Movie Review: The Hobbit- The Desolation of Smaug

Second part of trilogy releases; for fans of the fantasy saga, the unending journey goes on and on

Alden Dsilva December 14, 2013
  • Acting
  • Screenplay
  • Cinematography
  • Direction
  • Sound / Music


At the outset itself, this review might evoke imageries of a nerd sitting in the corner, writing fan mail to his favourite book writer- movie director duo, but that is precisely what “The Hobbit” and “Lord Of The Rings” do to you- they captivate your senses like an idea unwilling to submit to anything as “grander,” and make you travel the realms of time, space and imagination, every bloody time. In the absence of that, either reading the books or watching the movies can become quite wretched a chore, so gruesome a task. Hence, no spoilers of any sort; you gotta watch the movie: that’s for sure.

When Peter Jackson first decided to adapt JRR Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” into a trilogy of movies, not in his wildest dreams would he have realized what he getting his foot stuck into. From there on, the trilogy now complete, Jackson moved on to the only logical follow up to possibly the grandest fantasy-fiction of all time- a trilogy on the masterpiece’s prequel, “The Hobbit”, and with the second part of the movie series “The Desolation Of Smaug” releasing this week, without a doubt, the director’s mastery at  constructing and  reconstructing ideas lay shone.

The story of this chapter of the trilogy follows up on Bilbo Baggins and Thorin Oakenshield, joined by the dwarves of the seven dwarf families, and Gandalf in tow, making their ways to the Lonely Mountain, a land once richer than folklore could explain, which has now long been overrun by the mighty and fearsome dragon, Smaug.  While the dwarves seek to avenge the deaths and dispersal of the many tribes and families that once lived in the dwarf city of Erebor, what is also central to the storyline is Oakenshield’s ambition to get back what once was his family’s- the throne of Erebor. Add to that the intensity of the growing darkness in the West, a dark all-encompassing evil, especially supported by its armies of orcs and wargs, and it’s obvious that the quest for power is what this movie is mostly about.

Well, there are quite a few things that work in favour of this movie. While visually this movie seem every bit the dream and the nightmare the sceneries, the contrasts in colours and the music exude, what makes this movie a mini-masterpiece in itself is Jackson’s ability to stick as close to the book’s storyline as possible. It’s not often that one would say that about an onscreen adaptation, but that’s precisely what the director of the movie has managed- while the earlier movies have always celebrated the grandiose of every setting the characters find themselves in, even at the risk of chopping out scenes and characters, this particular cinematic experience is about rushing through the niceties of the visuals and laying more emphasis on the story itself. The result of such direction? You’re filled up with heap loads of information right from the second the movie begins, and by the fifteen minute mark, you are almost up to speed with what the entire plot of the trilogy is. Few, if any, directors have that to their credit, and for Jackson it is a definite feather in the cap. As an offshoot of the same, when the LOTR trilogy released, many complained of Tom Bombadil, an important character of the book being left out. With this movie, that problem lies corrected.

That being said, the visualization of every frame, the finesse with which every scene seems interwoven into the next is what makes watching a magnum opus like “The Desolation Of Smaug” every bit worth it, no matter how many times. The storyline, not surprisingly makes some grand additions in order to make it more adaptable to the screen, yet in no way does it hamper the flow of the movie.  While the special effects in the movie are as stunning as usual, even the acting and dialogue delivery are nothing short of brilliant, even if not a single dialogue in the movie is really outstanding.

The positives being said, the music in this movie is a little bit of a downer; the tracks don’t seem to have the same ferocity, or for that matter, even the same composure as that from earlier movies. Purists of the story might find little bits and pieces not connecting here and there, and the additions to story may seem unwarranted altogether. While this movie is fabulously made, Peter Jackson has a certain way with second movies in a trilogy. If the “Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers” is anything to go by, die-hard fans and audiences in general better watch; there is a storm of carnage and fantastical catharsis coming.



One Comment »

  1. RitikaNarayanan January 29, 2014 at 2:30 pm - Reply

    I firmly believe that J.R.R. Tolkein has been reincarnated as Peter Jackson. There is no other explanation, in my mind, for the awesome storytelling that remains so true to the original, and when bits are altered, by and large, they make the story all the more grand.
    DOS is simply proof of this! 😀

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