Sunday 18 May 2014

Review: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)

Each Christmas, our family make a visit to the Giant Screen in Birmingham to watch a film together. It started with The Polar Express back in 2004, and has been a tradition ever since. In 2012 I groaned when it was decided that we would see The Hobbit. I sat through the first Lord of the Rings film with a grudge one Boxing Day years ago and thought it was just too long.  Personally, I enjoyed the Lord of the Rings films, this is not to suggest that I understood them.  I still don't know most of the names and who they relate to.  If I talk about a character in LOTR, unless it's Frodo or Legolas, I have to use the Actors name or I have no hope!! So I didn't hold out much hope for understanding the Hobbit films...but I did!!

Who knew that in December last year I would be pracically bouncing up the steps to see The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug?

I really enjoyed the first Hobbit film. It should have been obvious, I love my fantasy stories and still have World of Warcraft urges every now and again, and I have made a promise to myself to watch the Lord of the Rings films because I know I should love them.  See above.

Seeing a film at the cinema with family or friends is an experience I love, but throw in some festivities too and I'm in my element. The Hobbit will now always make me feel Christmassy and we'll be seeing The War of Five Armies this year too.

The second film continues the dwarves journey with Bilbo and Gandalf to take back the lost city of Erebor, which is currently occupied by the deadly dragon Smaug. Admittedly, I thought this film started pretty slow until it got to the spider scene in the forest. From there on the pacing was perfect and I didn't notice the time at all, but the first half hour dragged a bit. Funnily enough, the first time I saw this at the cinema, I fell asleep in the first 5 minutes until that scene and then I was wide awake for the whole film!!

Most importantly, The Hobbit tells the story of an adventure on a truly epic scale, with interesting characters throughout. What I wasn't expecting were some truly brilliant laugh out loud scenes. This one being my absolute favourite:

Boy though, they really do make you wait for the reveal of Smaug! By far the best part of the whole film. I know, I know, you don't have to remind me who voices him! Do you know he also did the motion capture?

Terrifying right?!

So my favourite part, the return of Legolas (Orlando Bloom), I have been having withdrawals since the LOTR trilogy finished.  And I wasn't disappointed:

And this is the reason why I loved him in the first place, this is my favourite scene from all the LOTR films, he is just so badass!!

So, there I am sooo excited about seeing Legolas in all his amazingness again and this bloke turns up on screen and it's a whole new level of swoon...

Sorry, back to the actual film and less about the (beautiful) cast! It's fair to say, I still get confused quite easily with these types of films, I never quite know who is on whose side and what the end game is but that never takes away from the enjoyment.  I will give it to Allie (and her mild obsession with Benedict Cumberbatch) Smaug was amazing, the graphics, the movements and the voice combined made for a truly epic visual delight.  Many of the characters aren't used enough, most of the dwarves aren't brought the forefront and therefore are overlooked where they could be key assets to the dark comedy that runs through The Hobbit films.  The biggest fault with this film, is not in the filming, it's the fact that there is no beginning and there certainly isn't an end.  Fans who haven't read the book will get a shock when it ends and be itching for more...

Anyway, I really enjoyed the second installment of the series and I'm super excited to see the third and last part this Christmas.

Thoroughly enjoyable, easier to understand that LOTR, maybe though because my Dad read the book to me as a child.  Limited character development and wasted dwarves don't stop me from wanting to see this one again.

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