Review: The Desolation of Smaug (The Hobbit #2)

Review: The Desolation of Smaug (The Hobbit #2)The Desolation of Smaug * by Peter Jackson
Series: The Hobbit #2
Also in this series: The Battle of the Five Armies *
Released by Warner Bros. on 11 December 2013
Genres: Fantasy
Length: 2h 41m
Source: Seen in cinema

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The dwarves, along with Bilbo Baggins and Gandalf the Grey, continue their quest to reclaim Erebor, their homeland, from Smaug. Bilbo Baggins is in possession of a mysterious and magical ring.

Cast: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Aidan Turner, Dean O’Gorman, Lee Pace, Orlando Bloom, Evangeline Lilly.

Oh wow, wow wow. This is the movie I had been waiting for for an entire year! Ever since the last movie came out, I was really excited for the second one (not as much for the third, but there’s a reason for that). Let me start off by saying that I honestly like this movie a bit better than An Unexpected Journey, mainly because this movie has more action (and I LOVE Peter Jackson’s action scenes). Beware, this review might contain some spoilers (if you haven’t read the book you shouldn’t even be reading this review, but the book).

The Action – Like I said, I have always loved Peter Jackson’s action scenes. When I read Lord of the Rings, I found that the action scenes that were so awesome in the movies were actually quite ‘boring’ in the book. I had the same with The Hobbit, so my guess is just that Tolkien wasn’t very well with writing about battles. Thank the Gods that Peter Jackson is a brilliant director, because he has made the battles (Helmsdeep, Minas Tirith, etc) so much more awesome and he has done the same with the Hobbit.

Of course, when you make a book of only about 360 pages into three movies, you have the issue of having a lot of gaps to fill. Peter Jackson has done this perfectly, and my favourite scene in this movie was the barrel scene, where the dwarves are not only hunted by the elves, but by a pack of orcs as well. Though I am not at all looking forward to the third movie (because of certain character deaths), I am looking forward to more Peter Jackson action scenes!

The Characters – We meet quite some new (and old) characters in this new movie. My favourites were Legolas (Orlando Bloom), who wasn’t in the book, but was definitely born by the time the story of the Hobbit happened; Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly), who isn’t a Tolkien character, but a Jackson character (and an awesome one!), Beorn the Skinchanger (Mikael Persbrandt), and Bard the Bowman (Luke Evans). Then there’s Thranduil (Lee Pace) who is the elven king, and Legolas’ father (that is why Legolas is in the movie). I thought he was an ass, which of course means that he was well played by Lee. I did think he looked a lot like Lucius Malfoy, and then mostly the musical version of him, so I expected him to dance the entire time (the way musical!Lucius does). And then there were the spiders. Oh my gods, I hated that entire part of the movie. I am really, really scared of spiders, and I spend most of the part hiding my face behind my hands. I was really glad when that was over.

But my two most favourite ‘characters’ have to to be the two pugs that were walking around in Laketown. Tanja had said already that she’d seen them in a production diary (I watched it three times and I never saw them), but when they appeared in the movie, I went ‘awwwwwwww’ really loud (I love pugs). What I also liked, was that Peter Jackson played a tiny role in this movie as well (you’ll know it as soon as you see it), as did his daughter, and James Nesbitt’s (Bofur) daughters as well. Peggy and Mary Nesbitt played Sigrid and Tilda, the daughters of Bard. Peter Jackson only had a cameo (in An Unexpected Journey as well), and his daughter played a hobbit in the first movie (only the extended edition) and a barmaid in the second. I can’t wait to play ‘spot Peter Jackson’ in the third movie!

The Dragon – And of course there was Smaug, the dragon. We’d seen only bits of him in the previous movie – a paw, a shadow, the nose, the eye and his tail – but of course in this movie we finally got to see the entire dragon. And wow, I want to give my compliments to the people who made him, because wow, what a dragon!

Not only his voice was amazing (I mean have you ever heard Benedict Cumberbatch’s voice? OH MY GODS), the whole bloody dragon was amazing. I loved the scenes between Smaug and Bilbo, and there was this part where the dwarves did something to the dragon, and he ended up being FABULOUS. Yes, good dragon (though I hate him as well because he stole Erebor in the first place).

The Romance – I bet no one had been expecting this in a movie about thirteen (male) dwarves, a wizard, and a (male) hobbit. But yes, there is some ‘romance’ in this movie. Both evolve around new character Tauriel (spoiler? though it was rumoured a long time ago), and though one of them was very adorable, I didn’t really feel like it added something to the story. Mainly because of the difference in species. There was one scene between these two however, that made me feel very happy and I really liked it, but no, I don’t ship it.

The other romance however, I think that could be something beautiful, but I kinda fear for Tauriel’s life at the moment (mainly because she’s a Peter Jackson character, not a Tolkien character, so yeah).

The Plot – This movie is about (book)chapters 7 til 13 approximately (like I had predicted, yay!). In the last movie, we saw the dwarves, Gandalf and Bilbo narrowly escape the orc pack lead by Azog (who I’ve nicknamed Voldy-orc because he reminded me of Voldemort (being thought he was dead, though he wasn’t and have you seen him?!)). This movie starts with their arrival at Beorn’s house, where they get some rest and some food (it is adorable to see the tiny dwarves sit at the gigantic table and drink from massive cups).

For those who haven’t read the book, I will not tell you where the movie ends, but let me tell you that the ending was pretty intense and I found myself saying ‘WHAT’ out loud when the screen went black (the guy next to me had the same reaction).

Book-to-movie – Of course, with a book being made into a movie, there will be people being angry with their favourite parts being changed, or not being there at all. But we all know that movie makers can’t make the perfect book-to-movie film (although personally, Catching Fire came pretty close to what I imagined when reading the book).

I have to say that I am really happy with how both An Unexpected Journey and Desolation of Smaug turned out to be. I loved all the extra scenes, the extra characters, I loved it! Though, of course, I would have loved to see more about each individual dwarf, but you can’t have everything.

In the end, my opinion is that The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug really is the best movie of the year!