“If this is to end in fire, then we will all burn together!” -Thorin Oakenshield.
When i heard that Peter Jackson was going to split The Hobbit into 3 films, i was a bit enraged. I understood when they had to split Lord of The Rings into a trilogy, because the source material was developed from three separate volumes. While The Hobbit was from a 310-page book. Even after i watched the first film, I was still unsure if the length of the film would be necessary (should be around 7+ hours long). But after watching the second film, i think i’m entirely sold. (I apologize in advance for the picture spam)
Even though the movie picks up directly after the ending of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. The opening of the movie is actually a flashback that give an extra backstory to one of the character of the film (Jackson should consider creating this for all the character as an extra content for the upcoming box set, tbqh). So Bilbo and the dwarves are continuing their journey to Erebor with the pack of Orcs still hot on their tail. The group must split with Gandalf The Grey, as he must depart to attend more pressing matter in Dol Guldur posthaste. They must escape the evils of Mirkwood and going across the Lake Town, with the help of Bard the Bowman from Lake Town (Luke Evans), to reach their homeland before the last light of the Durin’s day. The time to face Smaug The Dragon has finally come.
Like its predecessor trilogy of the magnificent Tolkien Middle-Earth legendarium, The Lord of The Rings, it seems that Peter Jackson split The Hobbit in a similar manner. The first part of the trilogy would serve as a back story, the middle is the most fun and action-packed, while the third is the conclusive finale. I just hope it did not end with the many, many fake-outs denouements as The Return of The King had. Aside from the brilliant experiment of actions and hilarious moments, it also reveal more depth into some of the characters as well as showcase the beginning of transformation of Bilbo. Martin Freeman not only brilliant in his comedic timing and pauses, but also in the subtle darkness that crept within as Bilbo begin his obsession towards the One Ring.
I am not mad at the creative changes Peter Jackson did to the canon either, although i am no Tolkien purist in any way. I think having Orlando Bloom back in his role as Legolas is bridging the world of The Hobbit and Lord of The Rings nicely as well as adding a moment of nostalgia for the fan of the previous trilogy. He appear (re-appear?) with a slightly different characteristic, being young and more hasty than his older self that we knew in Lord of The Rings trilogy. Evangeline Lilly‘s Tauriel is an original character addition that give a side of unexpected romance and softness to what was an epic adventure fantasy without stealing the spotlight. I have to mention my favorite Elf of this series, the elvenking of Mirkwood, Thranduil (Lee Pace), looking exceptionally gorgeous with his magnificent eyebrows and woven-twig crown, as one of the key antagonist of the trilogy. Benedict Cumberbatch lend his voice for both Smaug The Dragon and The Necromancer, each syllables he uttered was dripping with malevolence. Cumberbatch did the motion capture for Smaug as well.
I think, it must be understood that The Hobbit did not have the same heroic battle as Lord of The Rings. It supposed to served a journey of Bilbo, an epic one indeed, but it has more whimsical elements to it. That being said, i love the way this sequel in particular manage to capture different relationships between niche of middle-earth dwellers and their respective cultures. Peter Jackson and his team’s deliver the same mastery in building the world of Middle Earth: top notch visual effects from WETA digitals, gorgeous set designs and production design (still marveling over the delicate entwined designs in Thranduil’s hall), the hair and make up and wardrobe, to the score, and resplendent cinematography.
The Desolation of Smaug is not flawless by any chance, but i’m ready to abandoned any of my objectivity and giving it a four-star rating. Whatever flaw it had was truly overshadowed by the funny sequences and high-paced story. It was truly an Epic experience on its own, and worth every penny of IMAX ticket i bought. I was so satisfied as Ed Sheeran’s beautiful ‘I See Fire’ filled the theater and the credits begin to roll on screen. Let’s sit back and wait for what There and Back Again will have in store.
Now, i have a sudden urge to revisit my old Scrooge McDuck comics… I blame Smaug The Slumberer (sorry, made that one up).
THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG (2013)
GENRE Adventure, Fantasy
DIRECTOR Peter Jackson | PRODUCER Carolynne Cunningham, Zane Weiner, Fran Walsh, Peter Jackson | WRITER Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, Guillermo del Toro | MUSIC Howard Shore | CINEMATOGRAPHER Andrew Lesnie | EDITOR Jabez Olssen | STUDIO New Line Cinema, Metro Goldwyn Mayer, Wing Nut Films | DISTRIBUTOR Warner Bros. Pictures | COUNTRY United States, United Kingdom, New Zealand | RUNNING TIME 161 minutes | BUDGET $225 Million | RATING PG-13 for extended sequences of intense fantasy action violence, and frightening images | RELEASE December 13, 2013
STARRING Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Benedict Cumberbatch, Lee Pace, Evangeline Lilly, Orlando Bloom, Luke Evans, James Nessbitt, Cate Blanchett, Stephen Fry, Aidan Turner, Ken Stott, Graham McTavish, Dean Gorman, Mark Hadlow, Jed Brophy, Adam Brown, John Callen, Peter Hambleton, William Kircher, James Nesbitt, Stephen Hunter, Mikael Pearsbrandt, Sylvester McCoy, John Bell, Manu Bennet
DID YOU KNOW? You can experience Middle Earth on your Chrome. Oh, and do watch out for Peter Jackson cameo during the opening scene in Bree (look out for carrots)!