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“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” – Review (POSITIVE)

December 18, 2013

Screen shot 2013-12-18 at 6.22.20 PM“The Godfather Part II”“Empire Strikes Back”“The Dark Knight”, all these films are stupendous pieces of cinema, they’re all the middle parts to a trilogy. What is it about middle films of a trilogy that make them the best? The stakes are raised? It’s the darkest hour, when the third may be the characters finest hour.

[George] Lucas said that the reason why “Temple” “Empire” were dark films was because the leads needed to go down into the pits of their own internal darkness, so they can climb back into the light by the rousing third part. Essentially that’s what “Smaug” is doing here. Now, is it fair to compare this movie to those previous films, more so no, but those films earned that recognition with age.

We’re given a nice flashback in the beginning, where Thorin (Richard Armitage) and Gandalf (Ian McKellen) meet for the first time in the famous Prancing Pony. It’s their that Gandalf convince Thorin that a burglar is necessary to retrieve the Arkenstone, which will unite the lost dwarf armies.

Flash forward several months later, we pick up where the last film left off, Bilbo (Martin Freeman) and Thorin’s company escape the clutches of the White Orc and continue their trek to the Lonely Mountain. One their way, they venture into dark forests, verse giant spiders & woodlin elves, seek help from the world of man, and finally facing Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch), but like any second part to a three part tale, the stakes are high, and a heart-stopping cliffhanger closes in.

“An Unexpected Journey” certainly didn’t start this new trilogy off to a good start, many found that films pacing to be tiresome, and had many questioning why it was necessary to break this book into three parts. However, now that, again I hate to repeat myself, that the stakes are raised, we as an audience have something to invest and care about again. The action is raised, the world of Tolkien’s middle earth is expanded upon, leading us into a fluent bridge into Jackson’s famous “LOTR” trilogy.

Screen shot 2013-12-18 at 6.22.13 PMI decided to spare myself of the horror that is 48HFR, the first time around was simply unwatchable, but another issue arose in the camera work of this film. There’s a particular sequence where Bilbo and the dwarves sail down a rapid river of death in a bunch of barrel’s, there’s a few POV shots clearly done on the GoPro cameras that are so horrendous to view, it almost makes me want to slap sense into PJ, but what good will that do?

“The Desolation of Smaug” is a worthy continuation in a beloved world, for fantasy/Tolkien nerds alike. We’re given a cliffhanger that will lure in many movie goers wanting more and having them count down the days till the final chapter, thus completing this epic middle earth saga. Oh, and before I forget, Benedict Cumberbatch KILLED it as Smaug, if anything, I recommend this film merely on his performance alone.

GRADE: A-

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