Maddy’s Movies: “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” is great for continuing a long story

Maddy Mesa

UPWEB_MM_TheHobbit

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“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” is definitely better than the first Hobbit movie but still lacks the amazement of Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy.

The film begins with a flashback of Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen) and Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) talking about stealing the Arkenstone back from the fearsome dragon Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch) who’s guarding the vast dwarf treasure in Lonely Mountain.

If you have not seen the first movie and have no idea what I am talking about, I am so sorry, because after the flashback the movie picks up right where the first one left off and there is very little time for a recap or explanation of what’s going on.

The 13 dwarves (don’t worry I won’t name all of the here), Gandalf, and Bilbo Baggins (Martina Freeman) are still on their quest to return to the mountain and the lost dwarven city, which now stands in burnt ruins, thanks to Smaug.

However, 20 minutes into the film, Gandalf leaves to go on his own quest (something about a Necromancer and whatnot) and Biblo and the dwarves are off through the forest, over a river and across a lake.

This film is much better than the first one, but the constant journey to a mountain gets a little old after two movies.

The CGI in this movie is crazy. Not only crazy good but, as in one scene with the dwarves traveling down the river, it gets crazy over-the-top.

It’s a dizzying scene to watch and almost impossible to tell what the heck is going on. But the other battle scenes with the Orcs, elves and Smaug are well done. Not crazy in your face, but crazy awesome.

One a side note, if you don’t like spiders I suggest taking a bathroom break at that point of the movie. They are terrifyingly realistic — realistic in the sense that they are giant, talking spiders.

It was fun seeing Legolas (Orlando Bloom) again and his perfect blue eyes. He gets that from his father, King Thranduil (Lee Pace) who is not only beautiful, but deadly.

Also, in a movie dominated by men–13 dwarves, a hobbit, a wizard and a town full of humans (mostly men)–it’s refreshing to have a strong female character in the movie with Evangeline Lilly’s Tauriel. Not only is Taurial a skilled warrior, but she is also in a leadership position among her fellow elves.

There is great character development with Bilbo Baggins. From a timid hobbit who never wanted to leave the Shire, Bilbo is now fighting spiders, breaking the dwarfs out of elf-prison and facing the dreaded dragon Smaug.

The most powerful emotion we get from Biblo is seen  after he kills over the ring (the one to rule them all). You see him realize just how much the ring has corrupted him. You see it in his face the fear and realization that this ring is a danger to himself.

The battle sequences are alright in this film. Nothing huge like the Battle of Helms Deep in “Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” but I suspect there will be an epic battle in the third movie.

It’s not all fighting though. There is a pretty cute love story that plays throughout the movie (but I won’t tell you who it’s between).

I give “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” two and a half out of four Arkenstones. As a three hour movie about traveling, this movie could get boring fast. But with fun characters, well choreographed fight scenes and a fire breathing dragon, the new Hobbit movie still entertains and will have you coming back for the third and final installment next year.