Wednesday, January 15, 2014
PCP in Theaters - The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
As I mentioned in my review last year for part 1 of The Hobbit, I am a huge J.R.R. Tolkien fan, so seeing The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug in theaters for me was a given. I finally had a chance to catch it recently and here are my thoughts on the film.
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – 2013, rated PG-13. My rating: 9 out of 10.
Once again, Peter Jackson knocks it out of the park with his creation of Middle-Earth. Just like the previous films in the series, the production design is excellent, with amazing attention to detail on all of the various towns and buildings created for the film. He really brings to life all of the places from the novel, with breathtaking results.
The film itself continues the journey of hobbit Bilbo Baggins and a company of 12 dwarves to attempt to reclaim the dwarves’ home from the dragon, Smaug, that has taken it over. We finally see Smaug in this film, voiced by the great Benedict Cumberbatch. His voice brings a malevolent but regal power to the dragon, who is also beautifully rendered by the CGI animators for the film. Hearing him talk as the dragon reminded me a lot of his performance as Khan in Star TrekInto Darkness from earlier in the year.
Just like the first Hobbit, it is hard to rate a film that is inherently incomplete. This middle bridge of the trilogy does a great job of getting the characters where they need to be, the Lonely Mountain, but it ends on a cliffhanger because the book it is based on is not yet finished. This one was better than the first one though, with less expository dialogue and far more action than the first film contained. Most memorably, the river barrel escape sequence combined great action and thrills with some very funny moments as well. This film also contained a lot of departures from the book though, including a character made up by Peter Jackson and not Tolkien, Tauriel, played by Lost's Evangeline Lilly. I for one do not mind the changes that Jackson has made, however, as I find they add more depth to the book than Tolkien had originally written. The changes better flesh out the world and make it feel more complete. I also like the fact that the film shows us more in detail the trials Gandalf faces that were only hinted at in the book but never shown.
Overall, part 2 of the Hobbit was an improvement over the first film, and I really hate the fact that I have to wait until the end of 2014 for the conclusion of this gorgeous trilogy. I know that I’ll be there in theaters when it comes out, however, as I am looking forward to the conclusion. The film ends on a great place for the final act to begin, one that seems like it is going to be chock full of action throughout. I can’t wait!