THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG – THE REVIEW

When I saw the first part of this trilogy about a year ago I was not a fan, I enjoyed it but found it formulaic. Then quite a few months passed and I got a copy on Blu Ray and watched it again, this time I thoroughly enjoyed it and have since watched it about three more times. When I attended this screening it was with trepidation, would I be as disappointed as my first screening of part 1? And while I found the film does have some negatives that work against it my first words after the film was “WOW, just WOW, it shits on the first one”.

 

THE HOBBIT DESOLATION OF SMAUG, THE HOBBIT DESOLATION OF SMAUG REVIEW, Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, ORLANDO BLOOM, Evangeline Lilly, Benedict Cumberbatch, Luke Evans, Stephen Fry, AIDAN TURNER, James Nesbitt
THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG – THE REVIEW

 

I realised why I did not like the first one as much when I first saw it, I was so in love with the LOTR trilogy that it was like seeing cousins of your best friends on film, they are ok as they are blood but they are not your best friends. The story was different, the characters were all different (excluding a few notables) but they can never replace what I loved so much with the Rings. After my initial culture shock and then allowing it to sink in to then watch it again I could view it without comparison and on its own, and this is when I realised how much I enjoyed the new Hobbit story.

The Desolation of Smaug opens with a brief, but gigglesome, cameo that was a great way to open the film, and from that moment forward the film is non bloody stop. It is rollicking adventure after rollicking adventure and this time Jackson never holds back, if he wants to get damned silly and preposterous with the situations and the dwarves he does it well. The fight scenes are epic, the characters are epic and the film is just epic.

 

THE HOBBIT DESOLATION OF SMAUG, THE HOBBIT DESOLATION OF SMAUG REVIEW, Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, ORLANDO BLOOM, Evangeline Lilly, Benedict Cumberbatch, Luke Evans, Stephen Fry, AIDAN TURNER, James Nesbitt
THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG – THE REVIEW

 

This is where I noticed the one downside to this film, and basically the LOTR trilogies as well. For some people it can appear quite mundane and formulaic in that, to get item A you have to walk a long way, usually through a place of darkness and battle some evilness to do it, then repeat. There is always an alternate darker route, they generally have to take and if in dire trouble there is always some form of refuge available. But once you accept that it is the little things that count……..like Hobbits 🙂 Then you can strap yourself in and have a decent laugh and cry and marvel at the outstanding sets and CGI that are used to masterful effect.

 

THE HOBBIT DESOLATION OF SMAUG, THE HOBBIT DESOLATION OF SMAUG REVIEW, Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, ORLANDO BLOOM, Evangeline Lilly, Benedict Cumberbatch, Luke Evans, Stephen Fry, AIDAN TURNER, James Nesbitt
THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG – THE REVIEW

 

Other annoyances of the film. Firstly, the wigs on some of the dwarves just look bad, but I got over it. Then some of the cheese factor due to pending heroics could occasionally make you vomit. When Bard knows he can save everyone with the one remaining iron arrow and it is hidden in his house as he reaches for it – an entire bloody orchestra plays a screaming realisation tune, I mean seriously – Jesus should have shined a light from heaven on him and a halo appear – I actually laughed out loud at this scene. Too cheesy, there are a few others but this one took the cake.

Another notable grievance I had was what looked like the use of GoPro cameras in the river scene – they are just a much lower quality than the big cameras for the film and this distracted me during these scenes. They did however get you right in there but the scene had so much CGI the use of the GoPros could have been excluded with the inclusion of more CGI.

 

THE HOBBIT DESOLATION OF SMAUG, THE HOBBIT DESOLATION OF SMAUG REVIEW, Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, ORLANDO BLOOM, Evangeline Lilly, Benedict Cumberbatch, Luke Evans, Stephen Fry, AIDAN TURNER, James Nesbitt
THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG – THE REVIEW

 

I found the film was enjoyable little romps but really was wondering at about the hour and a quarter bit if we actually would get to see Smaug in this film, my viewing partner Seb then leaned in and said we were only about half way through, and I was gobsmacked – there was already so much that had happened and we were going to get twice as much as what we had already seen, bring it – this is where the pace got even better.

Everything to do with Smaug is just next level amazement – it is mind blowing – I was always dubious how they would get the effect of a dragon talking done well, especially after the very poor Eragon, but Benedict Cumberbatch is just voice-over brilliance. The mind is assaulted on every level viewing the action in the mountain. Then there is the elves and everything to do with them is superb high octane death machines in action – the river scene has moments of hilariousness but also precision fighters with a seemingly endless supply of reappearing arrows. To have Legolas (Orlando Bloom) back was a highlight for me as I loved his character so much in LOTR but then to get the bonus of Tauriel (Evangeline Lily) was even better. The story of her and the pending romance with Dwarf Kili (Aidan Turner), who I described as the Zac Efron Dwarf in my first Hobbit film review, is heartwarming and gives a new element to the story I do not remember from the book. I love it.

 

THE HOBBIT DESOLATION OF SMAUG, THE HOBBIT DESOLATION OF SMAUG REVIEW, Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, ORLANDO BLOOM, Evangeline Lilly, Benedict Cumberbatch, Luke Evans, Stephen Fry, AIDAN TURNER, James Nesbitt
THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG – THE REVIEW

 

It would also appear that poor old Gandalf has a penchant for getting himself in trouble, again, in what appears a repeat of scenes from the LOTR trilogy, just before the group must enter the deep dark forest of evil, Gandalf decides he must leave them to face something else, of course it is the most epic Dumbledore fighting Voldermort kind of scene in which Dumbledore oops, I mean Gandalf, must overcome a huge evil to succeed or end up swinging in a cage, where are those damned eagles when you need them!

I may have listed more of my negatives than my positives, but I LOVED this film, it will make my top 20 films for the year and is this year’s most epic film. I cannot wait to see it again, and this time for a high frame rate 40fps screening. The film is out on Christmas day, is rated M and runs for 161mins. If you loved LOTR and the first Hobbit film then this one reaches all new levels of journeying. Grab your mead and get into see this one on the biggest screen you can find with the most awesome sound system – prepare to enjoy!

 

JK’S POP SCORE:

4 and a Half Pops

KERNEL BEN’S POP SCORE:

3 and a Half Pops

KERNEL NICK’S POP SCORE:

4 and a Half Pops

KERNEL JOHN’S POP SCORE: 

5 Pops

KERNEL ADAM’S POP SCORE:

4 Pops