Director: Peter Jackson Writers: Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, Guillermo del Toro Studios: Warner Bros. Pictures, New Line Cinema, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, WingNut Films Cast: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Benedict Cumberbatch, Orlando Bloom, Evangeline Lily, Luke Evans Release Date (UK): 13 December 2013 Certificate: 12A Runtime: 161 min
“I do believe the worst is behind us” were the last words spoken in last year’s “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” uttered by Bilbo Baggins as he, Gandalf and their band of thirteen hairy dwarves looked at their near future in the shape of The Lonely Mountain. And indeed Bilbo may be right: though sufficiently spectacular and delivered with gusto, the first chapter in Peter Jackson’s epic new fantasy trilogy, the prequels to his earth-shattering “Lord of the Rings” films, was a slight disappointment, lacking a little oomph in its narrative; it took forever to get going and once it did the story lacked focus and took on an all too episodic structure, with lengthy, inconsequential brawls with trolls and goblins and a pointless Rivendell pit-stop that wasn’t even in Tolkein’s book.
Thankfully, follow-up “The Desolation of Smaug” eradicates these problems, Jackson reducing the episodic structure and giving its narrative a smoother flow. Continuing the dwarves’ quest to reclaim their lost homeland, this second chapter is a superior creature, romping along at a brisker pace and journeying towards a clearly defined destination: The Lonely Mountain, where lowly hobbit Bilbo, again played wonderfully by Martin Freeman, must thieve the precious Arkenstone from under the snout of the dreaded dragon Smaug; the dragon whose eye, you may remember, burst open in the final moments of the last movie as he slumbered peacefully in a tomb of stolen gold worthy of Scrooge McDuck. (CONTINUE READING)
8 outta 10