jackson’s inexplicable desire to extend the movie to a whopping 2 hours and 40 minutes by adding entirely superfluous subplots. I felt that this detracted from the central narrative and seemed to suit no other purpose other than adding more bulk and bagginess to an already overcrowded storyline. All criticism aside, whilst this movie doesn’t achieve the spine tingling majesty of ‘The Lord of the Rings’, it is good fun action adventure at its purest.