Directed by Peter Jackson
Written by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson & Guillermo del Toro, novel by J.R.R. Tolkien
Starring Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Evangeline Lilly, Orlando Bloom, Luke Evans & Benedict Cumberbatch
Again, we have the privilege in Finland to see one of those big blockbuster ahead of the main markets and this time it was The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. I saw it yesterday or maybe I should say today because it was the midnight screening. Still a bit of light headed after only few hours of sleep. But back to the business.
The second installment of Hobbitses is very good. It’s not, by no means, perfect but it is better than the first one during which I tried hard not to fall asleep. But I love original Lord of the Rings trilogy, they are THE films for me. The same way like someone has Star Wars that changed their view of living. LotRs are for me those films why I wanted to pursue the career in film. And they remind me everytime how I should not give up my dreams. I consider them as the ultimate reason why anyone should make films; they are the purest escapism entertainment that there is. So, against that, you can understand, I have huge hopes for the second trilogy. And that’s why it probably can never be as good as I wish.
Martin Freeman is perfect as Bilbo. I really need to take better look to his career, he’s always better than good yet still so subtle and realiable. Ian McKellen is Gandalf but in this installment he’s a bit wasted. Richard Armitage does a fine job but his character is starting to be quite an ass. And same goes for Legolas and Thandruil (played by gloriously beautiful Lee Pace) as elves, they’re really dislikeable. Evangeline Lilly as an only female elf is beautiful and very likeable as well. Luke Evans as an only proper human in the movie, is nice to look at and I so hope (I haven’t read the book, so I don’t know) he is the one that saves the day. And Cumberbatch, oh Cumberbatch, he is impeccable as Smaug. They really should have a category for voice-overs in Oscars, the Middle Earth folk has very much proven that.
There are way too many plot lines in The Desolation of Smaug. And that brings the problem, there’s way too many characters. And when there’s too many characters, you don’t really as a viewer have time to bond with any of them. The only one in this movie, that got my eyes a bit misty, was Balin (played by Ken Stott). And as you might know from my previous reviews, that’s a minus to me. But then again, the set is fabulous. The scenery is again amazing. And all the actors do very nice job. But unfortunately, this is, like someone pointed, the middle section, and as it, it is a bit of a mess.
Even though it is a mess, it’s looks so fabulous that it’s hard to believe there actually is a land like New Zealand (I so want to travel there!). Jackson is master in details. I saw this one in HFR (high-frame resolution) and like my friend who saw something in that format for the first time, the difference in HFR and 3D is like the difference in 2D and 3D. You need to see it yourself. And I encourage you to see it that way. It’s so real that it’s almost offensive. Sometimes it feels like you’re watching actors on a very fancy stage. The first Hobbit still had problems with the details but this one is just amazing. I haven’t seen anything that real and at the same time so not real on the screen ever. You just wanted to touch Galdalf’s hair because he seemed to be sitting in front of you. The post-production of this scale must have been huge. Gravity will probably win the Best Visual Effects Oscar, but this one has to get a nomination. If not otherwise, then at least because of Smaug. He’s a beauty. And the camera just loves him, the detail in that particular creature is unbelievable. He very much deserves a film that’s named after him.
Rating: ****½ (out of *****)
Photo credits to Warner Bros Pictures & Weta Digital