The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

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The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

by Samantha Swan

Set sixty years before the events of The Lord of the Rings, The Desolation of Smaug is the second instalment of The Hobbit, by J. R. R. Tolkien, where it continues to follow Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) quest to reclaim the Lonely Mountain from the dragon Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch), while the wizard Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen) investigates a growing evil at Dol Guldur.

For those of you who thought the first film dragged its feet, The Desolation of Smaug creates an action pack of thrills and suspense, from start till end that was clearly missing from An Unexpected Journey. Although much more focused, and believe it or not, shorter than the first installment, at 161 minutes, it is still far too long for the size the book is. It seems Peter Jackson has perhaps got lost in his fandom of J. R. R. Tolkien and fuelled all his energy into generating something visually spectacular by padding out this thin book, rather than for what the story really is.

The visual effects are much improved with extraordinary attention to detail, especially with the introduction of Smaug; Benedict Cumberbatch gives a convincing performance as a dragon that only Cumberbatch can give. With Smaug being the centre of the second instalment, it was important to get this magnificent creature just right and definitely came across as a memorable villain, and even a more memorable character in The Hobbit and Lord of the Ring films.

The beautiful scenery, although overused and part of the reason the film dragged, helps create this mystical world of Elves, Wizards and Dwarfs that makes The Desolation of Smaug truly epic in every sense of the word. However, with less than a year until the third and final instalment, There and Back, can it live up to the excitement, the latest film has brought its fans?