The Hobbit – The Desolation of Smaug review: Jackson brings a sense of urgency to the quest

Posted on 17 December 2013
By Rebecca Baker
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Peter Jackson’s next adventure in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, finally begins with bountiful video game-esque fight scenes, barrel rafting and hallucinogenic woodland, while traveling to the lost city of Erebor.

The whimsical tone of An Unexpected Journey has changed it’s tune, as Jackson’s brings back the darkness that lurks within Middle Earth.

Our journey begins at the Inn of the Prancing Pony, Thorin Oakenshield is being watched, in fear that he will reclaim his homeland.

He is saved by wise old Gandalf who introduces the idea of forming a company, and taking back what was stolen from them.

A speedy and much preferred pace than An Unexpected Journey, Jackson gets right back into the action of the story.

Bilbo watches the Pale Orc and his warg riders hunt for dwarf scum, as the company travels to the elven gate; the entrance of the Mirkwood. The eeriness of the woodland is the dark and dreary aesthetic that Jackson prides himself in, familiarizing us with the Lord of the Ring’s.

After an attack by some of Aragog’s relatives, the spiders are hunted by racy woodland elf Legolas and the captain of the guard Tauriel.

The company is captured, and taken to king Thranduil an old enemy of Thorin.

As they escape Bilbo leads them on an exciting white water rafting ride through the Mirkwood.

Weta’s CGI sequence of orcs battling dwarves fighting elves shooting orcs is a thrill ride in what the Weta boys do best.

A first-rate CGI fight sequence Tolkien’s barrel’s are the exciting incident that An Unexpected Journey needed.

However, the narrative seeps a little half way with the introduction of Bard the Bargemen and Lake-town.

Stephen Fry, as the master of Lake-town appears to be in the wrong story; looking more like a disheveled Captain Hook, taxing the poor to revive his stock of brandy.

The fault here lies with Jackson, as his well known characters have turned into storybook archetypes, losing their darkened essence from the Ring’s trilogy.

Thorin convinces the people of Lake-town that they will share in the wealth of the mountain, and are heralded as heroes as they travel to the secret door into Erebor.

It is here that Bilbo is told his purpose for joining the company; to steal the Arkenstone from Smaug’s lair.

Martin Freeman reunites with Sherlock co star Benedict Cumberbatch (as the voice and Mo-cap of Smaug) in the treasure hoard of Erebor. Cumberbatch’s growling sinister voice can only be experienced to it’s full potential in surround sound.

He brings authority, pride and a destructive intent to the dragon living up to his deadly expectation.

This climatic duel of words and humbleness to Smaug allows Freeman to play within his field; encapsulating the vulnerable and befuddled Hobbit who tries once again to get himself out of a sticky situation.

The Hobbit The Desolation of Smaug finally brings a sense of urgency to Thorin’s quest, with the Dwarves still forever loyal to their leader, and their homeland, lets hope Jackson keeps up the pace for There and Back again.