Saturday, December 14, 2013
MOVIE REVIEW: THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG
Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage), his mighty band of dwarves, Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), and wise wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) embark on a crusade to reclaim Erebor from the vicious dragon Smaug (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch) in this sweeping fantasy adventure that picks up where the events of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey left off. Peter Jackson (The Lord of the Rings trilogy) once again directs from a screenplay by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, and Guillermo del Toro. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi
Director: Peter Jackson
Cast: Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Benedict Cumberbatch, Evangeline Lilly.
Release Date: Dec 13, 2013 RealD 3D
Rated PG-13: Frightening Images and Fantasy Action Violence
Runtime: 2 hr. 40 min.
Genres: Action/Adventure, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is a well made film through and through. It’s wonderfully shot and acted with a fanciful story that’s engaging with characters that we’ve come to know and root for. There are massive action set pieces like the barrel escape which is a visual feast which is just as fun as it’s thrilling. All this makes for an excellent film except for the most glaring issue at play, it’s unnecessarily bloated. It’s someth I was worried about since the film was already stretched from 2 movies into 3 and here it shows. The much talked about addition, Tauriel, feels about as tacked on as possible throughout. Her character and Evangeline Lilly’s performance aren’t terrible but they are rather pointless. There are plenty of scenes that feel stretched out throughout as if Jackson has a running bet that he’ll never make Middle Earth film that’s under 2 and half hours. The cast is all solid with the new additions and returning players from LOTR series slipping easily into their roles again. The supporting dwarfs are still a tad undeveloped; fleshing them out probably would have been a better way to use the screen time. Smaug is masterful CGI creation which really needs to be seen in IMAX 3D to fully appreciate. Benedict Cumberbatch’s voice work is stellar as expected even if I kept getting random flashback to the forgotten Dennis Quaid movie Dragonheart. When Smaug finally shows up he does pick up the pace a bit but by that point your butt numbness makes you wish there wasn’t another 40 minutes to go. Since this is the middle chapter of the series there’s not resolution to look forward to either so it leaves you hanging for the next 3 hour opus which will hit theaters next year and I’ll be there again.