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Review: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

16 December 2013 No Comment

Oh Smaug the stupendous, I was not prepared for your magnificence. The Desolation of Smaug is one of those rare film adaptations that just might outdo the version on the page. Now is not the time for such judgments, the film does leave some fun parts from the book by ralph lauren france the wayside, but by the closing moments of the film only the truest of ardent Tolkien fans will have cause to complain. The 3D Imax was once ralph lauren soldes again an experience well worth the inflated price and the film keeps you wanting more right up to the end.

The story picks up with Bilbo (Martin Freeman), Gandalf (Sir Ian McKellan) and his dwarf companions still being chased by Azog and his cronies. The immediacy of the danger following the dwarves carries right chemise ralph lauren through Mirkwood forest. Beorn is no Tom Bombadil and does make a brief appearance as well. In the book, Mirkwood was a harrowing journey for the dwarves but it was a ralph lauren femme long drawn out march that would not have been as captivating on film. Still. I would have liked to see Bombour fall in the creek. While the journey through Mirkwood was truncated it still kept the grim forest as it should be, and gave Bilbo the chance to name his sword.

While Mirkwood was shortened the rest of the locales were expanded. With the addition of Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly) and Legolas (Orlando Bloom) the elves and their motives were laid much more clear than they were in the original text. With the orcs a more present threat in this version Legolas gets his chance again to slide across the ground on various items. Sadly Orlando Bloom did age in the last ten years but there isn’t much that can be done about that.

Lake Town, at the foot of the Lonely Mountain had its characters expanded on as well, but with mixed results. Parallels will surely be drawn between characters from Rohan in The Two Towers, with a doddering Lord and a sniveling spy for an assistant: moncler coats uk though Alfrid is no Wormtongue. Overall the sequence added some interesting new twists that kept the brisk momentum and urgency of the quest going.

The problems of the movie pale when compared to the advantages of showing what Gandalf got up to after leaving the dwarves at the entrance to Mirkwood. Gandalf still disturbed by the riddle of the Morgul blade heads off to seek out the Necromancer in the ruins of Dol Galdur. The scenes are everything that one could want when a wizard goes off to see about a Necromancer and Benedict Cumberbatch brought his A-game to the role of the Necromancer, but he brought his A+ performance to his role as Smaug: even though both performances were motion-capture with the end result having no resemblance to the actor.

When Bilbo enters the lonely mountain alone on the pages of Tolkien’s book it is one of the highlights of all of Tolkien’s work. When he enters the chamber where Smaug has been hording all the gold on the Imax screen it is breathtaking. Smaug the dragon of course knows when one piece of his gold has been touched, magic ring or no and the scene when Bilbo awakens Samug was expanded and all of the magic and awe with it. Smaug is an awesome presence on the Imax and Freeman did a phenomenal acting job against what was surely a plain green screen. His reactions sold it as much as Smaug was a terrifying delight to behold.

Another departure from the page was the way the dwarves treated Bilbo through this section in the book. On page the dwarves and Thorin pretty much went back to treating Bilbo like an encumbrance. In this version they are a bit more appreciative of Bilbo it suits this telling of the story considering much of that was during the Mirkwood toil. Still in the end the dwarves go above and beyond to prove they are loyal to their favorite burglar.

While the film clocked in at around 161 minutes it was a fast-paced story that didn’t drag. The small problems with expanding the story were overshadowed by the end result of expanding the parts of the story that needed expanding for the big screen experience. This film outdid An Unexpected Journey on all fronts, from pacing to storytelling. It will be a hard film for The Hobbit: There and Back Again to beat next Christmas. Desolation of Smaug may just be a contender for a top spot (or the top spot) in the Peter Jackson adaptations of Tolkien’s work.

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