Film review: The Hobbit – Desolation of Smaug


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I’m not really that invested in Tolkien‘s fantasy world, I went to see Lord of the Rings and now The Hobbit hoping for a good time, something epic. Knowing that at least 60% of my £10 VIP 3D ticket would be justified through the visuals and battle action alone. Oh and Gandalf‘s beard of course.
The Desolation of Smaug, is part 2 of the incredibly stretched Hobbit saga, the prequel to Lord of the Rings. Now, I haven’t read either Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit so I know nothing about how true to the original material either trilogies are. On my own terms, I thought Desolation of Smaug was better than An Unexpected Journey. The pace was better, it seemed more interesting, it was quite funny, the action was awesome. Smaug’s voice was fantastic, I thought Evangeline Lily as Tauriel was great, and it was a great surprise to see Stephen Fry.

[Spoiler alert!] However, two of the three mates I went with have read the books, so I got the lowdown on how much was changed. Which apparently is A LOT, for instance: Tauriel and Legolas aren’t in The Hobbit at all, Smaugs section wasn’t how it happened and was greatly stretched out. The Orcs aren’t in the book. Gandalfs entire section doesn’t happen either, and I guess was put in there to bridge between Lord of the Rings.

With all the alterations and additions, it just makes me think… is Peter Jackson really that desperate to try and equal the success of LOTR? Doesn’t he have enough faith in the book? or does he feel that there isn’t enough to material to work with?
The Hobbit is a relatively small book, why draw it out over 3 films? If that was the case for LOTR, he could have made 4 maybe 5 films.
I can’t say that I’m anticipating ‘There and Back Again’, more than I am intrigued as to how the story ends. Maybe it should have been named: The Hobbit: Lord of the Rings version.
I’ve no doubt that Desolation might pick up a few Academy noms – Best Costume Design and Best Make-Up. Even though essentially it’s not changed from the last film?
If I didn’t know about all of the changes made from the book, I would have given it a standalone 7.5/10. But hearing how Hollywood-ised it’s become, I’m afraid the score will be downgraded to a..

6.5/10

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2 thoughts on “Film review: The Hobbit – Desolation of Smaug

  1. Good review Matt. It’s a long one for sure, but nonetheless, it’s still a good time. That is, when it wants to be. When it pays too much attention to its story, then it began to lose some much-needed steam.

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