The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)
Peter Jackson directs the second installment of the trilogy based on the book The Hobbit written by J. R. R. Tolkien. In this precursor to the events of the famed Lord of the Rings trilogy Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen), Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) and 13 dwarves continue on their journey to reclaim the Lonely Mountain from the dragon Smaug (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch). As expected the group is encountered by perilous foes at every corner of Middle-Earth.
As a fan of the original Jackson trilogy, (the final installment amongst my favorite movies of all-time) I was excited to journey and lose myself into the wondrous and illustrious world created by Tolkien. The Hobbit: an Unexpected Journey, the first movie of this trilogy, was a disappointment. I always joke around that it was “unexpected” alright because it took nearly one hour for this “journey” to begin. While that film was pretty lackluster in my opinion, I gave it the benefit of the doubt because like the Lord of the Rings trilogy each new installment got substantial better and more interesting.
It pains me to write that this is NOT the case for this trilogy. Unlike the Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, this sequel DOES NOT improve on the original. In fact, I found the original a bit more entertaining. Once again the film was bogged down by unnecessary filler material. We don’t even see Smaug (whose name is in the title!) for almost 2 hours. There is about one hour of material I would cut out. So far I don’t see how Peter Jackson thinks he is justified in breaking 1 book into 3 movies. I was praying for Gollum to appear at some point in the film. His inclusion in the film would have provided much-needed comedic relief. Alas, it was not meant to be.
There were so many separate events ongoing in the movie that at times I felt I was watching more than one film. The film got mildly interesting when Bilbo finally meets the formidable Smaug. But, in my opinion it was far too late to save this movie from disenchantment. The ending will either excite you for the last movie or will irritate you for leaving no real resolution. In my case it managed to do both.
Another point I want to make is that due to the countless storylines, Jackson forsakes any attempt at character development. Why should I care of your main characters when they are glossed over?
Will I watch the last installment? I probably will, but only because I’ve already invested 5 and a half hours of my life to this trilogy. I want to state that I am a sci-fi and fantasy film fan. So it’s not like this stuff doesn’t appeal to me. It’s Jackson’s greedy decision that ultimately has ruined these adaptations. I do not recommend you watch this movie in theaters. I think it is a rental at best. If you do watch this, simply because you don’t believe me or because you are a Tolkien fan, be forewarned: You are going to be let down. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (extended sequences of intense fantasy action violence and frightening images)
Running Time: 161 grueling minutes
My Grade: C
Twitter: @adrakontaidis & @talkrealdebate