The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – A stronger sequel brings a better Middle-Earth

     The holidays seem to always get in the way so everyone doesn’t have any free time. I hope everyone enjoyed their Christmas and New Year’s holidays with your families. But now, I’m back with some new reviews from this winter season. Providing another example of a sequel surpassing the first movie of a trilogy, The Desolation of Smaug is a more confident and exciting entry into this prequel trilogy.

     The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, the second in a trilogy of films of J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy classic, picks up where we left our heroes in the first film. The title character, Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) journeys with the wizard, Gandalf (Ian Mckellan) and thirteen Dwarves led by Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) as they make their way to the Lonely Mountain and the lost Dwarf kingdom of Erebor. Unknowingly, their quest does not go unnoticed as they come against Elves, Orcs, large spiders, and, ultimately, the dragon, Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch) who is nestled in the gold inside the mountain kingdom. 
     This film is definitely much better than its predecessor. While it does get bogged down by narrative problems that usually happen during the second film in a trilogy, the early history of Middle-Earth is definitely expanded for the audience to delve into. The Wood Elves and Legolas’ (Orlando Bloom) early history are revealed when our company runs into them, giving the elves a bigger presence in the film. Rather than providing vital but filler information for our heroes, the elves get more involved as their history with the dwarves take stage. Our adventurers are taken into uncharted territory as they travel to the Lonely Mountain, delivering splendid action non-stop. 
     Being a Tolkien fan, I was especially interested in how the infamous dragon, Smaug, would be done by Peter Jackson. Having Benedict Cumberbatch involved in the project is a win for Jackson as Cumberbatch’s Hollywood fame grows after his performance in Star Trek Into Darkness this past summer. I will say that Smaug was well done, a crafty, frightening, and intelligent beast voiced by an up and coming actor that is getting mainstream exposure in Hollywood films. Martin Freeman puts on a wonderful performance as a more confident Bilbo Baggins, gaining his courage during the quest but also realizing the influence of the golden ring he carries with him. Richard Armitage does a wonderful job playing the unstoppable force of Thorin as he finally reaches the Lonely Mountain and does battle with Smaug to gain back his kingdom and take his rightful place as King Under The Mountain. 
     While this movie is still too long, it comes with the territory of Peter Jackson’s films. I still don’t agree that The Hobbit should have been made into three films instead of two but after seeing this film, I understand the decision. The ending is not how it is in the book when it comes to Smaug but since there is another film, I believe that it can be overlooked. I hope you all enjoy a trip to Middle Earth this holiday season!

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