So I wasn’t a huge fan of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. It was a visual smorgasbord but lacked tension since the film basically devolved into “what’s Gandalf got up his sleeve this time”? Thankfully, The Desolation of Smaug is a much better film.
Picking up right at the end of the first film, we see our merry band continue making their way towards Erebor, the former home of the dwarves and now home of Smaug, the mighty dragon. The dwarves hope to make it there before the secret door closes so that they may reclaim the Arkenstone, the most prized possession of the dwarves.
- Lots of fun action
- Great effects
- Good performances (as expected)
- Much more variety in the story (it’s not one long chase scene)
- Benedict Cumberbatch as Smaug
- Stephen Fry (c’mon, who doesn’t love Stephen Fry?)
- Hobbit purists may be turned off by the liberties taken with the original story
- It could have been edited down a bit to help improve the pacing of the second act of the movie
- There’s nothing outright bad to be said about this film, although I will point out here that if you watched this film in 48 frames per second, it was much easier to notice poor CG and props and makeup
As I mentioned at the beginning of this review, I wasn’t the biggest fan of the first Hobbit movie. I pretty much summed the first movie up as this (try to read it in a musical tempo):
Danger! Running! Dead end!
Rinse and repeat for almost two hours. And we only had to put up with this for two hours because it took almost an hour for the movie to get going. The most memorable scene from the first Hobbit film was without a doubt the scene with Gollum, which was sadly over far too quickly, and the rest was ultimately forgettable (I’d even forgotten about the scene where the dwarves sing about… who knows what).
Thankfully The Desolation of Smaug seems to have avoided most of the problems of the first movie, and apart from a slightly slow second act, is a much better film. Definitely a must see this holiday season, but make sure you watch the first (less fun) film or it won’t make much sense.