The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

December 31, 2013
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As the lights dimmed and the audience's murmurs ceased, I sat back in my uncomfortable movie theater seat, put on my 3D glasses, and expected to witness a three hour thrill ride of fighting scenes and lots of CGI (computer graphic images). I could not have been farther from the truth.

"The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug", based on J. R. R. Tolkien’s popular novel The Hobbit, is the second movie ("middle chapter") of Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy. It picks up right where Jackson left off in the first movie, "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey", as Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), the twelve dwarves, and Gandalf the Grey (Ian Mckellen) flee from the pale Orc’s, Azog the Defiler, wrath. They quickly find shelter in Beorn’s home, a man/beast who is kind enough to lend them his horses for the journey. The very next day, Gandalf leaves the company in the hands of Thorin (Richard Armitage), the dwarf King, and embarks on a short "field trip" to investigate the rumors of evil doings in Dol Guldur. The dwarves and Bilbo then must venture into Mirkwood, a dark forest with many dangers. While they try to find their way, they are captured by large spiders. Bilbo, luckily, manages to escape. Using the ring's power to his advantage, he releases the dwarves from their captors. The dwarves then, in turn, battle the countless, approaching spiders. Finally, when all hope of killing the spiders seems lost, the elves of Thranduil's kingdom arrive and rescue the dwarves. In this scene, the audience is introduced to Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly), the female captain of the Mirkwood Elven guard. She is a fictional character, created by Jackson himself. Once the spiders are killed, the elves (ironically) imprison the dwarves in their kingdom. Again, with the power of invisibility given by the ring, Bilbo slips away.

While the dwarves sit inside their cells, a romantic plot between Tauriel and Kili (Aidan Turner) is hinted at when they converse about Kili's runestone and his travels. However the plot is not developed any more, when Bilbo finds a way to release everyone from eternal imprisonment and escape the Elven kingdom. Meanwhile, Gandalf discovers the Necromancer (Benedict Cumberbatch) has been preparing an Orc/Warg "army" to unleash evil unto the world. Sadly, Gandalf does not receive as much screen time as the other main characters, since the Necromancer "defeats" him and holds him prisoner.

Back to the hobbit and the dwarves. With the Orcs on their trail, they travel as fast as they can to reach the Lonely Mountain. They happen to meet a man named Bard (Luke Evans), a Laketown resident, who smuggles them into Laketown. From there on, they make their way to the the fallen kingdom of Erebor, and confront the evil dragon, Smaug (also Benedict Cumberbatch).

Overall, the movie was enjoyable and much, much better than its predecessor. While "An Unexpected Journey" focused on revealing the characters' personalities and emotions, "The Desolation of Smaug" took the audience straight into fast-paced pursuit. Although the movie has been criticized for having lengthy action scenes and not enough development of the characters and "heart", the scene known as the "barrel ride", when the dwarves and hobbit escape from Thranduil's kingdom (I won't go into too much detail or I'll spoil all the fun) was simply fascinating to watch. Even the audience could not resist from guffawing with glee.

The introduction of Tauriel, a strong female character, in the trilogy was much needed, considering the first movie was undoubtedly male-dominated. Evangeline Lilly brought feminism and true heroism to life in portraying Tauriel as a courageous and skilled Elf warrior. Not only that, the foreshadowing of a relationship between her and Kili, was a smart move made by Jackson. Both additions most definitely appealed to many female viewers who may not have enjoyed the first movie.

Even though many have slashed "The Desolation of Smaug", saying that Jackson turned the works of Tolkien into pure fan fiction, the movie was still a delightful and fun experience. And for those of you who are still unsure if the movie is worth seeing, consider this line, said by Gandalf, in "An Unexpected Journey": "I'm looking for someone to share in an adventure." So, please. Come along and join me in a breathtaking, blood-tingling, hair-raising, and mind-blowing adventure that you will certainly never forget.

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This article has 11 comments. Post your own now!

LillianAB said...
Aug. 6, 2014 at 8:43 pm
I love the book and really like the movies. I'm really looking forward to the third one!
mrs.holmes said...
Mar. 13, 2014 at 1:34 pm
The movie was just amazing. It was a bit long, but I think the visual affects and the music and the actors were just fantastic. I went to the midnight premiere, so it was thrilling. The spiders and Smaug were wonderfully made. Though... I fell asleep the last thirty minutes, and woke up to the credits rolling...
Hanban12 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jan. 31, 2014 at 10:27 pm
I've seen this movie, and loved all the CGI and captivating acting skills. It was a great movie, but if you read the book The Hobbit, Jackson completely rendered the movie into something totally different, and the film's plotline was a bit stretched and could've been far more condensed. Other than that, it was a great movie, although I have no desire to see it again. I really enjoyed your review, though; it was great to read someone else's point of view and I love your choice of ... (more »)
RoyalCorona said...
Jan. 31, 2014 at 5:13 pm
I haven't watched this movie yet either but I found this very enjoyable! Great job!
_Zavery_ said...
Jan. 30, 2014 at 5:36 pm
You did a good job at this. i havent watched the movie but im thinking of watching it now. your intro to the review was very attention-grabbing as well
Carly_Elizabeth said...
Jan. 28, 2014 at 6:48 pm
I've never read a movie review so this is a new experience, but I liked it. You did a good job of desribing the events of the movie and such, but there's just one thing I'm confused on. In the beginning you said, "I could not have been farther from the truth" implying that you did not like the movie, but then you didn't advance any further on your position. You did explain, later on, the good aspects of the film so I was confused on wether you liked it or not. I don'... (more »)
ninjaballerina1234 said...
Jan. 8, 2014 at 4:33 pm
You did a good job describing the movie, but a times it was hard to follow. Your ending was spectacular though.
NaaThompson said...
Jan. 4, 2014 at 4:02 pm
Caesar123 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jan. 4, 2014 at 12:49 pm
Good review, but I must admit that I think I enjoyed the more simplistic view that Tolkien originally held of The Hobbit, not as a prequel or part of a longer, complicated storyline, but as a stand alone novel with its own strengths. I really think Jackson has taken the story too far by a.) making it all into three movies, and b.) adding/altering events to better fit what we see in the Lord of the Rings. I do agree that the movie held my attention, and was entertaining, but for... (more »)
VioletRoyal replied...
Jan. 7, 2014 at 11:34 pm
This was really good!  I've read many reviews that I found quite boring word use wise, but yours actually kept me reading, even though I really don't have an interest in this movie/book series.  One thing I would suggest is not talking so much about the movie plot.  It might ruin the movie for some people who may have not seen it yet.  Other than that, this was a very well written movie review.  :)
lesjuggaletteforlife replied...
Jan. 28, 2014 at 10:42 am
not really my thing but you did a good job describing it!!
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