The Hobbit: the Desolation of Smaug

The Hobbit: the Desolation of Smaug

Peter Jackson (2013)

154min
12 Certificate
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Review

Our Score
Martin Freeman soldiers on along a bumpy road as Bilbo Baggins, but is pushed even further into the background, in this second part of Peter Jackson's long drawn-out adaptation of the JRR Tolkien classic. Even vengeful dwarf Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage), who dominated the first film, is made to look one-dimensional on this leg of the journey. The attention to detail is once again all in the visual realisation of Middle-earth and some extraordinary action scenes, including a sticky situation with giant spiders and Bilbo's close encounter with the evil Dragon Smaug (boomingly voiced by Freeman's Sherlock co-star Benedict Cumberbatch). And, thankfully, Jackson has toned down the Day-Glo brightness of the first instalment for a softer, more traditional storybook aesthetic. Evangeline Lilly is a welcome addition to the story as elvish warrior Tauriel, who brings some much needed heart and urgency to the story, caught between a brooding Legolas (Orlando Bloom, returning on good form) and flirty dwarf Kili (Poldark's Aidan Turner). But the dramatic tension comes in fits and starts, and for that reason the film can be a frustrating watch, although Jackson does succeed in building anticipation for the final chapter.

Summary

The party of dwarves and their hobbit ally continue the quest to reclaim their lost kingdom, journeying through the forest home of ancestral enemy the elves and finally facing the dragon that drove them from their home. Meanwhile, Gandalf the wizard investigates the rise of a mysterious dark power. Part two of Peter Jackson's fantasy adventure trilogy based on JRR Tolkien's novel, starring Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage and Orlando Bloom.

Cast & Crew

Bilbo Baggins Martin Freeman
Gandalf Ian McKellen
Thorin Oakenshield Richard Armitage
Legolas Orlando Bloom
Bard/Girion Luke Evans
Thranduil Lee Pace
Kili Aidan Turner
Tauriel Evangeline Lilly
Balin Ken Stott
Smaug/Necromancer Benedict Cumberbatch
Director Peter Jackson
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: Warner BrosGuidance: Violence. Available on: DVD and Blu-rayReleased on: 13 Dec 2013
Drama