The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug review
The Desolation of Smaug picks up pretty much where its predecessor left off. Bilbo, Gandalf and the dwarves are being pursued by Orcs and are running out of time to open the door to the old dwarf city, which is now home to the fiery dragon Smaug.
Unlike the first Hobbit film, there’s not a long wait before the story kicks into full gear. In fact, so much happens in the movie that there isn’t really much down time at all, but the long running time ensures that nothing seems rushed.
The main story focuses on Bilbo and the dwarves as they make their way to Smaug, but then there’s also the side story of Gandalf who splits from the group early in the film, as well as various subplots given to supporting characters who are introduced along the way.
It’s the subplots that really fill the film up with detail that may not have been there in the original book, but still feels natural in this fantasy world. The best variation from the novel is probably the introduction of the wood-elf Tauriel, who is played by Evangeline Lily. Tauriel is such a badass that she just steals every scene she’s in.
Even so, the most satisfying part of the movie definitely comes from the book. When Bilbo finally gets face to face with Smaug, the scene is amazing. It has smart dialog and Smaug is brought to life so well that it’s hard not to fear for the safety of the little hobbit. By the time this scene rolls around so much has happened that it’s seems like there won’t be enough time left to give Smaug the screen time he deserves, but don’t worry this isn’t the case.
One of the major benefits of getting a lot of the talking out of the way in the first film, is that it means this time they’re free to just go all out with the action. The quick fighting style really helps speed up the pace of the film and is visually interesting. In fact, the whole movie is visually interesting and full of wide shots that really help build the world of Middle-Earth.
The length of the film may help with the pacing of the story, but there are some flaws that are unavoidable with a three hour running time. For instance, there are people who will just never be able to watch this movie. Three hours is just too long for a lot of potential movie goers and it’s also a surprisingly difficult task for the bladder, especially for those who order a large drink. Still, when it comes to a film based on one of J.R.R. Tolkien’s books, fans expect it to last about three hours.
While challenging on the bladder, the Desolation of Smaug is definitely worth seeing in cinemas, even if you didn’t like the first one. The increased frame rate makes the price of an IMAX ticket seem justified, which is so rarely the case. Having watched the first Hobbit film at home, I can honestly say that, after seeing this sequel, I wished I’d seen it in the cinema instead.
What do you think of the Hobbit? Are you a fan? Have you read the books? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.