This review is coming from someone who is a big fan of the LOTR movies and someone who trusts Peter Jackson to handle epic fantasy stories in a highly competent manner. So please excuse the superlatives and unabashed adoration you’ll find on this page, particularly for the shining locks, deep blue eyes, broad shoulders and overall hotness of the totally awesome elf specimen that is Legolas. I will try to control myself and do my best to deliver an impartial movie review as much as possible, but I apologize in advance for any uncontrollable fangirling urges that will leak out.
Even if it pains me a bit, I’d have to say that The Hobbit 1 was a bit of a drag. It wasn’t horrible by any means and it was definitely shorter than The Fellowship of the Ring (which was 3+ hours), but I felt that it lacked strength to maintain people’s attention for all of its parts. When the first installment of The Hobbit disappeared from the cinemas, I’m sure I wasn’t alone in thinking that the world of Middle Earth has lost a bit of its charm.
But, Desolation of Smaug completely dispelled that feeling. 1.5 hours long, it was one awesome ride. You get treated to great visuals after great visuals and the thrilling parts were very well paced in my opinion; even though I watched the last full show after a long day at work, I cannot recall a moment when my attention wandered off or that I felt sleepy during some parts of the movie.
I’ve read Tolkien’s book so I know the story of The Hobbit well, but this wasn’t a hindrance to my enjoyment of the movie because it was fulfilling to see all those characters come alive on screen. Then there were the add-ons that Peter Jackson gave. Sure there were made-up characters, but they were well done enough they had no problem convincing me they were part of the world Tolkien originally imagined. I also appreciated some of those scenes not in the book but were in Tolkien’s other works as they provide a fuller picture of not only everything that happens in The Hobbit but also of what happened in Lord of the Rings.
I can also say that this second installment of the trilogy had the right mix of narrative, action, comedy and even romance. Of course, all the eye candy were very much appreciated and all the combat scenes were so exciting. I admit I hooted and clapped along with the rest of the cinema audience when Bilbo and the dwarves inside wine barrels floated down the foaming rapids to escape the orcs. Legolas’ scenes there involving his bow and arrow prowess and fantastical sense of balance were so awesome I could give him my soul for eternity any time! (sorry can’t help myself). The dwarf-in-a-barrel killing machine was also very funny and at the same time impressive. All these just goes to show that Peter Jackson’s showmanship is for real.
One thing though, although the whole story is about Bilbo the Hobbit, the focus wasn’t on him much until towards the end of the story. But when the movie did focus on Bilbo, it was in such a grand manner that you can really feel just how epic his adventure is. Encountering in the dark bowels of a mountain a humongous fire-breathing dragon who is frighteningly attached to all that gold and other riches must feel utterly terrifying. Yet we all know that Bilbo, once a Hobbit who has lived a sheltered life, has it in him to rise above the challenge and find limitless courage. All these was translated in the movie through action-packed moments that delivered comedic stunts here and there.
As a whole, I found The Desolation of Smaug a captivating film that knows how to impress long-time fans of the high fantasy genre. The film is a cliffhanger though and will leave you wanting for more.
My top 3 favorite characters are Legolas, Legolas, and Legolas! ^_^
Seriously though, from the two assassins sneering evilly at Thorin Oakenshield during the beginning of the movie to Bard’s son and daughters, the Hobbit 2 has many interesting and well-acted characters. The creatures that acted as foil to our heroes were also excellently done; I felt the 3D effects rendered excellently and the orcs, spiders and most especially Smaug were quite real-looking on screen.
Tauriel was a kick-ass she-elf and I’m glad she is part of the movie. The sparks between her and Kili were enjoyable to watch and a welcome break from all the action and general quest theme of the movie. Thorin Oakenshield was serious and consumed with his inner turmoils as usual, though towards the end of the movie he was beginning to warm up to Bilbo, which is about time because I was getting tired of his high-and-mighty attitude towards Bilbo. And speaking of Bilbo, Martin Freeman I believe is a great choice for this character. He was able to deliver the charm of Hobbits and he is simply fun to watch, especially towards the end when finally the movie focused on him the main character.
Legolas, now there is one fine elf! Sorry guys, can’t let this part of the review end without talking about him. About 10 years ago, hordes of fans were created for this character and Orlando Bloom was launched to stardom. With his appearance in the Hobbit 2, we are reminded once again why Legolas deserves the attention. His action scene during that part of the movie where the dwarves had to escape down the foaming river while inside wine barrels was simply awesome. Legolas’ marksmanship is hard to beat, his sense of balance is splendid and not only did we see his bow skills in the movie, we get treated to some short-range combat too. With that, I will forever remain a fan of Orlando Bloom’s Legolas.
Another elf who’s garnering attention is the cold and somewhat self-serving Elvenking Thranduil of Mirkwood played by Lee Pace. A lot of girls seem to have gone crazy over him, much like those girls 10 years ago who went gaga over Legolas. All understandable.
Finally, there’s Ian McKellen who delivered a great performance as Gandalf. In the LOTR movies, Gandalf (and everyone actually) had dialogues that sounded so archaic and he even spoke in riddles several times. In Desolation of Smaug though, I felt Gandalf’s dialogues were more casual and more ‘in with the times’.
I thoroughly enjoyed Hobbit 2: Desolation of Smaug – both the canon and the made-up parts. I believe Peter Jackson did a great job overall – set the right tone during the first movie and delivered an action-packed second installment. I am definitely excited for The Hobbit 3 and will eagerly await its release this end of 2014.
How about you; have you watched The Hobbit 2? If not, why not? If you did, which parts did you enjoy and which parts do you think need improvement? Who are your favorite characters?