Film Review: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

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There is something about event cinema that is just so appealing and there is no doubt that Peter Jackson’s movies are just that.  In this second installment, we are straight into the action.  Bilbo is showing the greed and bravado that comes with carrying the ring, the dwarves are tetchy and the orcs are quite monstrous.  And New Zealand looks great.  It effortlessly frames those amazing views of Gandalf et al atop a mountain ridge.  Tourists take note.

The story can be absorbing to the extent that when the characters split off in different directions, you can become so wrapped up in what’s happening to them that you have quite forgotten that there’s another group on their own adventure elsewhere.  It is certainly never, ever boring.  Be warned though.  There is very little of the light relief we might have seen previously, no green and pleasant Shire this time.  Some parts are the stuff of nightmare.  Appropriately being a 12A rating means that this is not a film for the very young and impressionable, and what some might find horrible can justifiably be included.

The most astounding thing about these movies, is the marrying of live action and computer generated sequences.  And the CGI is just great.  I mean truly great.  If you watched The Lord of The Rings series, then marveled at how in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Golum just seemed so much more advanced and real, wait until you see this.  There is one escape scene that is so good that I couldn’t decipher which parts were live action and which parts were coming out of a hard drive.  Smaug the dragon emerging from the treasure, stalking his way around the masonry and speaking in a growl provided by Benedict Cumberbatch is just fantastic.  It’s a real wow moment when Smaug unfolds his wings to fly.  In fact I do wonder if Peter Jackson made a decision to wait to create The Hobbit series, just to give enough time to allow the technology to be sophisticated enough to do Smaug justice.

There is no doubt that the CGI in Jackson’s films is top notch and it has taken a long time for other franchises to catch up with him, but sometimes I was left thinking it was just a bit too much.  I love the fact that I am amazed by creations like Smaug, but do we really need to follow a winding shot through a building, purely created by computers, before we can fall on wherever the action is?  It seems a bit unnecessary and time consuming, and on occasion I was left thinking that just because they can do something doesn’t mean that they should.  Rather than dizzying around the screen with some computer generated sequence, however clever it is, at times I would have preferred to have cut straight to the action.  Maybe there’s just something about the ring that makes everybody greedy.

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3 responses to “Film Review: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

  1. I loved this film as I did with The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (in fact I was just rewatching my extended versions of the films for my Christmas holiday), but I wouldn’t do it in 3D, which is what I did. It’s too busy for 3D and actually becomes a distraction. I plan to go see it again but not in 3D so I can enjoy it more. I was also a little concerned in some instances just how different it was from the book. My brother has since corrected me on some of this and has told me it makes sense given the history of The Ring that’s not given in “The Hobbit” and only in the history of Middle Earth, which most people haven’t or won’t read. My big concern was thinking it strayed a bit from keeping BIlbo the focus as it is called “The Hobbit” and his role in this whole thing is vital, but after getting some additional insight, it’s clear that Jackson wasn’t diminishing his role so much as he was strengthening that of the dwarfs and how important it was to reclaim the Lonely Mountain from Smaug especially as it relates to the later series. I’m excited to see how Jackson completes this series. The creative team for both trilogies have been amazing in bringing Middle Earth to life and making the characters and more so real. :) Great stuff.

  2. Finally got to see this yesterday in 3D and it did not disappoint. A great review of a great film, couldn’t fault either.

    I don’t know what other’s feel, but I think that this representation of the Hobbit adds a lot more to the story line than the original book?

  3. Pingback: Film Review: Philomena | Backseat Mafia·

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