The Hobbit - The Desolation of Smaug (2013): Martin Freeman, Orlando Bloom, Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving, Elijah Wood, Sir Ian McKellan - *** 1/2
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug picks up where The Hobbit: The Unexpected Journey left off. It is the second in The Hobbit trilogy, by J.R.R. Tolkien and is an edge of your seat three hour seat adventure from start to finish. Once again, the story follows Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) and Gandalf the Grey (Sir Ian McKellan) along with the thirteen Dwarves, led by Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage), future King, on a quest to retake the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from Smaug. Smaug is the fiery and vile dragon residing inside Erebor's Lonely Mountain under a pile of shimmering golden treasure. Thorin desires the Arkenstone, lost treasure, and Gandalf decides that Bilbo would make the perfect burglar to recover the jewel, which leads the traveling good guy group on a mission to enter Erebor's Lonely Mountain find the stone and reclaim the Dwarves land from Smaug.
The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings fans will appreciate this release. Peter Jackson has done it again by creating a visually stunning and action packed masterpiece with a formidable cast and well written story infused script. Desolation is vastly more enjoyable and entertaining than Unexpected. Additionally, Orlando Bloom returns as Prince Legolas, and Evangeline Lilly plays Captain of the Guard, Tauriel, which is a new character to the saga. The Orcs hunting down the Dwarves are the bad guys and the Wood-Elves, Bloom and Lilly are in-between the good and the bad. And, of course, Bilbo has The Ring, which makes him invisible at times when wearing the tainted jewel. This scene between Gandalf and Bilbo sets the tone for the entire film:
- Gandalf: "What did you find?"
- Bilbo hesitates and thinks about telling Gandalf - changes his mind and says, "My courage"
- Gandalf says with fervor and knowing this isn't true "Good, You will Need it!"
And, need it he does! Between the starving huge black and terrifying spiders flying all over the screen, the barrel ride down the falls with arrows flinging, the ghoulish Orcs and the finale of the psycho and violent dragon, Smaug, (Benedict Cumberbatch) with a Jeremy Iron's voice movie goers will be kept on their heels for the entire ride. Afterwards, applause filled the audience and this movie fan was ready for more. The last installment will be released sometime next year and will be eagerly anticipated. One thing is for sure - good always prevails. Relish this energetic and heart racing epic tale.
Note: The Hobbit: The Unexpected Journey grossed over $1B. The Hobbit: the Desolation of Smaug is on the same track. It is firmly clear that movie fanatics desire a good story which is visually believable with superior acting and chemistry. With the end goal of being entertained rather than hearing a sermon. In 2013, Hollywood is finally getting the message.