Review by Galen Garner
The Hobbit - The Desolation of Smaug was brilliant! I do not mean that it was the best movie of the year even though it probably is. I simply mean that it made me a smarter person. The word brilliant is often used out of context and should only be used in rare circumstances to glorify something above all other things in its genre. Therefore, I will say it again. The Hobbit - The Desolation is a brilliant movie!
The movie starts with Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), Gandolf (Ian McKellen) and the dwarves on the edges of Mirkwood Forest with a herd of crazed orcs tailing them. They are forced to seek refuge among the likes of the skinchanger, Beorn (Mikael Persbrandt). He provides them with supplies and words of wisdom before they enter the depths of Mirkwood and encounter the elves that dwell in the forest. The movie follows the storyline of the book to this point, but it is when Bilbo and the dwarves meet the Woodland Elves that the story really becomes a masterpiece of its own. I do not wish to give the entire plot of the movie in this review, but key in on certain great performances by the stellar cast of this movie.
Jackson’s version of the Hobbit brings LOTR favorite Orlando Bloom back to the screen as Legolas and introduces Evangeline Lilly as Tauriel. Her character is not in the book, but adds great depth to Jackson’s story. Legolas and Tauriel are the action of this second movie. In the first Hobbit movie, the dwarves provide plenty of battle scenes to keep the audience aroused. Part Two belongs to these two characters as they slide, spin, and flip through the air while raining arrows and throwing dagger blows at their foes.
The most important part of this movie in my opinion and the best performance was quite simply Smaug (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch). The gnarly, deep voice of Smaug billowed shivers up and down my spine throughout the entire time the dragon was on the screen. The CG for Smaug was incredible and the interactions between Bilbo were priceless. If there was ever a fault with this movie or the previous, it was rectified with every second the dragon was present. The greatest lines of the entire movie come with only seconds left in the film from the dragon when he belts out, “I am fire! I am death!”
The performance of the entire cast in this movie was paramount with the slight exception of Radagast. I still can not for the life of me figure out how such a terrible character has such an important role in this version of the Hobbit. Without babbling in detail about every actor in the movie, I will give my last gold stars to Ian McKellan. The dude is 74 years old and manages to still have everything that it takes to perform as the old, yet spry wizard. I greatly look forward to the conclusion next Christmas because I know that Gandalf will be a major part throughout the entire movie. His side journeys in this movie are really great and dark as he pursues the Necromancer.
A question that always arises with movies that are made from books is the consistence between the two. If you are looking for a book movie version of The Hobbit then you should probably watch the cartoon version from the 70s. Peter Jackson does not provide that for you in his installments. He provides action and beautiful visual effects sequences where Tolkien provides long sections of dialogue and often the characters remain stationary in one location for long periods of time. Am I against Tolkien? No! I just think that Jackson has done what is best to create The Hobbit into a movie worthy of being watched.
This cinematic masterpiece of 2013 is quite possibly the greatest adventure movie brought to the silver screen in years. It would be shameful to not even hold it to Empire Strikes Back or LOTR: Return of the King status. I have made this statement over the last few days to friends and gotten multiple exclamation of - “You’re crazy!” and “Your head is screwed on backwards!” The fact is that I am right and when you see the Academy pass by The Hobbit for awards remember that it did get a “BAG IT” from the staff at Bag and Bored!
Go see this movie! It will be well worth your time and if you want to splurge then go see it in IMAX and get yourself one of those big old frosty drinks you like. Until next time, have a great Christmas season!
Follow Galen Garner on Twitter: @bamaredsox