‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’: Quick Review

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– A quick “spoiler-free” look …

I’ve just been to a screening of the second film in ‘The Hobbit’ Trilogy …

Yes? And?

Well, what can I say – I’m simply awe-struck once again by the beauty and majesty of this middle film, perfectly making its way towards a climactic conclusion in ‘There and Back Again’.

Sure, I may have a couple of concerns with it here and there like: certain added PJ features and perhaps a few changes here and there; but overall, I believe this is a much stronger, much darker rendition of the story than we have seen in ‘An Unexpected Journey’.

Thorin's Company

Benedict Cumberbatch rises amongst the greatest performances next to Martin Freeman, with an impeccable and memorable Smaug (as well as the Necromancer). The dragon himself is brilliant and awe-inspiring – both in appearance as well as in its physicality and character (not to mention the voice).

Meanwhile, the whole film takes the viewer on a vast journey across the northern part of Middle-earth and along the way, introduces us to a range of new characters and creatures – leading through Mirkwood, Thranduil’s Realm, Lake-town and the Lonely Mountain.

I have to admit that the most anticipated sequences for me where those in Esgaroth (Lake-Town) Bard 3and I was certainly not disappointed. The atmosphere of the place was astonishing, something unlike anything we’ve yet seen in Middle-earth. Furthermore, Stephen Fry’s Master and Luke Evan’s Bard continue to complete this extremely realistic and believable town.

The climax of the film eventually leads to a confrontation between Smaug and Bilbo (recalling the all too familiar and equally impressive Riddles in the Dark sequence with Gollum in ‘An Unexpected Journey’). The interaction between the two characters is phenomenal and so is the overall viewing experience.

BilboPerhaps my main disappointment is that my experience in Middle-earth has been a short one! Indeed, many scenes I had been anticipating in this film (whilst played out beautifully), felt nonetheless “brief”. For the film to work, you can’t spend an hour or so on your favourite moments – you have to drive the story forward!

But this is compensated by a well-balanced, finely edited film that rises to the climactic events that will make the third installment the mammoth being that it should be …

I’ll be writing a much more in-depth review in a future post – once I’ve seen the film a couple of more times 😉

For now, I hope I’m just whetting your appetite!

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8 thoughts on “‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’: Quick Review

  1. Tomorrow i will watch the movie, can’t find any tickets for today in Istanbul.. Such a shame.. Thank you for your quick review mate, excellent as usual. 🙂

  2. I caught myself with my jaw dropped quite a few times during the film. Some of the camerawork was absolutely amazing. And the 48fps really pushed the film to new heights. I must say that Gandalfs encounter at Dol Guldur made me move to the edge of my seat, the visuals were OUT OF THIS WORLD. I have yet to see anything like that outside a video game. I must say however that i am particularly biased to that scene since Sauron is one of my favourite character (even though he never in physical form really). I cant wait for your full review, and I cant wait to go watch it again soon.

  3. I am so excited to see this movie (10 hours now), I’m glad you liked it (and wrote a spoiler free review!). My biggest fear was how Smaug would actually look, I was hoping not to CGI, so I have more hope now. Plus I am super excited for Mirkwood! Basically I just can’t wait!

  4. While it is a bit better than the first, that still doesn’t mean all that much to begin with. Then again, I’m glad to say I have something to look forward to with this already overlong trilogy. Good review James.

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