The Le Teen Café Review Corner: The Desolation of Smaug

The Desolation of Smaug. I had been awaiting its release for a year or so, excited and a little bit scared. I booked my tickets in advance for Friday the 13th, which did result in some bad luck as the seats were terrible. However, that was pretty much forgotten once the film started. It launched straight into the plot, without any pointless, over-the-top scene setting. Everything included in the film was pretty much vital and I think it's unfair to say that Peter Jackson has dragged out the short book into three films because he has added so much more (the White Orc, The Necromancer, Tauriel, etc were not in the book itself.) It stays true to the plot of Tolkien's novel, as well as including additional ideas of his, and what Gandalf was occupied with whilst the quest took place. There was a lot more going on in The Desolation of Smaug as opposed to An Unexpected Journey which is understandable but some may argue that this film is better than the first because of the insane amount of action. It's difficult to compare but both films are most definitely not disappointing, possibly living up to the brilliance of The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

One of the main things I was concerned about was the animation and voicing of Smaug. It was something that would either make or break the film. However, he couldn't have been more glorious or terrifying. And he was portrayed pretty much perfectly by Benedict Cumberbach. His lair was equally impressive, in fact, it required all of the gold paint in New Zealand (plus more) to paint every gold coin on the set. This is actually believable when you see it for yourself, it's hard to take in. Anyway, unsurprisingly, the settings throughout the movie were beautiful. I can't cover everything in the film and comment on it as I cant stress this enough- SO MUCH HAPPENS. SO MUCH. Missing even two minutes of the film makes a huge difference. If you felt there was a lack of females in the previous film and the book, you will feel better after seeing this one. Not only are there more women, but there was more romance and the suggestion of a little love triangle (personally, I wasn't too bothered about this but I realize it might excite a lot of people). We also get do know the Dwarves a little bit better, Thorin and Kili in particular. Thorin's brave, stubborn and withdrawn character is captured well, and he barely differs from how he is described by Tolkien in the book. As for Kili, well i'm sure I speak for most people when I say he is my favourite dwarf. It's just impossible not to love him! Also, not forgetting Bilbo. Of course. In the book, he was shown as a fairly simple hobbit, whose adventurous side is brought to light as he is snatched out of his comfort zone. In the  movie, both movies in fact, Martin Freeman gives him something a little bit extra, an amusing awkward element which makes him arguably more interesting. There are no characters who could be faulted, we even got to see a different side to Legolas too (and it was damn good to see Orlando Bloom again). His character has always been a little bit of a mystery, even in LOTR, and in The Desolation of Smaug he is even more of a question mark. We are also introduced to Bard, an interesting, heroic bargeman. Again, there is much more focus on his actual character than there is in the book.

There are tonnes of scenes in this film that stand out. You are bound to be left with your mouth gaping at one point at least, or even a tear in your eye. Fights, romance, orcs, elves, surprises and witty remarks are all plentiful throughout the whole thing. And it ends perfectly, leaving you wanting more, I simply cannot wait to see what the next movie has in store for us. Peter Jackson is truly a genius and has managed to capture Tolkien's world flawlessly. My only concern with the film is the length (I reaaaally don't wanna fault it because it's a masterpiece). In all honesty, I think you'd have to already be a fan of LOTR or have at least seen the first movie in order to last through the whole two hours and forty minutes. But because I am horrendously in love with the whole franchise and the book, I freaking adored the whole thing. All of it. I was left speechless after experiencing a rainbow of emotions.

-Barista Ria-

Image: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug theatrical release poster (Warner Bros.)