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The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Directed by Peter Jackson

And so we rejoin the Dwarfs and Bilbo on their journey towards The Lonely Mountain, to reclaim their homeland and slay the deadly, but rather charismatic, Smaug.

It's quite obvious from the start that Peter Jackson stretched the source material to the limit over this near three hour long adventure, resulting in a slightly disjointed story with an underwhelming ending. I don’t know if the special effects budget was an issue, but the CGI in some sequences looked cheap. The scene where Gandalf fights Sauron is the worst of all; the CGI on Gandalf during the distance shots was shocking. The effects were up and down throughout the film. The best sequence was the barrel river escape, and the scenes with Smaug were quite solid as well. One other that I noticed is that not all of the Orcs were actors, but instead cheap CGI versions. I wouldn’t mind if they were just soldiers in a huge battle scene, but these were main characters. The special effects in the final scenes seemed at bit dodgy as well - especially on the molten iron in the mines – it looked T2 T1000ish…

Not only were the special effects a bit ropey, but the dialogue seemed a bit cheesy in parts, especially during Thorin Oakenshield’s pontificating. Well, that’s my gripes out of the way, now to the plus points. Without Legolas and the rest of the elves having such a strong presence in the film, I don’t think it would have been have as enjoyable. The fights scenes with Legolas were the highlights of the film for me, especially the scenes in Lake Town. However, I do think they made his father Thranduil a little bit too camp. Some of the scenes where he was arguing with Thorin made me wonder if he was going to hit or kiss him.

Gandalf plays a more minor role in this film, going off on his own little quest under the instruction of the lady Galadriel, to discover the source of the darkness that hangs over Dol Guldur. As with The Lord of the Rings, the Hobbit is full of interesting minor characters, one of which is Beorn the shape shifter, who takes in Gandalf, Bilbo and the Dwarves and protects them from the Orc pack pursuing them.

When Bilbo and the Dwarves finally reach the Lonely Mountain it is left up to Bilbo to face Smaug. Whilst true to the book, I thought the scenes with Bilbo and Smaug did drag on for a little too long. However, the scenes following this with all the dwarves being chased around Erebor by the dragon, were quite entertaining. The end was a bit of a letdown. I was waiting three hours for a something amazing to happen, and it never did. All in all, a little hit and miss. Hopefully the third film will be the finale Tolkien fans deserve.