The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug was directed by Peter Jackson based on a script he helped to write with others including Guillermo Del Toro. It’s the follow up to The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012) and is part of my catch-up weekend in preparation for the release of the final film in the trilogy due out late in the year.
The film picks up the quest to return the dwarves to their homeland Erebor and take it back from the evil dragon Smaug. Alongside this main narrative there is a growing threat from a mysterious menacing dark threat who commands the Orc hoards.
If you read my review of the predecessor I’m not a huge fan of these films and the Unexpected Journey was ridiculously bloated. It might be great for fans of the book but as a movie going experience it didn’t work and the first two films could probably be merged into one. Having seen this film now I stand by that judgement. The quest to Erebor and the showdown with the dragon is a neat little package – you can still have a film that lasts the best part of three hours but it goes somewhere and you have a neat resolution and a precursor to the next film.
In this film we have the usual lots of stuff happening with lots of new characters being thrown into the melting pot. The upside is that the stuff has a much faster pace to it and as a result the film is far more watchable. It’s still average fare but it’s more of a three out of five as opposed to a two out of five experience. The barrels in the river scene is fun although it does feel like a computer game much like the end scenes in Erebor. That being said the dragon is yet to be slayed by the end of film which is badly cut and comes to an abrupt unsatisfying end.
I can’t get excited by this film. I’ll be in line to see the final installment as part of my duties as an enthusiastic film review but I won’t be expecting any more than a solid workmanlike popcorn flick when it opens.