– A quick “spoiler-free” look …
I’ve just been to a screening of the second film in ‘The Hobbit’ Trilogy …
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’.
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) and 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.
Perhaps 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!