Friday, January 3, 2014
The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug (2013) Review
The film of the year, hands down. The Hobbit 2 is the second part of the prequel trilogy for the all-famous Lord of the Rings movies. The film follows the adventures of Bilbo Baggins as he is now tormented by the One Ring he collected at the end of the first movie and of course, Thorin's Company who become splintered and greedy out of various other dark sources.
Adapting a 300-page fairy tale book into three blockbuster movies has certainly been as much of a challenge to Peter Jackson as adapting three large-scale books, but unlike the more confusing An Unexpected Journey, it actually works this time. The story is kept nicely flowing, the characters are believable and though references are still made to the grave of the Nazguls(???), it's mostly insignificant.
I personally saw the movie in 3D, so I can only talk about that particular version. The movie used 3D very well with occasional shots with ponies and bees being a highlight in terms of camera work.
The writing here is a clear improvement over the first movie. Fart and snot jokes are thankfully a thing of the past with more focus on the actual characters. Unlike the first movie, where I was having trouble keeping track of the dwarves, here I know them all already. And with them split up, it's even easier. Benedict Cumberbatch does a magnificient job as both the dragon Smaug and the Dark Lord Sauron himself. I'm not really sure about turning Sauron into the enemy of this story as well(partially because he's only mentioned in the novel and partially because I like Smaug that much), but his confrontation with Gandalf was majestic(how come 60 years passed between this and the Lord of the Rings, but Gandalf still wasn't worried at the start of Fellowship?).
Bilbo was a bit underused in this movie, but the scenes that he did have were all very powerful(either having to do with the One Ring or rescuing the dwarves yet again). The part where he killed a little spider who dared to hit the Ring with his leg was a big contrast to his choice to spare Gollum in the previous movie).
Even though Radagast only had two or three appereances in the whole movie, they were made up by the fact that even he has mostly stopped his Jar Jar-ish antics and is genuinely asking Gandalf to leave the Company. That just shows how badly things are going(and makes no sense with Fellowship). As for Gandalf, kudos to Ian McKellen. Gandalf hasn't been this badass since his confrontation with the Balrog. And here he's fighting Sauron himself(I wonder where he gets his staffs. He loses them all the time in these movies.)!! Liked the cliffhanger in Dol Guldur(though we all know Radagast will come back and save him). Also, the nod to his supposed ability to teleport in the book was pretty nice.
Overall, the movie was great. Lots of action scenes blended with actually really decent comedy and drama. The characters we grew to enjoy in the first movie have become dark and the characters we didn't have become great! "That's my wee son Gimli." just spoke so much. Like making me ask why dwarves are Scottish.