Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

 Hobbit (2)
  • Released Internationally on 11/12/13
  • Released in Malta by KRS on 13/12/13
Review (12/12/13)

3-word review: Necessary, uninspired viewing.

It’s 2013, and this second part of the Hobbit is released worldwide on the 13th of December, and once again features a rowdy company of 13 dwarves. So here’s 13 reasons why you should watch it, and, maybe more convincingly, 13 reasons why you shouldn’t.

13 reasons why you should watch ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’.

  1. It’s more entertaining than the rather dull first instalment.
  2. It’s slightly shorter, too.
  3. It starts off with a prologue sequence in Bree, which might bring you fond memories of The Fellowship of the Ring, as it is intended to.
  4. Martin Freeman is once again fun to watch as Bilbo, and Ian McKellen is his usual classy self as Gandalf.
  5. The first half is quite fast-paced and features a couple of interesting and fresh new characters.
  6. There’s an exciting and well-choreographed action sequence involving lots of barrels and lots of dwarves, which stands out in the book and is brought vividly to life here.
  7. There’s finally one place that looks, sounds and feels completely new - a picturesque town on a lake, which is probably the first part of the Hobbit trilogy not to look like a recycled Lord of the Rings set.
  8. The leader of said town is portrayed by Stephen Fry.
  9. The magical sense of occasion that permeated throughout the Lord of the Rings trilogy finally returns once the company reaches their destination and knocks on the door of Smaug the dragon.
  10. Smaug himself looks quite stunning (albeit similar to most other dragons we’ve ever seen on screen), and is voiced by the ever-eloquent Benedict Cumberbatch.
  11. The way that Smaug is revealed and introduced lives up to all the hype surrounding such a magnificent character.
  12. Just like the recent second Hunger Games film, and many famous second films in trilogies, this one has the luxury of ending with a cliff-hanger.
  13. You need to see this to be able to see the climactic end to the trilogy next year.



13 reasons why you should not watch ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’.

  1. The main flaw of the first film has not been addressed, and in a sense could not be addressed. Once they committed to making three films out of such a short book, there was no way it was not going to be dragging, drawn out and stuffed with ‘filler’ material.
  2. The filler material includes the largely pointless prologue scene which feels so forced and fabricated, even including a repeat cameo by Peter Jackson just like in The Fellowship of the Ring, that you can’t but feel let down even before the main titles start.
  3. The lack of excitement is a recurring theme – such as in a long, complex scene involving huge spiders, which fails to provide anything new at all when compared to the excellent Shelob material we’ve already seen in The Return of the King.
  4. Gandalf is off on his errands as usual, but this time they are tedious, seemingly pointless, and to a large extent fabricated, besides slowing the films pace down even further.
  5. Nearly six hours into this tale, it’s still hard to sympathise with, delve into or even recognise most of the dwarves, despite evident attempts to make them distinguishable thanks to ridiculous hairstyles and traits.
  6. Evangeline Lilly (Lost) is a new main character, but her role also screams desperation - a desperate attempt to introduce some girl-power and a fresh face.
  7. Legolas (Orlando Bloom) is dragged into the proceedings, despite being completely absent from the source material, in what seems like a sad attempt at sharing some of the Lord of the Rings love and linking the two time frames.
  8. Surprisingly, the visual effects stand out as below par in certain instances, particularly the barrel action sequence.
  9. The attempts at linking the story with that of The Lord of the Rings, beyond the obvious links created by Tolkien, leads to the focus being stolen away from Smaug at certain key moments.
  10. Some scenes in the third act are so painfully long and dragging that you start to wonder if there was a pre-determined minimum length established for this film.
  11. None of Howard Shore’s new music, including the new themes for the town on the lake, stand out as half as inspired or memorable as the countless themes he wrote for the original trilogy.
  12. None of the dwarves are half as endearing as Gimli.
  13. The end credits song is an very unfortunate choice, and not a great fit for the tone of the film and the excellent end credit songs that preceded it.