Early deserters of the Hobbit series will find themselves entranced by director Peter Jackson’s “The Desolation of Smaug”-the second installment of the Middle Earthean adventure series and a more than impressive renovation of the series maiden film “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.” Though deemed the ultimate action adventure film, “The Desolation of Smaug” infuses elements of nearly every genre of film, making it a true cinematic spectacle. It’s intense, yet funny, cool but romantically cheesy, and thankfully eight minutes shorter than its predecessor.
It becomes evident, only minutes into the film, that Jackson has put together a masterpiece for his viewers and revisited elements of his first Hobbit film that had received some negative criticism. The film opens with Gandalf pushing himself onto a paranoid looking Thorin at a tavern somewhere in Middle Earth. After revealing that men have been sent to kill the soon to be Dwarvan King and that the fate of the Dwarvan people rest somewhere in an excessively large pile of gold guarded by a philosophically minded dragon that enjoys the taste of dwarf, Thorin concurs that some form of action must be taken and a company of men must be assembled to complete the task. From this moment the three part series is born and audience members are finally given some closure as to how and why this cinematic adventure is taking place.
Following the productions satisfying introduction, the film takes a Narnia-esche turn for the better. Bilbo and company find themselves facing foes and friends of races and origins that one would never have imagined existed in the realm of the Hobbit. Colossal spiders, unnerving necromancers, and man-bears (yes…man-bears) are just some of the interesting creatures that will astound audiences, particularly those viewing the film through a 3D lens.
Amidst the films breathtaking display of modern CGI capabilities exists a complex story that even Hobbit haters will learn to love. Romances flare between Dwarfs and Elves, insight and references are given towards old Lord of the Rings characters, battles are fought whilst riding barrels down white river rapids and characters face off against the being that inspired this 3 part series to begin with-there is truly something for everyone to love in this epic, even the acting.
The choice to cast Evangeline Lilly as an Elven character with more than impressive combat skills and a weak spot for injured Dwarves (apparently) seemed initially debatable but has proven to be a brilliant one. There is a certain kind of finesse to her character that matches the film perfectly and encompasses two things that the majority of men like to see in a film-violence and beautiful women. The same could also be said for woman and the return of Middle Earths very own sniper, Legolas.
Though some seem to believe that Benedict Cumberbatch and Smaug go together as well as orange juice and cereal, one can only voiceover a fire breathing dragon so well. If the dragon sported a Cumberbatch looking face Smaug would have been a big let down, and an odd one at that-but given that this was not the case Smaug more than held his own against the other characters in the film and I believe everyone who sees this film will be excited to see what he does next.
“The Desolation of Smaug” is a movie going experience that will stand the test of time. Jackson has provided audience members with a virtual adventure through Middle Earth that no one will soon forget and everyone will want to immediately continue. From the films extensive story line to the sound of its title rolling off of your tongue “The Desolation of Smaug” is just plain cool. Even those who sit at their computers most of the day thinking of witty ways to bash every film in existence will find little to complain about in this epic.