Cast - Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Benedict Cumberbatch, Evangeline Lilly, Lee Pace, Luke Evans, Ken Stott, James Nesbitt, Orlando Bloom
Director: Peter Jackson
Release Date: Friday, December 13
It seems, this month it's the sequels that are stealing the show; first The Hunger Games, and now Desolation Of Smaug. Peter Jackson's second instalment in The Hobbit series shows much improvement over the first. The first movie may have been slow and more dragged out than this one because of the introduction of all the characters, but Desolation Of Smaug, actively rectifies that problem.
The action sequences move well, flowing through the story-line easily and enriching the over arching plot. Martin Freeman as always is a pleasure to watch as The Hobbit Bilbo Baggins, Ian McKellen brings a familiar feeling to the movie having been in all of JRR Tolkien's previous adaptations, while Richard Armitage delivers a strong and stoic performance as the lost king Thorin Oakenshield.
There are several other cast members who shine throughout the film. Evangeline Lily is a welcome edition as a strong and skillful Elven warrior, while Luke Evans introduction as Bard the Bowman also adds value to the already impressive cast.
Every scene with Orlando Bloom reprising his role as Legolas, one of the original member so of The Fellowship, is pure gold. Bloom manages to make light of moments that should be tense with ease, making the fights scenes in which Legolas is a part of a delight to watch.
The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug picks up right after the first movie ends and features Bilbo, Gandalf, Thorin and the Company continuing on their quest to the Lonley Mountain. Peter Jackson has had his time to tinker and tweak the world of Middle Earth, and he takes full advantage of that in Desolation Of Smaug.
Jackson doesn't waste any chance to explore the brilliant landscapes, and rich variety of creatures Middle Earth has to offer. The visuals and Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) are far superior in this film, and like Gollum, Smaug stands out as a break out character even though it's all done with special effects.
Although the running time is a little on the long side (161 minutes), the film entertains throughout. But the most alluring part and definitely the best scenes in the movie are those with Smaug, the dragon.
Benedict Cumberbatch, manages to bring to life the cunning and intelligent nature of the devilish villain. He voices him to perfection, creating a worthy adversary for his Sherlock co-star Martin Freeman. The dark tone and the taunting nature of Smaug's dialogue cements the film as one of the better ones this year.
As with the first film, The Hobbit - The Desolation Of Smaug ends with a cliffhanger, but after watching a film like this, who wouldn't want to come back for more?
Rotten Tomatoes: 74%