Though it still amazes me that they were able to get three films out of such a short book, it helps that they have added material so that this trilogy bridges into the Lord of The Rings. With that being said, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, a sequel to last year’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, has truly outdone its predecessor. The Desolation of Smaug picks up right where An Unexpected Journey left off, where we find the company still on the quest to reclaim the lost dwarven kingdom of Erebor. Now they must delve deeper into Middle Earth but the deeper they go the more foes they encounter.
Martin Freeman, as Bilbo Baggins, has such a sincere approach to the character and his own personal quest. It is an absolute delight to watch Bilbo come into his own as the journey becomes more serious. Far from the reserved hobbit from the Shire we met in the previous film, the audience sees him become an important asset to the quest. Richard Armitage, playing the companies’ leader, Thorin Oakenshield, is able to sustain being angry and serious throughout the film by conveying the emotional gravity that surrounds this quest for his home. There is a particular scene where the audience sees just how much Thorin has been holding inside when Thorin must confront Thrandruil, played dramatically by Lee Pace, the elvish king that turned away from aiding Thorin’s people.
Smaug the Terrible, the dragon that stole Erebor and all of its gold from Thorin’s family, is played by Benedict Cumberbatch. He not only provided his voice, but did Motion Capture therefore allowing him to move as the dragon would. There are glimpses of Cumberbatch mixed into this CGI creature that give it an especially sinister factor.
Now I will say that the Orcs and some of the fighting looked pretty … lame. I understand that some of the scenes would have been impossible to shoot with real actors but in a few of scenes they could have done the actual choreography and added some effects on top of that.
.From the magnificent motion capture dragon, Smaug to the emotional confrontation in Mirkwood, this film is a wonderful rollercoaster that Tolkien himself would be proud of.