Written by Mallory Delchamp
Just like any socially awkward nerd in high school, I was an embarrassingly obsessive Lord of the Rings fan. With that being said, I never saw the original films in the theater, so the minute I learned that Peter Jackson was making plans to release The Hobbit I decided to be the first in line for the midnight premiere. Unfortunately, I found myself disappointed with last year’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
While it was a great film, An Unexpected Journey just didn’t have the magic that the Lord of the Rings films did. Personally, I believe Jackson’s cinematic take on what is arguably one of the greatest fantasy series of all-time, are three of cinema’s greatest films. While some viewers may argue that the films are too slow or too long, when you sit down and watch The Lord of the Rings you feel as if you are on the journey with Frodo Baggins and at the conclusion of The Return of the King you honestly feel as though you have accomplished something. Peter Jackson excels at creating this fictional yet believable world of Middle Earth and he brings it to life in the most beautiful of ways.
Now as I said, the first installment of The Hobbit was a wildly entertaining movie. It had all of the components of The Lord of the Rings; costumes, a fantastic score, special effects, beautiful scenery, etc. However, as an unabashed Tolkien fan I could tell that Jackson and team did not put as much heart into The Hobbit as they did with the previous Oscar-winning films released several years ago.
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is a far better film. There were times when I almost felt as though I was watching The Fellowship of the Ring. The film picks up right where The Hobbit left off. Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), Gandalf (Sir Ian McKellen), and a small army of dwarves continue on their quest to the North Mountain to obtain a jewel that was stolen from Thorin Oakenshield (the surprisingly handsome, Richard Armitage). As with any good fantasy epic, Bilbo and his peers must face several life threatening obstacles along their journey. From giant spiders to wood elves, to a fire-breathing dragon (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch), Bilbo must learn to face his fears in order to complete his journey.
Several of the well-known characters from The Lord of the Rings make an appearance in The Hobbit. Ian McKellan reprises his role as the wise wizard, Gandalf, Orlando Bloom (looking younger than ever) stars as the elven prince, Legolas Greenleaf, and Cate Blanchett makes a cameo as her Rings character, Galadriel.
The Desolation of Smaug also successfully manages to keep its viewers quivering in anticipation with several cliffhanging moments throughout the two hour and forty minute long cinematic journey. The film’s final moment (of course) prepares us for next year’s third installment of the series.
Bottom line: Tolkien fans and nerdy film-goers will easily sink their teeth into this magnificent take on one of J.R.R. Tolkien’s most famous works. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is no Rings. But, who says you can’t just make a day of it and rush home and pop in The Lord of the Rings into your DVD player to continue your adventure through Middle Earth?