2010's, Aidan Turner, Benedict Cumberbatch, Dean O'Gorman, Evangeline Lilly, Fantasy, Ian McKellen, James Nesbitt, Ken Stott, Lee Pace, Luke Evans, Martin Freeman, Orlando Bloom, Peter Jackson, Richard Armitage, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
- Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins
- Ian McKellen as Gandalf
- Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield
- Benedict Cumberbatch as Smaug
- Evangeline Lilly as Tauriel
- Luke Evans as Bard
- James Nesbitt as Bofur
- Ken Stott as Balin
- Aidan Turner as Kíli
- Dean O’Gorman as Fíli
- Lee Pace as Thranduil
- Orlando Bloom as Legolas
The Desolation of Smaug presents the second entry into the Hobbit trilogy and it emerges as a much more confident and enjoyable film than An Unexpected Journey thanks to some cracking visuals, good cast and a genuine sense of tense excitement running through it. If it is fantasy and adventure you crave, The Desolation of Smaug is the answer.
We catch up with Bilbo, Thorin, Gandalf and the band of dwarves as they flee from by the vicious orcs. They find refuge in the home of a skin changer Beorn, before moving on in their journey to reclaim The Lonely Mountain from fire-breathing dragon Smaug. Gandalf for a while leaves the group as he tries to find out more about a brewing sense of evil elsewhere in Middle Earth. Continuing on, the more confident Bilbo comes to see that the ring he found in the goblin cave may be able to help in some ways but also corrupt in others that he can’t possibly imagine. Coming across the woodland elves, headed by the cold Thranduil and also consisting of his son Legolas and Tauriel, a she elf with a fierce sense of defiance, they are captured and questioned on the nature of their quest. Thranduil offers Thorin a deal, but the vengeful and headstrong dwarf king who resents the elves refuses it. After escaping the woods, the company travel far and wide, encountering various creatures such as enormous spiders, before eventually being smuggled into Lake Town by the mysterious Bard. A growing sense of immense danger begins to linger as they get ever closer to the mountain and the task at hand becomes perilous in every single way as war starts to brew. When they reach the mountain, it is no simple task of reclaiming the kingdom and there is no way that the cunning Smaug is going to let his iron grip of the place go to anyone. Can Bilbo and the dwarves reclaim what is theirs before all hell breaks loose?
Straight off the bat, The Desolation of Smaug has an immediacy that thrusts you into the adventure at hand and flows very well, unlike the predecessor that took a while to get going. Peter Jackson wonderfully constructs this tale of dangerous peril and determined quests to spectacular fashion and meticulous skill. Nervous tension is generated in some thrilling set pieces that really make you jump at times and wonder how the group is going to hack their way out of oncoming trouble. Arresting locations are a plenty, filled with beauty and The pace is well-handled and only drags on the rare occasion, making the film all the more enjoyable as we are swept into a world of fantasy. And thankfully there isn’t an overuse of CGI, which seemed to be the case during the first installment. Out of the effects used to create the creatures of Middle Earth, Smaug is one of the most majestic and technically well designed ones that really lingers in the memory for its visual power. Swathed in gold treasures, massive in movements and enormous in size, he is a dragon you won’t forget. A stirring score from Howard Shore further propels the film into magical enchantment and otherworldly brilliance.
Martin Freeman impresses once more as Bilbo, who has grown into a stronger character than before. I liked the way he portrayed Bilbo’s fascination with the ring and the way he sees that it does have a side to it that is very dark and powerful. He also nails the curiosity and humour of Bilbo very well. Ian McKellen may have had less scree time in this movie, but he still owns the part of Gandalf through his clear professionalism and dedication to the character. Richard Armitage gives Thorin a hotheaded temper, somewhat self-centered goal but also a certain desperation to take back his home that really fleshes out the character of Thorin. Making a huge impact on the film is Benedict Cumberbatch, who supplies the voice for the almighty Smaug. Letting his voice boom and echo, he lends the creature a fear-inducing quality and sense of dark things to come. The beautiful Evangeline Lilly makes her mark on the series portraying the elf Tauriel, who is a dab hand at doing battle with enemies and not one for following the rules of her king. I liked her character and thought that the attraction between her and Kíli was a nice touch, adding depth to both characters and making Aidan Turner’s Kíli even more likable. Luke Evans made for great casting as the mysterious Bard, who knows a lot more about the quest and the history of it that he lets on to the travelling adventurers. James Nesbitt, Ken Stott and Luke O’Gorman continue to shine as the dwarves that stand out of the group. Lee Pace, with his fixed gaze and authoritative demeanor, is excellent as the elf king Thranduil who isn’t really interested in helping anyone and just wants to sit in his ivory tower away from trouble. It was a good touch bringing skilled archer Legolas back and Orlando Bloom is great as he was in the Lord of the Rings movies.
The Desolation of Smaug is a definite step up from An Unexpected Journey and leaves us wanting more and excited for the final chapter.