A state of complete emptiness or destruction. “The stony desolation of the desert.”
Before I go into my review for Peter Jackson’s latest installment, The Hobbit the Desolation of Smaug. I have to state how impressed I am with this man. His work with the previous Lord of the Rings movie are clearly widely loved, but I’m most impressed that this man has taken half of a 200 page book and has thus far stretched it to two 3 hour films. I immediately think back to high school where I had tremendous trouble reaching the page requirement section of my book reviews and I can imagine that was never an issue for Mr. Jackson. In any case, lets dive right into The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.
As always I will keep the spoilers to a minimum as to not ruin the entire film for you. But l do feel compelled to inform the Tolkien fans out there that if you are hoping for true to content film making in this one you will be sadly mistaken. It is abundantly obvious that this film is influenced more by the Lord Of the Rings movies than the actual book it’s based off.
To Name a few (Don’t worry Spoiler-Free)
- The significance of the one ring
- Confusing/Anti-climatic “final battle”
- The adventures of Gandalf (a side story that really wants the audience to pay attention to… but fails).
But are these flaws deal breakers? No. Peter Jackson takes creative liberties with the Hobbit just as much as he did with the previous films, so to all the die hard Tolkien fans I say to you the same thing I say to the obsessed comic book geeks bitching at the theatres, you just going to have to let it go.
Now let’s see how the rest of the movie holds up
Pace 7 out of 10
Bilbo: “Are we there yet?”
Now to be perfectly honest, a 7 out of 10 for a movie that knocks on the door of being 3 hours in length is a damn good score. The film keeps up by providing a significant amount of action scenes and plot moving dialogue to keep the audience entertained and invested in the journey, but 3 hours is 3 hours, you will come to a point in the film where your ass, empty popcorn and full bladder will remind you how long you’ve been there. ˛
Action 9 out of 10
Orlando Bloom: “I’m not just going to be some pretty boy in this movie right? You know, solely there to kill orcs with arrows. Legolas is actually going to contribute to the story arc right?
Peter Jackson: “Uhhh sure”
There are pros and cons for the action. One, you never go to long without somebody getting cut. And with Orlando Bloom renewing his role as Legolas, his exact purpose is to keep that action going. Peter Jackson even try’s to give poor Legolas a story arc. Sadly, no one cares. Not the audience nor the screen writers, considering Its hard to attempt a love story where the guy can’t get a word in before he has to chop an orc’s head off. Which is perfect for me considering the main aspect of this movie I was worried about was Peter Jackson throwing Legolas into the movie to steal attention away from the central characters. And honestly that assumption is not a stretch if you look at the movie posters and trailers, where you see all of these warrior characters as they stare into the distance; with Gandalf fighting orc, Thorin looking badass and Legolas going all Hawkeye on some Uruk-hai. One problem… where the hell is the Hobbit. So I was obviously worried that poor Bilbo would be pushed to the side, but luckily that was not the case. We are still following Bilbo’s character growth and journey, as he is the heart of this merry bunch.
Cinematography 10 out of 10
It’s a Peter Jackson Movie with an endless budget…. So yeah. Moving on.
Characters 7 out of 10
Now that they got all of that character development out of the way in the last movie they are able to focus entirely on scenes that shows aspects that we expects from our resident humor character, the badass, the pretty boy etc. however the area where writing can seem to come off lazy is with our two central protagonists, Bilbo and Thorin. Bilbo’s problem is the influence the ring is giving him, his protectiveness and discretion with the ring is meant to give a node to the Lord of the Ring movies, which is problematic if you read the book where the ring wasn’t given that level of importance or if you haven’t seen the Lord of the Rings movies to which you are not given a reason to the evil power that lurks within the one ring. As for Thorin, there is a point in the film where he goes all Anakin Skywalker on Bilbo, where they are best of friends one moment and the next “He just a burglar, I am the King, KILL THE YOUNGLINGS!!!
Villain 9 out of 10
What fantasy movie is complete without a villain monologue and when that monologue comes from a dragon whose voice gives power and a tone that is almost mesmerizing to the ear truly brings the villain to life. And for some of us who are a little older know that we haven’t had that kind of performance from a dragon since Sean Connery as Draco you can’t help but smile. There is something to be said when you have a villain which you don’t see for a significant portion of a film but is consistently talked about. It’s actually usually a let down because now the villain has a very limited time to show the audience why he is a threat. And I can say the build up to Smaug was well done and not at all disappointing. Even if the “final” battle left much to be desired, a flaw due to Peter Jackson stretching this short tall far beyond it’s limitations.
Final Score 8.5 out of 10
All in this entire movie gets a score 8.5 out of 10. What does that actually translates to. This movie has earned a theatre ticket in the recent future. So if you have the cash, and you enjoy the Tolkien World, I suggest you go to the theatre as soon as you can and enjoy Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.