Film Review – The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013): Jordan’s Take


The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Directed by Peter Jackson

Starring Martin Freeman, Sir Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Evangeline Lilly, Orlando Bloom

Review by Jordan

The feverish anticipation that surrounds the release of a new Lord of the Rings film is unlike any other that has ever accompanied a cinematic outing. The promise of re-entering Middle Earth has, since we first witnessed the brilliance of Jackson’s translations with The Fellowship of the Ring in 2001, induced excitement comparable with few other movies of any era, and not once has the great New Zealander let us down… The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012, see my review here) reveled in its silliness and perhaps stands as the weakest entry so far, but it was also, ultimately a fantastic, well natured sprawling adventure, which The Desolation of Smaug bests in every way.

Following Bilbo (an ever-improving Martin Freeman), Thorin (Richard Armitage), Galdalf (McKellen) and the rest of our likable crew as they continue their treacherous journey to Erebor where the formidable, lethal Smaug (wonderfully voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch) awaits, TDOS may not stand as a complete film in its own right as does The Two Towers, but the maturity, brilliant choreography, music and cinematography instilled, as well as the inclusion of fan favourite Legolas (Orlando Bloom) and newcomers Tauriel (Evangaline Lilly), an enchanting elf who falls for Dwarf Kili (Aidan Turner), and the mysterious and obviously awesome Bard (Luke Evans) elevate it to the upper echelon of Summer entertainment. From a quiet moment of wonder in which Bilbo lifts his head above a treacherous, giant arachnid-filled forest to appreciate the surrounding dense landscape, to our Dwarf heroes escaping Elven imprisonment and rampaging Orcs by careening down a cascading river in wooden barrels and the confrontation with the titular beast, this is a fantasy that forces the eyes to widen and mouth to smile in all the right ways.

Sure, there is a lot of filler here, as there was with An Unexpected Journey, but unlike other series that seem to continue solely in order to rake in the money at the expense of quality, The Hobbit movies are never less than grand and never cease to conjure increasing interest… needless to say, There and Back Again (2014) has a lot of ground to cover, numerous enemies to dispatch and a number of loose ends to tie up… and I can’t wait.

Don’t approach The Hobbit movies hoping for levels of seriousness and moments of peril comparable to Boromir’s death in The Fellowship of the Ring and the Battle of Helms Deep in The Two Towers, or the sheer perfection that won The Return of the King its 11 Oscars, just expect 3 hours of escapist fun and there should be no possibility of disappointment. On a personal note, it’s not every blockbuster that I buy the personalized candy stand meal-deal for, but my new Hobbit coke cup is sitting on my bench with pride.

4 fish barrels out of 5

23 responses to “Film Review – The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013): Jordan’s Take

  1. It is a great movie! Like you said, not as serious as LOTR but equally riveting! I still can’t get over the way it ended…that’s the only thing on my mind.. 🙂

  2. The ratings of this film are always high. I still have not watched the first, so I have a lot of catching up to do. Laughed at you being glad about your hobbit coke cup!

    Kind of disappointed to read that it has a lot of filler, but longer films always tend too.

  3. Good review Jordan. I enjoyed this movie a bit more than the first, however, I’ll admit that it still felt a little longer than it should have been.

  4. I thought Desolation was pretty good but it seemed like at least 75% of the content was filler not even based on things in the book. To me that the real difference before it and LOTR, since the latter supposedly has several arcs, subplots and entire character completely omitted (though admittedly I haven’t read LOTR).

    • Having not read any of Tolkien’s works I really have to view them as films and not translations, one day I may amend this but I can’t see it happening before There and Back Again. I certainly do plan on catching all the LOTR and re-watching both Hobbits beforehand though!

  5. Excellent film followed up with a great review.
    Middle earth and its inhabitants are truly the pinnacle of fantasy.

    Its easy to pick flaws and plotholes but I prefer just to enjoy it for what it is and be captured in the escapism to the imaginary worlds of tolkien and jackson.

    Brilliant film – can’t wait for the last and hope someone gives us a new story to watch in tolkiens world in future!

    • It’s a series where one can well and truly leave their brain at the door and just enjoy, plus, being set in Middle Earth there is not a trace of product placement to be seen.

  6. I’m totally with you, this is leaps and bounds better than Unexpected Journey. Some friends yesterday said they thought it was more boring than the first and I gave them the weirdest look of confusion, Lol. I didn’t mind the length at all, I was entertained the whole time. Good review!

  7. These movies are thoroughly wonderful/magical/jaw-dropping. If There and Back Again is solid, Jackson’s Middle Earth franchise will be the most consistently excellent film series in history.

      • I think as a whole 6 film franchise it could very well be accurate… I highly doubt There and Back Again will be a disappointment, in fact we have every reason to expect it to be a masterpiece based on Jacksons previous form.

      • This might seem like a heresy, but up to this point I actually like the Hobbit movies better than LOTR. Maybe this has something to do with the fact that I read The Hobbit in one single night when I was nine years old, and have been waiting all my life to see Smaug brought to life. And then they cast Benedict Cumberbatch! Total perfection. If I were being more objective, I would say that the Hobbit movies are better-paced; that they’re more imaginative and whimsical; that Bilbo is a much more interesting hero than his nephew would turn out to be; and that Jackson has a bigger budget at his disposal, and is wielding it in expert ways.

      • Appreciate the thoughts mate, would be intrigued to see if more felt the same I would think it would be suffice to say that not many would hold it higher than the first 2 LOTR films. Cumberbatch as Smaug was a great coo though no doubt.

  8. Pingback: 2014 Oscars – J and E’s Overview & Final Predictions | Jordan and Eddie (The Movie Guys)·

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