The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Posted 3 years ago by myetvmedia

While “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” Jackson’s first Hobbit film, may have taken flack for its drawn out and what I see as wonderful pacing, the sequel will surely appease 90 percent of its audience: the running time is replete with moment to moment action. In the previous iteration of this franchise, the motivations of Bilbo (Martin Freeman), Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and Thorin (Richard Armitage) were thoroughly developed. In this new turn, The Desolation Of Smaug explores the motivations of the players of Middle-Earth and moves us closer to the central conflict with the powers of good and evil. In many ways, The Desolation of Smaug is both a composite action piece bringing the grist and meat of adventure in the Tolkien novel and the denouement of the rising conflict of its third act: The Battle of The Five Armies that will inevitably bring the third film closer in tone and feel to the war story of The Lord of the Rings.

Some might have imagined it but for many the speculation was indeed intriguing or even frightening as to how director Peter Jackson would draw upon the novel to fuel the plot of the second film of the Hobbit trilogy. I admit that two films seemed entirely possible to me here with the action leading to the Lonely Mountain and the encounters with the dragon leading to the conclusion in The Battle of The Five Armies. A third film now makes sense. Much of the middle portion of the novel, The Hobbit deals with set piece adventure sequences. While these elements are all present in The Desolation Of Smaug, Jackson has expanded the middle portion of the story in the novel to include far more creative license in terms of content than we have ever seen from the series as a whole. The Desolation of Smaug involves characters and sequences never described in the novel, woven so seamlessly into the narrative only the most astute of Tolkien fandom will catch Jackson’s interpolation. While the majority of the new content focuses on characters new to the story and the political climate of new locales such as the Wood Elf Kingdom and the amazing Laketown, the film does take amiable time to develop Bilbo, Gandalf and Thorin, who are not forgotten as the story’s anchors.

Possibly the most divergent new storyline is that of Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly), a new elf character introduced as both a heroic warrior on par with Legolas (Orlando Bloom), and a love interest for both Kili (Aidan Turner) the dwarf and Legolas himself. While this element has been so far the most critiqued of the new film, as an ardent fan of Tolkien, I cannot help but feel that thematically it is exactly the type of story he himself would have told. The notion of inter ethnic and race relationships (mortals and immortals) has permeated his works from the ever present drama with (Viggo Mortensen) Aragorn, (Liv Tyler) Arwen and (John Callen) Oin to (Mikael Persbrandt) Beren and Luthien. The stakes are high and are presented with the same fairy tale-esque romance that manages to provide war stories like The Lord of the Rings, and undoubtedly the battles in the next film in the franchise, with a sense of hope. I found the most startling change involved the dragon. While it is presented faithfully as far as Bilbo is concerned, an entirely new action sequence involving the dwarves was added to the plot. While its inclusion is sensible in some regards (as the dwarves in the novel basically sit around and do nothing as far as the dragon is concerned) and the dragon has existed as a manifestation of the dwarves plight, it will be interesting to see how this change will affect future plot lines. Especially since Jackson’s additions to this point mark the first time that a key element of the story has changed altogether.

As a fanatical fan of the first of the hobbit film trilogy “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”, I cannot truly say I enjoyed the sequel more, but I can say that it certainly meets its high level of quality and has left me eagerly anticipating the third and final instalment of The Hobbit. Jackson has skillfully used stories from J.R.R. Tolkien’s appendices to The Lord of The Rings and the Silmarillion that fill in the 60 years between The Hobbit, Tolkien’s original novel and his trilogy LOTR, to fill in more of the story of Middle-Earth. In doing so Jackson has created a Hobbit Trilogy that is totally in keeping with the Tolkien world. If you see one film this holiday season, The Hobbit:The Desolation of Smaug will be a damn fine choice.


Max Romano
Director Electronic Gaming

 

Notes:

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Writing Credits: “The Hobbit” novel J.R.R. Tolkien Screenplay: Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson & Guillermo del Toro

Main Characters:
Ian McKellen Gandalf
Martin Freeman Bilbo
Richard Armitage Thorin
Orlando Bloom Legolas
Cate Blanchett Galadriel
Benedict Cumberbatch Smaug/Necromancer
Stephen Fry Master of Laketown
Evangelina Lilly Tauriel
Orlando Bloom Legolas

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