The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

At the Inn of the Prancing Pony in Bree, Gandalf persuades Thorin Oakenshield to obtain the Arkenstone to unite the Dwarves, and suggests that a stealthy burglar may be needed to steal the jewel back from Smaug.

One year later, Thorin and his company are being pursued by Azog and his Orc party down the Carrock following the events of the previous film. Bilbo informs the group that a bear is also tracking them, and are ushered along by Gandalf to the nearby home of Beorn to seek his assistance. Beorn is revealed to be a skin-changer who sometimes takes the form of the bear. That night, Azog is summoned to Dol Guldur and instructs his son Bolg to take over the hunt for Thorin. The following day, Beorn escorts the company to the borders of Mirkwood, where Gandalf discovers Black Speech graffiti imprinted on an old ruin. This coincides with a telepathic message from Galadriel urging him to investigate the tombs of the Nazgûl. He warns the company to remain on the path and abruptly leaves without any explanation. Upon entering the forest they lose their way and are ensnared by giant spiders. Bilbo then sets about freeing the dwarves with the help of the One Ring. He subsequently drops the ring and begins to learn of the corrupting influence it has on him after brutally killing a centipede-like creature to retrieve it.

The remaining spiders are fended off by the Wood-elves who are led by Tauriel and Legolas. They in turn capture the Dwarves and Thorin is brought before Thranduil. He confronts the Elvenking about the neglect of the people of Dale following Smaug’s attack, and is consequently imprisoned with the other Dwarves. Bilbo, having avoided capture, arranges an escape using empty wine barrels that are sent downstream. While being pursued by the Wood-elves, they are ambushed by Bolg and his Orc party and Kili is wounded. Thranduil then seals off his kingdom when an Orc captive reveals an evil entity has returned and is amassing an army in the south, but Tauriel decides to leave and assist the Dwarves along with Legolas. Meanwhile, Gandalf meets Radagast to investigate the tombs of the Nazgûl, which are found empty.

The company are then smuggled into Esgaroth by a man called Bard. Thorin promises the Master and people of Lake-town a share of the mountain’s treasure. It is then revealed that Bard is a descendant of the last ruler of Dale, and possesses the last black arrow capable of killing Smaug. Kili is forced to remain behind, tended to by Fili, Oin, and Bofur, as the remaining company receive a grand farewell. Meanwhile, Gandalf travels south to the ruins of Dol Guldur, while Radagast leaves to warn Galadriel of their discovery at the tombs. Gandalf finds the ruins infested with Orcs and is ambushed by Azog. While attempting to escape the Necromancer reveals himself and overwhelms Gandalf. He then reveals his true identity as Sauron.

Thorin and his remaining company reach the Lonely Mountain where Bilbo discovers the hidden entrance. He is sent in to retrieve the Arkenstone, and while doing so accidentally awakens Smaug. Back in Lake-town, Bard attempts to bring the black arrow to the town’s launcher as he fears what may happen when the Dwarves enter the mountain. However, he is arrested in the process and leaves his son to hide the arrow. Bolg and his Orc party then infiltrate the town and attack the four Dwarves, but are quickly dispatched following the arrival of Tauriel and Legolas. Tauriel then tends to Kili, and the two acknowledge their affection toward one another, while Legolas leaves in pursuit of Bolg. Meanwhile, an imprisoned Gandalf watches as Azog and an Orc army march from Dol Guldur towards the Lonely Mountain.

Back inside the mountain, Bilbo and the Dwarves try to rekindle the mountain’s forge in an attempt to kill Smaug by smouldering him in molten gold. This fails and he stumbles out of the mountain, determined to destroy the people of Lake-town for aiding the Dwarves. He then takes to the air as Bilbo watches in horror at what they have unleashed


Well, it is time to go back to Middle Earth, yet again for another 3 hr film from Peter Jackson, who can’t seem to let this world go. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is the continuation of The Hobbit novel (notice that it is just one book being dragged out into 3 overly long movies), this time we are promised more action and not so much talking. Will we get that?

What is this about?

Director Peter Jackson extends the Lord of the Rings saga with this second installment of Bilbo Baggins’s dramatic experiences in Middle Earth. Accompanied by Gandalf and 13 dwarves, Bilbo journeys toward a confrontation with the dragon Smaug.

What did I like?

Characters. One of the biggest complaints about The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was that it introduced all these characters, especially the dwarves, but no one could tell who was who. This time around the dwarves get a bit more personality. Well, let me take that back. The focus is shifted to about 3 or 4 of them, with the others being relegated to background characters. Unless you’re just a fan of dwarves, this helps tremendously because it opens up room to introduce the elves, including a slight love story, rather than more absurd hijinks around the dinner table.

Badass. Unlike a lot of fans of the fantasy genre, I don’t bow down and worship Peter Jackson and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. However, one of my favorite characters from those films was Legolas, the elf. He was a total badass archer when they let him. In this film he shows up and in many scenes is more of a badass than we thought he could be. Take for instance the parkour type stunts he does in the Lake-town. Words cannot do these stunts justice, you just have to see it to believe, just like the elves in the barrels going down the river.

Smaug. Dragons have long been one of the most popular and supposedly frightening characters in fantasy. They have been heroes, villains, sidekicks, and McGuffins. However, I can’t remember another dragon that has made as much of an impact with his introduction than Smaug does. First off, he isn’t introduced until the last 30-45 minutes of the film, and then it is almost all about him. He monologues like a Bond villain, but he can get away with it because Bilbo and later, the dwarves can’t really effectively fight him. Smaug is intimidating, refined, and powerful. I can imagine how much more frightening he must have looked on a big screen in 3D (if it was done right)! I do wonder why he was sleeping in Scrooge McDuck’s  moneybin, though HA!

What didn’t I like?

Departure. As I mentioned in my opening paragraph, these films are expanded and dragged out into 3 films (so the studio can make more money). The result of trying to make 1 book into 3 films is that you get further and further away from the book, are forced to introduce characters that don’t exist in the source material, and focus on parts that aren’t so important. I like Evangeline Lilly well enough, but her character was made up and that storyline could have been left out, but that’s just me.

Suspense…or lack thereof. The problem with being a prequel is that you already know what is going to happen to certain characters, which takes out the suspense should they get in any life-threatening situations. For instance, Bilbo is trapped in the cavern with Smaug and it seems as if there is no way out, but because we see him in the later films, it is obvious he escapes somehow. Gandalf has a similar situation, but they leave his encounter with what appears to be the first appearance of Sauron, as a cliffhanger for the next film. This was done to create suspense, but we all know that Gandalf will be just fine, so the suspense is taken out. Now, had they put Lilly’s character in danger, that would be different.

Length. Does Peter Jackson have something against films under 2 hours? This thing is nearly 3 hours long, and it doesn’t need to be. I think a good 30-40 minutes really could have been cut out and it wouldn’t have hurt this film one bit, but instead Jackson decided to not let anything stay on the cutting room floor and the result seems like a rambling speaker who won’t get to the point! I can only imagine what the extended cut of this film is going to end up being. I can see it now…this will go from 2hr 41 min to 8 hrs!

Don’t get me wrong, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is quite entertaining for what it is. For me, though, it has many of the things that I despise in films, such as length, departure from the source material, etc. Fan of the franchise, and maybe the books, will still like the film, though, and wait with bated breath for the final film to come out at the end of the year. Do I recommend it? Yes, it has everything that most people into this genre are looking for and is worth at least one watch, especially the last half where Smaug appears. Check it out sometime!

4 1/3 out of 5 stars


One Response to “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug”

  1. […] how downright dull a film cane be while waiting for the big payoff finale flick. No saying that The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug was anywhere near as boring, but it wasn’t the finale that delivered on most levels as this […]

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