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Ringer Reviews - The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

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Ringer Review - NAME


19, Exeter
United Kingdom

Date Posted: 2013-12-29
Tolkien Fan Level: 8
Film Format Seen? 3D 24 fps
Will view again in a different format? Yes

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug will delight fans of the franchise with its fast-paced plot, fantastic performances, and excellent art direction and effects. The refreshingly familiar atmosphere created by Howard Shore's music and New Zealand's stunning scenery immediately immerses viewers in Middle Earth and the adventures at hand - a testament to Jackson’s and his team’s artistic coherence. The film begins with a flashback to an introductory scene only heard about in the books. It then largely picks up where An Unexpected Journey ends, following the dwarves on their continued escape from the band of orcs led by Azog the Defiler. The ensuing journey takes the party across amazing landscapes, to exciting new places, and into contact with a host of colourful characters: elves, men, shape-shifters, and dragons. Although Jackson keeps the core storyline intact, book fans may find a few of the plot changes, some quite egregious, a source of consternation. The action culminates in terrible suspense; we will have to wait another year to see how that cliffhanger turns out!

Martin Freeman’s impeccably-timed and precise mannerisms are perfect for Bilbo, and he convincingly portrays the hobbit’s increasing boldness and ingenuity alongside his growing attachment to his new-found ring. Richard Armitage is once again a compelling, dynamic Thorin; no one aspect of his character - his stubbornness, charisma, power lust, courage, and developing rapport with Bilbo - overpowers another, highlighting both his heroic side and his deep flaws. The rest of the dwarf company are all fully-developed characters. Sir Ian McKellen’s Gandalf is classic; it is almost like the Grey Wizard himself is playing the role, so consistent is the character! Orlando Bloom reprises Legolas and is every bit the beloved wood elf of before. He is joined by Lee Pace as his father, Thranduil, and Evangeline Lilly as Tauriel, a female elf warrior of Peter Jackson’s creation. Pace creates a nuanced portrayal of a king desperate to defend his people against the growing darkness, while Lilly impresses as a bold, powerful, and utterly competent heroine. Her addition to the story is quite welcomed. Luke Evans’s Bard and Stephen Fry’s Master of Laketown vary slightly from their book counterparts, but the two actors flesh out the characters nicely. And no actor review would be complete without mention of Benedict Cumberbatch, who voices both the dragon Smaug and the Necromancer of Dol Goldur. Despite two different voice modifications, both are noticeably Cumberbatch - a refreshing touch of recognition amidst the CGI. And what a deep, commanding voice it is!

The cinematography keeps the film’s mis-en-scene almost indistinguishable from earlier installments. A nice artistic touch is varying the shots by location depending on the quality of each: the filming in Mirkwood is dizzying while the Woodland Realm is dreamlike and Erebor is vast and sweeping. The visual effects are mostly successful, the only downfall being that the computer generated orcs seem less menacing and more ‘plastic’ than their prosthetic, human-acted counterparts found throughout The Lord of the Rings. Smaug, however, is a phenomenal creation. At once recognisably and traditionally dragon-like, yet also entirely unique (his movements had an almost bat-like quality), he is a marvel of computer designs, possibly worth a visual effects Oscar all on his own!

The Ratings
The Other Ratings
Martin Freeman 's performance as Bilbo Baggins?
How would you rate Luke Evan's performance as Bard??
The Overall representation of The Dwarves ?
How would you rate Benedict Cumberbatch's' performance as Smaug?
Ian McKellen's performance as Gandalf?
How would you rate Lee Pace's performance as Thranduil?
How would you rate Orlando Bloom's performance as Legolas?
How would you rate Evangeline Lilly's performance as Tauriel?
How would you rate Stephen Fry's performance as Master of Lake-Town?
Did you think Tauriel was a welcome addition to the film?
How would you rate Beorn?
How would you rate the scene with the Spiders?
How would you rate the imprisonment/escape sequence?
Did you like the Necromancer being discovered by Gandalf as Sauron?
Did the movie fairly portray the character arc of Thorrin?
How would you rate Lake-Town?
How would you rate the burglar interchange between Bilbo and Smaug?
How would you rate revisiting Bree?
How happy are you with the attempts to tie The Hobbit back to the Lord of the Rings?
Did you enjoy seeing Gandalf visit Gol Duldor and The Tombs?
Did you like the splitting of the company of Dwarves?
Did Smaug live up to your expectations?
How would you rate the ending of the movie; in regards to leading well into the next film, and serving as a good ending point.
Is DOS a better film than AUJ?
The overall pace of the film.

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