Cary, NC- The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is a marked improvement over the last entry in Peter Jackson’s prequel trilogy thanks to a better sense of pace and story.
First Film Was Rough
I think it’s safe to say, you’re either a fan of these films or you’re not. I’ll say upfront that if you’re not a fan, there is little or nothing that The Hobbit is going to do to win you over.
That said, I’m a huge fan of the original trilogy. I think what Peter Jackson and company were able to put on screen was an incredible piece of film making that will truly stand the test of time.
I can also admit my trepidation when they announced a plan to turn The Hobbit into another trilogy.
My fears were more or less met last year when the first installment was released. It was no disaster, but I felt every bit of the film’s three hour run time, a problem I never had with the original films.
It also seemed that the filmmakers didn’t know what to do with the over-sized cast. None of the new characters were given a chance to stand out or become familiar to audiences. The film ended with a strong, rousing finale that helped ease the pain and left me with enough goodwill to give the second film a fair chance.
The Hobbit: Part 2 is Better
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is better in just about every way. The film, which still has a hefty 2hr 40min run time (the shortest in the entire franchise), has a much quicker pace.
Much of that comes from a greater focus on its story. Now that everything is in motion thanks in large part to the long set up from the previous film, director Jackson is able to hit the ground running and keep his attention on what matters.
Also, The Hobbit: DoS is better able to display the characters, with almost everyone getting their own little moment, no matter how short ( no pun intended).
That feat is even more impressive when you consider the fact that still more characters were added to this film, including some familiar faces.
It should be mentioned, that despite a better presence in this installment, none of the characters have proven to be nearly as memorable as any in the original trilogy.
Smaug The Dragon Is Incredible
Most impressive is the dragon known as Smaug. The entire film is building to this character’s reveal and the result is nothing short of amazing.
The computer generated dragon gives a sense of awe and menace that most real actors can only hope to achieve. Voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch ( Star Trek Into Darkness, Sherlock), Smaug has a wonderful bit of wordplay with the titled hero that serves as a reminder of just how good these movies can be.
Not Perfect, But Still Worth It For Fans
There is still some fat to the film and a few new characters that prove to be pointless. But The Hobbit: DoS does remember to put some adventure in this adventure film with plenty of exciting sequences along the way.
If you are indeed a fan of these movies, then I think there is plenty of reason to recommend this to be seen in theaters. So far, neither movie in this trilogy has come close to matching the original Trilogy of the Rings, but Desolation of Smaug gives it an honest try.
The film ends (again) on a fantastic cliffhanger that has me genuinely excited for the conclusion next December.
Review by Jordan Hunt for CaryCitizen. Read more Movie Reviews.