The Desolation of Smaug – Movie Review
The Desolation of Smaug is the second movie in Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy. Yeah, I know “The Hobbit” wasn’t a trilogy when it was written. It was a longer novel-type thing that meandered about an imaginary countryside and assaulted the reader with Hobbit travelling poetry. The book is actually better than I just described it, but I was scarred by the poetry. Anyway, Mr. Jackson has seen fit, or seen enough profit, to warrant stretching this one book into something close to 9 hours of cinema. This movie is the middle section, the “Return of the Jedi”, the morose middle child of the series. In the first movie, our hero, Bilbo Baggins, is talked into going on an adventure as a burglar to assist a group of dwarves to regain their ancestral home. Adventures ensue: escape from Ogres, escape from Goblin King, and escape from Gollum. Plot is layed: The vengeful orc, the Necromancer, Big Dragon in the mountain. Character is established: Bilbo has inner strength, Thorin is a bit of a dick, Radagast is a shroomer. So in this movie our party continues their journey towards and reaching the Lonely Mountain on the one day when they can find the keyhole to the secret passage. Along the way they meet up with the Slyvan/Wild Elf King (it doesn’t go well for the short dudes), get chased by Orcs, get smuggled into Laketown, meddle in local politics, get inside the mountain, and, finally, antagonize the dragon with dire consequences.
This is a heck of an adventure. There nothing left out, in fact most of this movie was not in the book. There are fights with orcs, fights with spiders, and a cat and mouse game in a treasure strewn dwarven citadel with a dragon. You get your money’s worth in this film. The scenery is lush, the settings are magnificent. The Elven king’s stronghold is only bested by the depth and scope of the dwarven home under the mountain. There is enough geeky eye-candy here to give you ocular cavities big enough to park a cave troll in.
Two elves cut through about one-hundred and fifty orcs with minimal effort. I’m not so sure why anybody is scared of orcs being around. Maybe they move in to the neighborhood, never cut their grass and leave junk cars in their yard. The point is, they are not a threat to anybody or anything, except maybe property values.
The elf girl-dwarf boy romance – I don’t buy it. I can see how she would be interested in him and his stories of the outside world since she has rarely ventured out and has a wider view than the elves around her. I don’t think they played up this part of her enough to make her seem like someone who would fall for the dwarf. As for the dwarf, well, they each have so little character that it’s hard to tell what they would or wouldn’t do.
This is a nearly 3 hour movie. A lot happens. In most movies, the narrative arc clues you into when the story takes turns, when it starts the middle section where things are difficult, when it starts the final battle, and when it starts the ending. There is so much going on in this film that I lost track of the narrative arc. I didn’t have any feeling, other than that from my bladder, as to when the movie should end.
I don’t get dragons. Something that huge would need a considerable amount of nourishment. Yet he simply sleeps under a pile of gold rather than heading out periodically to roast an Oliphant with his fire breath or raze a village and snack on the inhabitants like at atapas bar, or demand human tribute from the idiots who built Laketown right next to his home when they knew he was there. And the gold…why? He cannot spend it, he can’t buy a new Ipad with it, he didn’t do any dragon sized redecorating to his home which was built on a dwarf scale. He just wants to sleep in it? Hell, at least Scrooge McDuck invested his money as well as swam in it.
How did Bilbo keep a hold of his sword all through the barrel ride and getting captured in Laketown? And, I think that the ring keep hopping from pocket to pocket.
I saw this movie in 3D. The 3D is done quite well, but didn’t add much to the movie and I thought is made the movie feel a big small, like I was watching it through a window. I cannot recommend it.
Yeah, I enjoyed this movie. Being a geek who first got hooked on the Tolkien thing in his teen years I really cannot help but enjoy this movie. I even liked the cartoon versions from way back when. It’s not art, it’s not great cinema. But it is a lot of fun. If you go, see it on a big screen, and avoid the big fountain drink. It’s a long movie so bladder management will be key.