Despite its lengthy run time of nearly three hours, “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” manages to keep viewers engaged with its fast pace, constant action, and dazzling special effects.
But because not a minute of this lengthy film is wasted on catching up the audience, I would strongly advise moviegoers to watch the first movie, “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” before seeing this one. It will spare you from endless confusion, trust me.
The second installment of the Hobbit trilogy, “The Desolation of Smaug” picks up immediately after where the first left off, with Gandalf, the wise and powerful wizard, leading the group of dwarves (plus one particularly clever hobbit named Bilbo Baggins) away from the bloodthirsty Orc king Azog.
The action increases steadily from there with the plot following among the same lines as the book.
The plot is centered around the group of dwarves trying to reclaim their homeland Erebor, which was taken by the fire-breathing dragon Smaug. Bilbo tags along for his “expertise” as a burglar.
Unfortunately, their home is located in a very remote mountain, and thus the group is forced to do some serious walking. Despite how pretty the special effects make everything look, the walking does get boring.
However, Director Peter Jackson breaks it up with intense combat sequences between elves, orcs, and spiders, all of which are slowly becoming intertwined in the struggle to reclaim Erebor due to the incentive that comes with it (think endless amounts of gold).
Jackson also shows more on Gandalf’s struggle against the strange Necromancer located in the abandoned fortress of Dol Guldur.
“Desolation” also puts more emphasis on developing the stories of its dwarves, and I believe it’s time well spent.
The increased dialogue between the dwarves and other characters is funny and adds a sense of depth that was missing from the first. There’s also a bit of dwarf-elf romance for any of you soft hearts out there.
However, “Desolation” doesn’t truly shine until the last 45 minutes of the film.
Benedict Cumberbatch does a spectacular job voicing Smaug, who is brought to life by some stunning visual effects.
Martin Freeman also does an excellent job bringing Bilbo Baggins to life, as we see the Hobbit become more courageous and adventurous.
The movie ends on the perfect note, with the group centered directly in the path of the coming storms of war.
“The Desolation of Smaug” is no way feels like a filler and strongly holds its own while setting the stage for the final installment. It’s a must-see for fans of the first film—and fantasy lovers in general.