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The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

J.R.R. Tolkien and Peter Jackson have made comfortable bedfellows.  Author and director of the ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy respectively, their talents have been hugely influential.  After nearly a decades’ absence, the series returned last year with the first instalment of ‘The Hobbit’. The prequel to the hit franchise, it garnered new fans.  ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’ continues to show Jackson’s creative story-telling skills with a truly epic production steeped in Tolkien’s wondrous universe.

 

Continuing on his quest to help free a kingdom from the wicked clutches of Smaug the Dragon, Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) feels uneasy.  Rocked by events which have made his journey difficult, he wonders if it is all worth it.  Wise wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) ensures him a smoother ride will transpire with the help of dwarf leader Thorin (Richard Armitage).  None can know what happens when they enter the forest of Mirkwood.  Old friends and new enemies surface challenging the heroes in unimaginable ways.

 

Faster paced with better characterisation, the second chapter of ‘The Hobbit’ enchants.  It’s a truly immersive world and one Peter Jackson clearly enjoys.  His vision in capturing every element of Tolkien’s universe results in spectacular imagery and amazingly rendered action sequences.  Unlike its predecessor, it allows time to discover more about the heroes and their various aims.  They don’t always agree which provides most of the fun with the performances complimenting the film’s high quality.

 

Matching the finely tuned action is the magnificent scenery.  No amount of CGI could make New Zealand’s terrain look any better with the landscape providing a great version of Middle-Earth.  That isn’t to denigrate the special effects as they are suitably dazzling.  The mix of drama, humour and thrills blend seamlessly by managing to rise above the visuals.  Whilst less complex than ‘Lord of the Rings’, ‘The Hobbit’s’ simple tale has some depth enabling audience engagement.

 

Despite having another long run-time, ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’ is consistently enjoyable.  Never wasting a moment, fans of Tolkien and Jackson should be pleased their reputations remain intact with the film showing more evidence of their creative skills.

 

Rating out of 10:  8

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