REVIEW: The Hobbit ‘The Desolation of Smaug'
Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) alongside 12 other dwarves, hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) and wizard Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen) continue their adventure to take back Erebor, aka The Lonely Mountain, from Smaug the dragon in the sequel to 2012's 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.'
Carrying on after the group exit the goblin tunnels, and Bilbo finds that special gold ring, 'The Desolation of Smaug' sees them fleeing from orcs and a giant bear before entering Mirkwood (minus Gandalf who has another quest to pursue).
In the forest, the band are promptly set upon by giant spiders and imprisoned by none other than Legolas (Orlando Bloom), his second-in-command Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly) and their party of wood-elves.
After a narrow escape (with a little help from the ring) the dwarves convince bowman Bard (Luke Evans) to smuggle them into Lake-town for supplies, knowing that they're running out of time to make it to the secret entrance of the mountain before it closes and their opportunity to reclaim their homeland is lost.
Meanwhile, Gandalf is facing his own problems in Dol Guldur where he faces off against the powerful Necromancer and his growing army of orcs after learning that the nine ring-wraiths have escaped their prison graves.
While the movie does diverge slightly from J. R. R. Tolkien's book 'The Hobbit,' it is the perfect prequel to director Peter Jackson's 'The Lord of the Rings' trilogy, continuing his legacy for amazing FX, cinematography and attention to detail.
Although not quite as long as the first movie, 'The Desolation of Smaug' packs in the action much better, keeping audiences glued to their seats for the entire 161 minutes.
Viewers will leave the cinema begging for an early release of the last film in the trilogy. Personally, we're just bummed that Jackson's masterpieces (and the world of Middle Earth) are coming to an end!
What we loved
WETA Workshop have done it again! Not only do the weapons, armour, props, costumes, prosthetics and makeup all look outstanding, they're also super realistic.
Benedict Cumberbatch as Smaug and the Necromancer he's badass.
The addition of Legolas and Tauriel. While he doesn't appear in 'The Hobbit' novel, and she was conceived just for the movie, their personalities both add something great to the storyline.
Humorous references to 'The Lord of the Rings,' because who doesn't like a sneaky tie-in?
Martin Freeman really brings Bilbo's personality and little quirks to life.
What we didn’t
At times, the CGI (Computer Generated Imagery) can take away from the storyline. This is most evident in the river scene when the dwarves and Bilbo are escaping from the elves.
Die-hard fans of the book may be upset by the changes in storyline.