• Original title: The Hobbit The Desolation of Smaug
• Year: 2013
• Directed by Peter Jackson
• Cast: Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Evangeline Lilly, Orlando Bloom, Luke Evans, Benedic Cumberbatch.
• Release Date (USA): 13 December, 2013 see more countries
First, a quick reminder, The Hobbit trilogy is not only based on the book The Hobbit but also on the Appendix of the book The Return of the King. ‘The Hobbit The Desolation of Smaug’ is the second movie of this trilogy, the first movie being ‘The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey’ and the last movie ‘The Hobbit There and Back Again’ which will be released Wednesday, December 17th 2014.
I have seen ‘The Hobbit The Desolation of Smaug’ twice. I have seen it twice in 3D ( normal 3D not 3D HFR ).
I loved the first Hobbit movie – ‘The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey’, it was wonderful and this second movie is even better. For me, The Hobbit movies and the Lord Of The Rings trilogy are true masterpieces. They are epic stories with strong characters and a rich and colorful universe full of magic. It also feels real. The story is not only here to make us dream, it is far more deeper – a reflection to our world and a world with characters to whom we can identify to.
The movie opens with a flashback scene where we discover the reason of this quest to Erebor and for our great surprise we return to the small town of Bree. It was an interesting flashback because we return to Bree and we also know why Gandalf The Grey is so much involved in this quest – he is the one who suggested Thorin Oakenshield to start this quest ! As we already knew in ‘The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey’ Gandalf was highly preoccupied by Smaug and now we know he is the one to be at the origins of the quest of “slaying a dragon and take back our homeland.” Following this interesting scene, we go back almost were we left in ‘The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey’ – Azog the Defiler and his orcs are still hunting Thorin and his company and we also meet Beorn the skin-changer. Beorn has is small time on screen both in his bear form and in his human form. The scene was interesting because we get to know a little bit of the skin-changer story and what Azog did to them.
The actors said about Peter Jackson directing these movies that he has everything in his head and I think we can feel it in his way of directing ‘The Hobbit The Desolation of Smaug'( and ‘The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey’ and the Lord of the Rings trilogy ). He is at 100% in these movies and that’s why they are so wonderful and wonderfully directed. Another great point with Peter Jackson is his cameos in these movies. In The Hobbit The Desolation of Smaug, he appears with a carrot in the opening scene of the movie, we cannot miss his cameo, he is just there in front of us.
As usual Howard Shore brought a beautiful music that fit with the Tolkien universe. His music transports us right into the Middle-Earth. I also loved the ending song “I See Fire” by Ed Sheeran, by far my second favorite song of the Middle-Earth movies, the first one being “Song of the Lonely Mountain” by Neil Finn. “I See Fire” concludes the movie in a wonderful way, the lyrics of the song truly connects with the movie and its ending cliffhanger. “I See Fire” also reuses some sentences from the movie like “If this is to end in fire then we shall all burn together.” previously said by Thorin during their encounter with Smaug.
The sets are wonderful as usual too. New Zealand is the perfect choice for the Middle-Earth, it has great nature that is breathtaking and fantastic huge landscape. We get to see a lot of places in this movie. We start with Bree then we go to Beorn’s place, Mirkwood, Rhudaur, Lake-Town and finally Erebor where we meet Smaug.
Mirkwood part of the movie is probably my favorite part of the movie. We start with the giant and ugly spider scene. I do not like spiders so this scene was not my favorite but I can say that I smiled when the dwarves and the elves killed the spiders. Legolas and Tauriel have a stunning entrance in the movie. They appear while they are killing spiders in a majestic way in the same majestic way Legolas killed the Uruk-Haï while descending the stairs on an Uruk-Haï shield during the Helm’s deep battle in ‘Lord of the Rings The Two Towers’. We get to see Thranduil’s palace in Mirkwood as the elves bring their prisoners, the dwarves to Thranduil. Thranduil’s Palace has some similarities with the Lothlorien ( / Lorien ) but this time it is inside not on the trees. It is also in Mirkwood that the kind of romance between Tauriel and Kili begins. Yes a dwarf falls in love with an elf ! This is not the first time that Kili appreciate an elf. In the extended edition of ‘The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey’, Kili finds beautiful a female elf who is in fact not a female but a male. There is some fun part in Mirkwood especially when Bilbo puts the dwarves in the barrels and stays alone in Thranduil’s Palace, this was a funny scene. We end our journey with the dwarves in Mirkwood with the barrel escape which is a scene full of action. I will talk more about this scene later. We come back later in Mirkwood with the Dol Guldur part. I will talk about Dol Guldur later.
The part in Rhudaur is an important part as Gandalf and Radasgat make a terrible discovery – the Nine Nazgûls have left their graves!
Lake-Town part is entertaining. Lake-Town is the poor man town that is just before the Desolation of Smaug. There are two funny moments that I enjoyed a lot. Legolas sees he bleeds from his nose after his fight with Bolg. Legolas bleeding ? I thought it would never happen to him ! It was so funny to see Legolas’s reaction. The other funny moment was when the dwarves enters Bard’s house by the toilets.
The costumes are beautiful. The design of the elves of Mirkwood reflects their personnality and their forest. I am also happy that they decided to change the deisgn of Bolg because this new final design of Bolg fits perfectly with the other orcs and mostly with his father the white orc of Gundabad – Azog. Orcs are not really characters that are appreciate ( maybe because they are villains ) but I have to admit that the orcs of The Hobbit are imposing, frightening and stunning, Azog and Bolg in particular, they are big villains.
The story is well-written balanced with fight scenes and dialogues . The dialogues are also well-written with sentences that stay in my mind like “Such is the nature of evil. In time all foul things come forth.” or “I am fire, I am … death.” or “If this is to end in fire then we shall all burn together.” … it feels like it was poetry in my head.
I want to talk about some characters specifically now.
The character of Tauriel which is a new character created by Peter Jackson and his team for The Hobbit. This character is well-written and is a great new addition to the Middle-Earth universe. It is the female version of Legolas, a deadly elf warrior. Tauriel also has to deal with big issues. She decides to go after the dwarves whereas she shoudn’t do as Thranduil does not want anyone to get out of his palace. There is also her affection for Legolas and this kind of romance with Kili who is a dwarf. Evangeline Lilly ( who plays Tauriel ) delivers a powerful performance as long as the other actors for their respective characters. There are not really big roles for female characters in Tolkien’s work so it was a good idea to have Tauriel as a prominent character of the movie.
Smaug is astonishing. The creative team has made a wonderful job on the design of Smaug, he is imposing and frightening, they pictured Smaug like I imagined him – a giant frightening dragon. Benedic Cumberbatch who does Smaug’s voice also did a great job – Smaug’s voice is as frightening as he looks. Concerning Smaug scenes, I thought we would only see him at the end but I was wrong, we have a lot of time with Smaug and it is great because I like this character a lot for the reasons I have just said.
Thranduil is an elf but like the elves of Mirkwood, they are different from the other elves we previously met. Thranduil is the elf we love to hate – he cares only about himself and … himself, he is pretentious and snob, boastful. He could have been a man and not an elf ! Lee Pace brings to the screen with success this diabolic elf.
We have two important characters evolving on a darker path. These two characters are Thorin Oakenshield played by Richard Armitage and Bilbo Baggins played by Martin Freeman. Thorin Oakenshield becomes more and more dark as we approach Erebor. He is attracted by the gold of Erebor and when the company enters Erebor he is not ready to leave Erebor. The scene where Thorin stops Bilbo in Erebor, we feel this evil that grows inside Thorin. He is becoming crazy just like his ancestors. Bilbo Baggins is also absorbed by something and this thing is the Ring. He is ready to kill someone to keep his ring, we can see the beginning of his madness when he kills the strange creature in Mirkwood to take back the ring and then he says “It’s mine”. It is not his ring, he stole it.
I read The Hobbit so I know how it ends but adding a character like Tauriel and adding other things like Legolas ( who is not in The Hobbit book ), putting Azog there, changing some stuff, gives more suspense, more mysteries to the story because we do not know Tauriel’s fate … this is one of the thing I love in these movies. Peter Jackson does not only tells what happen in the books but he adds something, he does not bring a simply movie true to the book, he does much more than that. For example, Peter Jackson transformed the barrel escape scene in a skirmish between the elves of Mirkwood, the dwarves and the orcs lead by Bolg, son of Azog. This little skirmish is awesome, we move with the camera in this escape scenes as orcs die against the elves and the epic Bombur who crushes orcs in his passage. This scene is one of my favorite. Another of my favorite scenes in the movie is Gandalf The Grey in Dol Guldur facing the Necromancer who is Sauron and discovering the legions of orcs lead by Azog the Defiler. This fight between Gandalf and Sauron is visually epic. This kind of black smoke that is Sauron reminds me a little a bit the Death Eaters during the battle of ‘Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix’. Another thing also reminds me Harry Potter is when Gandalf fights Sauron, it looks like he is doing a Patronus.
The movie ends with a cliffhanger which is Smaug heading for Laketown saying “I am fire, I am … death.” and Bilbo Baggins outside Erebor watching him and saying “What have we done !” Black screen – and the song “I See Fire” by Ed Sheeran with the ending credits. It is like a cliffhanger of a season finale of a TV show but this time you are going to wait one year to see what is going to happen next. I like the choice of this kind of cliffhanger because it makes people talk about it for months and also you can’t wait to see what is going to happen next.
Now a small gallery of pictures of the movie:
And the trailer of the movie :