The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
After the mixed reviews of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Peter Jackson seems to have taken the trilogy in a different direction. The vastly increased levels of action and the lessened comedic element within The Desolation of Smaug result in a film with a very different feel. The impressive action sequences are strung together with expositional sections of dialogue which take place instead of the stretches of witty and moving script seen in previous films.
The constant high level of peril, provided largely by Azog the Defiler’s pursuit, in The Desolation of Smaug leaves little room for the stillness that created pace and breathing space for the audience in its predecessors. The film feels very much like the middle section of a trilogy in that the audience join the action mid-plot and the film ends on a cliffhanger. This is of course a difficult phenomenon to avoid, however in comparison to its midsection counterpart, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, The Desolation of Smaug seems a lot more incomplete as a standalone film.
The acting is as consistent as it was in An Unexpected Journey, the main difference being that Martin Freeman seems to have less room to develop Bilbo Baggins’ character to the extent he is obviously capable of. Benedict Cumberbatch’s voice as Smaug the dragon works brilliantly, as did Stephen Fry’s cameo as the loathsome Master of Laketown. The changing atmosphere as the dwarves make their journey through different settings, the forest in particular, was altered with skill and subtlety, as is to the credit of the franchise in general.
If judged on its own merit, this film falls short of the others in its family. However, as part of a stunning film franchise it carries the torch and is likely to be highly enjoyable to the majority of those who choose to watch it.
Watch the trailer for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug here: