Coming hot off the heals off the first Hobbit film, only one year later we get another 2.5 hour epic film that all the nerds want to either scoff at or love… I think for warts and all, The Hobbit : An unexpected Journey is a fantastic film. I bought the first one when it first came out and then I bought the extended edition and have watched most of the appendices already. Yeah, I’m that kind of nerd. So it was with high expectations that I saw The Hobbit Desolation of Smaug.
*WARNING THERE WILL BE SPOILERS*
I hold off putting my thoughts right up front because most people read reviews to either confirm or deny their standing already, so I urge you, if you hated or loved this film, please read to the whole article. I’m a nerd for Fantasy. I grew up playing D&D and reading the Dragonlance books. I tried reading the Hobbit in high school and it bored me. Even skipping the singing, it was lackluster to me. After the LOTR movies came out, it was like someone was singing my song. They were beautiful and they were epic. 10 years of nerds going “THEY NEED TO MAKE THE HOBBIT!!” finally yields fruit and we get The Unexpected Journey and the nerds hate that they’ve added stuff to make a slender kids book into three, three hour long films. I was thrilled; more Middle Earth!? During the first Hobbit movie, I couldn’t stop smiling. I loved all the additions. I was pumped that they put in Radaghast and the Necormancer and I even loved the Pale Orc, Azog. So, by now you can get that I’m not a purist.
The Desolation of Smaug (DOS from here out) has EVERY major plot point that the book has and then some. Same as the first movie. One of my biggest concerns was Beorn and immediately I was given everything I wanted in Beorn. They did a fantastic job making him bigger than life, but also gave him a soul. From there the story goes where the book does, however instead of Gandalf being like “Hey guys, I know you’re going to be going through this crazy woods and things will get crazy, I’mma be out” they give Gandalf a purpose for leaving and also a greater purpose for Azog.
The Mirkenwood scene was FANTASTIC. I can’t say enough good things about that scene. In comes Legolas and Tauriel. Tauriel’s (well acted by Evangeline Lilly) character has a bit of male chest-thudding involved, because how dare they introduce a female to a all male book. As the father of a daughter, I’m glad they made such a strong female addition. She’s pretty awesome. She’s smart, thinks for herself, and she isn’t just eye candy. I was nervous about her and Legolas, but they are added smartly in my opinion.
Legolas (played once again by Orlando Bloom) is a total dick in this movie, and I’m glad they made him almost more of a villain.
From Mirkenwood, we have the barrel ride scene which is awesome. Yeah, sure, Legolas is a bit flamboyant in his dispatching of Orcs, but as a D&D nerd, I loved it. We meet Bard, who Luke Evans did a great job bringing to life. Laketown was fun, with Steven Fry playing an awesome Master of Laketown. There’s a bit more of Radaghast (who they toned down in this film) and Gandalf in Dol Goldur investigating the reports that the Necromancer has been amassing an army. We finally get a chance to see some more of what makes Gandalf an amazing wizard in Dol Goldur. Then finally Smaug. Truth be told, the only bummer of a time I had was in the Smaug part. No major things revealed here, but the dwarves muddle up the action between Smaug and Bilbo.
Once again, Peter Jackson did an amazing job of directing and adding cool things that make the Hobbit Sextet something amazing. This film is a bit darker than the first film and I think that it makes sense with what’s going on in the world. The light is beginning to wane in the land of Middle Earth and I expect that the final film will be the darkest in this trilogy. Martin Freeman is an AMAZING Bilbo. No one could deny that he plays that character to the nines. All dwarves are given more fun on screen and they do great. I saw this movie in high frame rate 3D, and I didn’t like it as much as seeing it in normal 2D with all the stylistic touches that Jackson adds in.
What is it that I love about these movies so much? The theme that evil and greed are growing in the world and that you have to do good to keep the darkness at bay. Maybe I’m a sucker for a movie that states there is an absolute good and it’s worth fighting for. There’s a giant divide between this and A Game of Thrones. I love both, but the Hobbit and LOTR movies are a fantastic journey that is a celebration of good triumphantly beating even the biggest of evils.