Date Posted: 2014-01-04
Tolkien Fan Level: 4
Film Format Seen? 3D 48 fps
Will view again in a different format? No
The second part of Peter Jackson's Hobbit Trilogy based partly on J.R.R. Tolkien's classic novel along with the expansion and world building of the Lord of the Rings appendices. While criticisms remain on Jackson's handling of the source material there's no denying:
"Anyone who thinks Peter Jackson would fall for market forces around him rather than artistic integrity doesn't know the guy or the body of his work," - Sir Ian McKellen This is not all for money!!! Expanding the story of one book gives audiences more to explore within the universe and threads of Middle Earth. This is for one Jackson's version of The Hobbit not Tolkien's; As much as Tolkien expanded his universe among multiple volumes, Jackson has taken this step, taking events that occurred at the time of The Hobbit, within the Middle Earth timeline. And you know what else, They wouldn't of done it this way if they'd done Lord of the Rings. The film begins with a short prologue/back story; greeted by Peter Jackson's dunked cameo within a northern town pub, we see Thorin (Richard Armatage) meet Gandalf (Sir Ian McKellen) for the first time before before they recruited the dwarf company and Bilbo. Snap back to the present, we continue Bilbo's journey right after the events of 'An Unexpected Journey'. While still being pursued by Azog and Bolg under command of the mysterious necromancer from Dol Guldur, Gandalf leads the company to the safety of Beorn; an ancient skin changer with the personality of a giant grizzly bear and a big man. Soon we're lead to the great forest of Mirkwood; where Gandalf parts the company suspicious about Radagast's rumors that the dark enemy is returning. The Company then encounter many scenarios involving giant spiders, elves, old friends, new enemies, the hospitality of Laketown, among more adventure before confronting the great dragon Smaug himself. What I absolutely love about these films the most and will continue is the grand sense of authenticity and atmospheric wonder presented by Peter Jackson and his team. Nothing could of been bettered than what Jackson has done here, I could just lose myself with this world for hours on end. That saying while An Unexpected Journey took a light and whimsical approach similar to that of the first third of the novel. The Desolation of Smaug continues this tradition similar in conventions and plot threads among story also tends to take some darker tone shifts from time to time. Martin Freeman continues to be wondrous as ever as Bilbo Baggins, even if the enemy is on the verge of returning Bilbo eventually starts to become too protective/corrupted about the Ring from Gollum's cave back from the first film (course we all know what will become of it). Beorn (Mikael Persbrandt), a character that's mostly cut out of other Hobbit Adaptations, is given memorable screen time, aiding the dwarves at the beginning of the film. We get to see his double nature even whilst discovering the conflict brewing among the dwarves and goblins. The elves; aware of the Company's quest, but unfortunate to help due to Thorin's family history of greed. Among the elves is Legolas (Orlando Bloom returning to the franchise that made him), The Elven King; Thranduil (Lee Pace) and the feisty but elegantly charming warrioress Tauriel (Evangeline Lily). There even a small love triangle appears within the sub text among the company's arrival/imprisonment. It is 'their fight!' once they can take up arms and help when others need it more. The dwarves continue playing their major parts along the journey; even if some of those dwarves weren't developed enough in the first film. This is one of the hardest aspects of adapting these many characters from The Hobbit, even if many viewers thought they couldn't keep track of all the names of the 13 dwarves. Clear characterizations is all that's needed, even if there was too much material from the Lord of the Rings that couldn't be adapted or placed in at that time. Laketown even has their own share and role made up majorly by Bard the Bowman (Luke Evens), his family and the noble Master (Stephen Fry). Not only have they not forgotten the past when Smaug attacked but also humbly recognize the company's quest in an effort to aid them. Technically 3D and HFR continues to immerse me in the incredible world of Middle Earth. Many of the high angle or flying camera shots are incredibly smooth, giving us the insight needed within each setting. Mirkwood and Laketown are the major hindsight's while the Lonely Mountain gets to show off some shiny treasures and lost dwarven civilization not seen for an age. It is also where the film's major highlight; Smaug Appears. The gleaming dragon is a wonder to witness on screen; Benedict Cumberbatch voices with such personality and scale, whats not to love? While it may be firmly stuck in its middle chapter too much, the film delivers on continuing Bilbo's journey with such cinematic splendor.
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