Following on from An Unexpected Journey, the Desolation of Smaug follows our hero Bilbo, the dwarves and Gandalf as they continue in their quest to defeat Smaug the dragon and reclaim Erebor. This 2 hour 41 minute instalment sees them meet Beorn, a man who turns into a bear, and travel through Mirkwood and Laketown before entering the mountain.
As always, the visuals were stunning. New Zealand’s landscape offers a gorgeous and varied backdrop for chase scenes, and it’s clear that no expense was spared on the built sets and CGI either. Each location felt right for what it was and who built it and lived there; the Laketown set in particular had a very lived-in feel, and the scale of the interior of Erebor was breathtaking. At Dol Guldur, unusual and unsettling camera angles add to the sinister atmosphere.
Continue reading Review: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
This will be somewhat of a mixed review, because The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the first of three rather long installments chronicling Bilbo Baggins’ adventure in Middle Earth, is somewhat of a mixed film. I will avoid spoilers for those who haven’t seen it yet and haven’t read the book, though I consider the start safe.
Director Peter Jackson chose to start with a prologue giving the background for this quest, the story of how Erebor, greatest city of the Dwarfs, fell to Smaug the dragon. This is the whole reason for the quest: thirteen dwarfs, the wizard Gandalf and little Bilbo Baggins the quiet, respectable, titular hobbit, go on an adventure to retake the city under the mountain from Smaug. It is not how Tolkien chose to begin the tale, but it worked well enough, though perhaps went on a little too long, and in general prologues seem to work better in film than in print.
Continue reading Review: the Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey