Friday, December 13 2013, 11:41 AM MST
Movie Review: The Hobbit - The Desolation of Smaug
4 out of 5 Stars
Director: Peter Jackson
Starring: Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman and Richard Armitage
Genre: Adventure, Drama, Fantasy
Recommended To: Those that enjoyed the first Hobbit film, but were hoping for something closer to the Lord of the Rings experience.
Synopsis: Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and a group of dwarves as they press on to reclaim Erebor from the dragon Smaug.
Review: Following the overly-playful antics of An Unexpected Journey, The Desolation of Smaug, the second film in Peter Jackson’s planned The Hobbit trilogy, bring the tone and feel closer to what fans of Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy were expecting. There’s more action, less singing and more purpose as Bilbo and his companions make their way towards a confrontation with Smaug, the talkative dragon who has taken up residence at the dwarves’ former stronghold of Erebor. Again Jackson, who co-wrote the screenplay with Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens and Guillermo del Toro, pulls from various J.R.R. Tolkien texts as well as introducing entirely original elements to the story (primarily Evangeline Lilly’s elf Tauriel). At times it feels like Jackson is a bit too focused on connecting The Hobbit to The Lord of the Rings, rather than just telling the story at hand (George Lucas was also guilty of this with his Star Wars prequels) and that bleeds away some of the majesty of Tolken’s work. Still, when it comes to the action sequences that dominate the film it’s hard not to be won over by Jackson’s masterful ability to create beautiful and epic mayhem. The Desolation of Smaug probably isn’t the film purists wanted, but it works pretty well nonetheless.
-Ryan Michael Painter