Before I begin my general review, I want to share a little fun fact about how I’ve viewed the “Lord of the Rings” series. Honestly, this fifth entry in the franchise is the very first I’ve ever seen in the movie theater, I never saw any of the others on the big screen and I’ve only ever regarded these movies as just average good movies. Well, with the exception of “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers”, that one was really good and one that I still watch frequently to this day. But the bottom line is, I’m just not that big a “Lord of the Rings” fan and I really wish I could say I was. It’s such a huge franchise and is often regarded as the greatest blockbuster series of all time. I was hoping this movie would surprise me and make me a bigger fan of the franchise but unfortunately I considered this to be just another average good movie.
“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” is the second installment in “the Hobbit” trilogy and the fifth installment in the “Lord of the Rings” film franchise. The plot revolves around a hobbit named Bilbo who’s set out on a journey with a group of Dwarfs to reclaim their home land from the grasp of a might dragon named Smaug. Now that may sound like a very simple premise for an adventure, unfortunately this movie is over stuffed with countless sub-plots, countless side stories, and countless characters that it just comes off as messy and exhausting at times. Loyal fans of the novel may appreciate how faithful this is to the book but I can’t stand all this extra stuffing. Plus, with this movies insanely long run time, a simple story would be far more pleasing. “Avatar” for example was another long movie but the story was simple and strait forward, allowing me to relax and enjoy the experience, rather than get a headache focusing on 20 different plotlines.
Now those are my problems with this movie, the rest of the stuff that’s good is all good enough to make the movie worthwhile. The cast dose an excellent job in their respected rolls, Ian Mckellen gives his usual commanding performance as the wizard Gandalf, it was a nice treat to have Orlando Bloom reprise his role as the elf Legolas and there was even a new female elf character named Tauriel who was a welcome addition. Most of the action was genuinely exciting, most notably a river battle that involved the main characters sailing in barrels. The big highlight was the dragon Smaug, this has to be one of the best giant movie monsters I’ve seen in years. The design was great, the effect was great, the voice actor was downright chilling and I like that this beast behaved like an actual character, rather than just a mindless monster.
Overall, I may not be that big a fan of the franchise and this film isn’t going to change much, but for what it’s worth, it’s not a bad adventure flick. There are still plenty of things in the film that I enjoyed, plenty of characters that I cheered for and a magical world that’s fun to be submersed in. It’s not a film that I’ll be seeing again anytime soon but if you’re a long time “Lord of the Rings” fan, you’ll probably enjoy this movie just fine. I give “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” 3 stars.