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

The Hobbit - post

Title: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)

Director: Peter Jackson (The Lovely Bones)

Cast: Martin Freeman, Sir Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Evangeline Lilly, Orlando Bloom, James Nesbitt, Stephen Fry, voice of Benedict Cumberbatch

Plot: Bilbo Baggins (Freeman) and the 13 dwarves lead by Thorin (Armitage) continue on the perilous journey to the Lonely Mountain to recover the Arkenstone from the lair where slumbering dragon Smaug (voiced by Cumberbatch)  lays waiting.

“Dragonfire and ruin, that is what you’ll bring upon us! He cannot not see beyond his own desire!”

Review by Eddie on 14/1/2014

It might not be easy to admit but we as film-goers have been well and truly spoiled over the last decade with films full of spectacle and wonder, worlds come alive with life due to the wonderments of modern technology. One only needs to look at any of Avatar, Harry Potter series, The Matrix series and the daddy of them all The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Peter Jackson’s epic saga will always remain one of the best loved and amazing of journeys so when the first Hobbit was met with an overall meh reception it was somewhat blamed on perhaps to many comparing it to its great predecessors and now with Smaug released onto audiences it will allow us now to get a better idea of just how this trilogy is tracking and to answer that in my opinion it must be said pretty mediocre.

I am no way denying that I to am amongst the spoilt generation of film goers and I can not but help myself in comparing these films to the LOTR and when doing so the Hobbit films pale in comparison. It’s no easy task putting your finger on exactly what makes this film lesser to the original trilogy but upon careful consideration it has to be put down to padding, plain and simple. Making a short book into a 3 part nigh on 9 hours worth of film was always an interesting choice and a choice that seriously could only have been to make more money as what has been designed to the pad the story out is easily the films weakest points.

Love stories, return of past characters and brazzingly unneeded opening scene director cameos fill Smaug and puts a dent in the story which is and basically should be a bunch of dwarves walking around dangerous country side to sneak into a mountain and steal from a slumbering dragon. Great scenes from the novel are adapted well by Jackson but are always separated by scenes that bring the mood back down and a consistent checking of the time will be in order by the viewer as the 160 minute run time is interrupted by these segments. Sounding so petty in the written word it may seem like mere 1st world problems but there are elements to this film that can not be ignored, the film featuring some stand out action scenes, Jacksons typical eye for detail (Middle Earth still feels amazingly alive) and a great introduction of the ominous dragon Smaug. For these moments alone Desolation needs to be seen on a big screen and remains an at times must see entertainment spectacle that will please many a Tolkenite the world over.

Pondering how to best sum up Desolation over a couple of weeks has been no easy feat and by now all know what to expect from Jackson’s film so here goes nothing.

Desolation is a step up from the first snooze worthy adventure and has moments that could stand equal to the original trilodgy (barrel river sequence in particular). Desolation however again feels bloated in parts and still doesn’t have  a Frodo or an Aragon to lead it forward, with the dwarves again remaining frustratingly hard to appreciate. Desolation needs to be seen on the big screen and hopefully now after 2 somewhat lacking start up entries the finale will be what we have all been waiting for – a film with heart, spectacle, characters we care for and one seriously angry dragon.

3 and a half Steven Colbert cameos out of 5

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

  1. The lord of the rings is the pinnacle of fantasy movies. There is nothing that comes close to rivaling lotr. The hobbit while great in its own right, cant really be compared.

    Its set in the same world but is a much simpler story and nowhere near as in depth. Everyone can question the decision to make 3 movies out of 1 book, but I love it. The only annoying thing is waiting a year each time!

    Once these are done we may never to middle earth, so im happy to have it a little padded because each film is incredibly immaginative and throughly enjoyable!

    Who doesn’t like bringing out the inner child to partake on a fantasy adventure? And tell me this eddie – what recebt fantasy movie does it better than the hobbit 2?

    The 2 second cameo of peter jackson really felt off putting to you? The guy has spent years on these films – why not let him have 2 seconds of fun?

    Your score is close to the 4 I would give it, but I disagree with the movie not being exceptional.

    If you were the editor what scenes would you remove? Maybe the whole book could fit in a 2 hour session but I enjoy fleshing the world out a bit for what will be some folks first time in middle earth.

    To any fantasy fan who hasn’t seen this.. just do it – you’ll love it

    • I think after almost 6 hours over the 2 films to feel nothing towards the dwarves in regards to emotional attachment shows the movie is doing something a little wrong?

      I am not question the entertainment to be found in the film, as mentioned the barrel river sequence is easily one of last years best stand alone scenes but still there is so much that is forgettable.

      After a mere few scenes in the original movies you felt like you knew the players and felt for them in a way you wanted them to succeed, you felt loss when one was lost and again in this you don’t feel like there achieving anything, Bilbo whilst well acted by Freeman is not a really loveable lead, heck even Gandalf seems a little off not the charming rouge wizard he once was.

      The Hobbit is one of the best fantasies in a long time but when your competition is Mortal Instrumemtents, Percy Jackson and Beautiful Creatures I am not sure how much of an achievement that is.

      Kudos though to Jackson for creating a living breathing world, a world that as I said deserves to be watched on the big screen.

  2. Good review Eddie. It’s fun and only slightly better than the first. However, Jackson really needs to step his game up for this next installment.

    • Agree whole heartedly man, Jackson almost seems caught up a little in his own self worth? I do trust though that the finale will be a must see spectacle even if the characters remain lost in a world more concerned with beauty than making us attached to the group.

  3. I think you hit upon a great point that there’s isn’t a Frodo or Aragon to lead the story. Bilbo has his strong moments but he’s not quite the central beating heart of the movies that I think he needs to be. Overall though, I like a lot of things about this movie and can’t wait to see the ending. Good review!

  4. ” – a film with heart, spectacle, characters we care for . . .”

    Yes. Hopefully. But I see no reason to expect it. Jackson hasn’t delivered yet; why would he finally start now?

  5. LOL!!!! I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I have the distinct feeling what when I do I will just copy your review to my site – full credit to you of course – as you are echoing what I thought about the first Hobbit movie.

    BTW, it is a great movie to go to sleep to.

  6. On a side note, if people read the book, they will realise that the dwarves get little to no character development beyond Thorin; perhaps due to the book being intended for children.

    I feel Jackson has actually made the most of what he had with the book, Thorin is very good in the film and he adds another layer to Kili that just was not there in the book, and the film is better for it.

  7. Good review, Ed. I wanted this film to work for me, I really did, since I loved An Unexpected Journey. The first part was bloated yes, but it was a pretty good start with commendable emphasis given to Bilbo, plus Gollum sold me completely.

    Here, The hobbit himself takes the backseat which was the first turn-off, over-reliance on CGI was another (even the fucking horse that Legolas rides was CGI as if those animals have gone extinct) & Smaug was spectacular but even he was overly used. And worst of them all; that love triangle, I mean Cmon!

  8. Pingback: Film Review – The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014) | Jordan and Eddie (The Movie Guys)·

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