The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Review

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug movie posterSynopsis
Bilbo (Martin Freeman), Gandalf (Ian McKellen),  Thorin (Richard Armitage), and the rest of the dwarfs, continue their journey to Erebor, the dwarf homeland. Bilbo and the dwarfs come face to face with its protector, the dreaded dragon Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch (voice)).  Meanwhile, Gandalf looks for the source of a mysterious, rising evil.

Review
In The Lord of the Rings series, The Two Towers is where the series really began to take off so I was interested to see if The Desolation of Smaug had the same affect for the Hobbit films.  I’d say it did a pretty good job.  Again, with all the set up out of the way in the first film, this one is able to keep up the pace. Outside of the elves, not many new characters are introduced.  One of the hurdles The Two Towers faced was introducing so many new characters throughout the movie. Since The Desolation of Smaug had very few characters they had to bring into the mix, it was able to keep the focus on Bilbo, Thorin and the rest of the dwarfs, as well as keep it moving.

Since the dwarfs were introduced last movie, this movie was spent building their relationship.  Their camaraderie was really fun to watch. The way they joke together, fight together, it was easy to tell that they are a family.  Since there are a lot of them, they don’t all get a ton of development, but they get enough that you can feel out the rest.

One thing this franchise hasn’t lacked is action.  And Desolation of Smaug is no exception.  This movie offered some of the most unique of the series so far.  One of my favorite scenes was the river fight sequence.  The dwarfs escape their capture buy going down a river in barrels.  As they go down the river, they are chased by both orcs and elves.  The way that the three parties were fighting is unlike anything I can think of in another film.  I had a smile on my face the entire scene.

Smaug was hands down the best part of this film.  Everything from the animation of his sheer size to Benedict Cumberbatch voicing him was just spectacular.  I’m not overly familiar with Cumberbatch’s work, so I wasn’t sure what to expect out of him as Smaug.  He nailed it.  I want to see him voice villains more often.  The character himself was pretty interesting, too. He knew his strength so he wasn’t afraid to toy with Bilbo.  He took up a good portion of the film so it was a good thing he was done so well.

I thought The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug was GOOD :-).  Like any good sequel, it ups the stakes and keeps moving.  The action is some of the most unique of the series and Smaug offers a significant threat to the characters.

Also check out my reviews for the rest of The Hobbit trilogy: An Unexpected Journey and The Battle of the Five Armies.

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Peter Jackson – Director / Screenplay
Fran Walsh – Screenplay
Philippa Boyens – Screenplay
Guillermo del Toro – Screenplay
Howard Shore – Composer

Martin Freeman – Bilbo
Ian McKellen – Gandalf
Richard Armitage – Thorin
Ken Stott – Balin
Graham McTavish – Dwalin
William Kircher – Bifur
James Nesbitt – Bofur
Stephen Hunter – Bombur
Dean O’Gorman – Fili
Aidan Turner – Kili
John Callen – Oin
Peter Hambleton – Gloin
Jed Brophy – Nori
Mark Madlow – Dori
Adam Brown – Ori
Orlando Bloom – Legolas
Evangeline Lilly – Tauriel
Lee Pace Thranduil
Cate Blanchett – Galandriel
Benedict Cumberbatch – Smaug (voice) / Necromancer (voice)
Mikael Persbrandt – Beorn
Sylvester McCoy – Radagast
Luke Evans – Bard
Stephen Fry – Master of Laketown
Ryan Gage – Alfrid
Manu Bennett – Azog
Lawrence Makoare – Bolg

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10 thoughts on “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Review

  1. the entire scene with Smaug and Bilbo had me on the edge of my seat. Have you seen the video that shows Cumberbatch doing the motion capture work for that scene? Spine-chilling! I can’t imagine anyone else doing Smaug now. My one complaint is that Beorn’s role is significantly cut down from what it is in the book.

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    • Me too! It was so intense and thrilling. I have not. I’ll have to go check it out! I’ve never read the book so I can’t comment on Boern’s role in either. I’ll just take your word for it. 😛

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    • Fair enough. At that point, I accepted that the franchise was filled with too much CGI so I just rolled with it. The practical effects were much more effective in the LoTR films than the computer effects of the Hobbit films.

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  2. This is probably my favorite of the Hobbit trilogy. Really great action and some of the best scenes from the book. Hearing Cumberbatch converse with Freeman was also cool since they star together on Sherlock.

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    • I would say it is probably my favorite of the three Hobbit films as well. Smaug was fascinating and intimidating. I was on edge during the scene between him and Bilbo. I hadn’t thought of that before with Cumberbatch and Freeman working together again. That just made that scene even better.

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