Review: The Hobbit – The Desolation of Smaug / Cert: 12A / Director: Peter Jackson / Screenplay: Various / Starring: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Benedict Cumberbatch / Release Date: Out Now
For a lot of people, the second of Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy was a dull, repetitive entry of that particular series. With the arrival of Jackson’s second Hobbit film, some fans had concern. Fear not, though, for The Desolation of Smaug delivers quite the impressive spectacle.
Here we pick things up with the thirteen dwarves, led by Thorin Oakenshield (Armitage). Along with Gandalf (McKellen) and Bilbo Baggins (Freeman), the dwarves are on a journey to reclaim the dwarf kingdom of Erebor. As their journey takes them across lands inhabited by elves, orcs, giant spiders and much more, the target is to reach the Lonely Mountain. The thing is, that is where the Dragon Smaug resides.
After a slow, raspy first 20 minutes, plus a large role for Orlando Bloom’s Legolas (not a good thing), this film had us a little uneasy. Luckily, from here on in, the action, character development and overall journey really picks up. Newcomers like Evangeline Lilly’s Tauriel and Luke Evans’ Bard are great additions, bringing a freshness and likeability with them. Then there are the dwarves. Here we’re given aggressive, clinical dwarves on the rampage to reclaim their homeland. And, of course, we have Bilbo and his slow descent into succumbing to the charms of ‘the ring.’ If that wasn’t enough, the dastardly Smaug has the dulcet tones of one Benedict Cumberbatch.