As a guy that’s seen every Lord of the Rings/Hobbit film in theaters as well as owning them all on Blu-Ray, I knew that I’d be seeing this latest installment as well. Now before the stereotypes enter your head I want to clarify a few things. I’m not a reader. So by not being a reader, I have not read any of the books in the LOTR series or it’s prequel, The Hobbit. I tried to read The Hobbit once in 5th grade and barely got through a couple of pages before I was lost and didn’t care to continue. That being said, I only know & love the world of hobbits, dwarfs, elves, and Gandalf through Peter Jackson’s creations. I’ve seen them all in the theater, once at their own individual time of release, and again when I bought them on Blu-Ray within this last year.
Heading into the 2nd installment of the Hobbit trilogy it’s become more and more hard not to subject oneself to the reviews of critics or friends that have seen the flick, especially since I waited to see it in it’s 4th week of release. I’ve heard from quite a few people that they feel the Hobbit should have just been 1 or 2 films instead of a trilogy but we all know that’s not how Hollywood and money do business together. With those feelings aside, this is a trilogy and I took as such.
My actual review of the movie is spoiler-free and pretty scarce but here goes.
I liked it quite a bit.
The movie is more action-packed compared to The Hobbit: The Unexpected Journey. I understand that that film had to set up the back story and work up to it but it seemed really long and it dragged. I mean, 45 minutes of dwarfs eating dinner at Bilbo’s house was a little overkill (45 minutes was a total estimate but that’s how long it felt). The Desolation of Smaug ended up being 8 minutes shorter in length but really didn’t feel like it. I’ve seen some other movies lately in theaters that have been about as long but felt like it, this was very different and I credit that to Peter Jackson.
Overall I feel that the cliffhanger at the end of The Desolation of Smaug left me craving more where The Unexpected Journey’s cliffhanger was rather lackluster and left me not really caring but knowing I would see the next film anyway. The thirst for the 3rd installment is real though with all the action taking place at the end of The Desolation of Smag. The cast was amazing again. Martin Freeman didn’t steal the show as much in this one to me as the film focused more on Thorin, the head dwarf. The way they made Smaug was pretty neat and the CGI wasn’t even that noticeable. I also had no idea Benedict Cumberbatch was the voice until I looked it up after. Orlando Bloom does another solid job as Legolas and the new addition of former “Lost” actress Evangeline Lilly was great for those hoping for some more elvish eye candy.
I fully recommend anyone to see this film. If you haven’t seen The Unexpected Journey, see that first, but you don’t need to see the Lord of the Rings trilogy if you don’t want to. In fact, I recommend this series over that if you didn’t see LOTR because you didn’t think it was for you or that you didn’t want to give into the hype or something. Also, be on the lookout for Stephen Colbert’s very brief cameo. I laughed out loud when I finally found him, Where’s Waldo style.
(Only criticism of all of these films in either series is that the spiders and orcs are gross and they creep me out. The spiders are the worst)