The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – Review

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Photo Courtesy Warner Brothers

That’s a very fancy title with all of them big words!  They should just call this movie what you really want to call it, The Hobbit: More Dwarves, More Elves, More Dragon!

Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), Thorin (Richard Armitage) and the dwarves are making their way to Lonely Mountain, where the evil dragon, Smaug (voice by “The Man of a Million Voices” Benedict Cumberbatch), has been inhabiting the dwarves’ former home and enjoying their gold (Your homeland is called Lonely Mountain?  I know shorter guys don’t always get the ladies, but c’mon!).  However, this is a long journey (by some lonely guys) and we need to meet more characters and see more lands within Middle-earth.

So, Gandalf (Ian McKellan) has split from the group to chase after the evil Necromancer in an attempt to discover his nefarious plot and the Dwarves have to make their way through the Mirkwood forest and fight off the evil Orcs (the dudes with the very bad skin, who should look into using some moisturizer).

Then, we get to see our heroes fight a dragon!

Why is this movie so long for having such little plot?

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is the middle of the trilogy, and feels like it is here to give us plenty of action to admire, but not much more to advance the story or characters.  If you want to see some cool action and special effects, you get it in this movie.  If you want something deeper, maybe you have to hold out hope for the next one?

Writer/director Peter Jackson gives us a fantastic sequence where the Dwarves have to ride down the river in barrels while fighting off the Orcs, and a very stunning battle between the Dwarves and Smaug, but that’s it.

You want to see the Elves get down and nasty while fighting the Orcs (OH BABY!), you get plenty of that action.

You want to see the best looking fire-breathing dragon in the history of movies (OH BABY!), you get that (even when I saw the movie in a poorly projected, out of focus, fuzzy, dark 3-D version, you could tell the dragon was amazing, so I look forward to seeing the movie in a theater where they know what they are doing and it will look cool).

However, the only real story is some ridiculous, half baked love triangle featuring a new character created by Jackson and his writing partners, Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, and Guillermo Del Toro (of course, based on the book The Hobbit from J.R.R. Tolkien).  Now, keep in mind, the character, Tauriel the Elf (Evangeline Lilly), is super sexy, but she was never created or written by Tolkien.  If he wanted some sexy lady elves in the original story, maybe those Dwarves would have been looking for Playboy Mountain instead of Lonely Mountain.  Could she be the Jar Jar Binks of the Lord of the Rings universe?

Also, Jackson and the team assume you remember everything from the first movie, so you better re-watch it, study it, read some of the original book or just go in realizing that won’t matter so much.  I have to admit, I spent some time after the movie looking up some of the plot and characters to better understand who was who and what was what.

And, I didn’t like the repeated attempts to insert some goofiness into The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.  The original trilogy, and any great epic story, just doesn’t need that.  We should be moved by the bravery, the emotion of the moments and the twists and turns we take with the characters.

One more to go!  See you next December!  Let’s hope more happens in the finale.

2_5waffles_sml2 ½ Waffles (Out of 4)

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is rated PG-13 for extended sequences of intense fantasy action violence, and frightening images

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