The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug ~ A Capsule Movie Review by Allen Kopp
The epic quest begun in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (released one year ago at this time) is continued in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, which is part two in The Hobbit trilogy. The third part, The Hobbit: There and Back Again, will be released in December of next year.
As you recall (or maybe you don’t), twelve dwarves are on their way to reclaim their homeland and their gold from a very large, flying, fire-breathing dragon sleeping inside a mountain. They have enlisted the aid of Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit, who is a burglar. Once they get to the mountain, they will need Bilbo to use his skills to get a large white stone, called the Arkanstone, from the extravagant piles of gold and riches the dragon stands guard over inside the mountain. (It seems they need the stone to carry out their plans.) The dragon is sleeping most of the time, but if anybody tries to mess with his riches, he is sure to wake up and be very unpleasant.
On their long journey to the mountain, the dwarves encounter Orcs, a warlike race of creatures who want to kill them. The elves don’t like dwarves, either, but they assist the dwarves because they dislike Orcs even more. (The enemy of my enemy is my friend.) In one standout scene, the dwarves are captured by giant spiders who wrap them in cocoons (presumably to keep them as a snack for a later time). The elves assist the dwarves to escape the spiders, as does Bilbo. Time and again, Bilbo displays unexpected bravery and resourcefulness. When the dwarves are trying to open the door into the mountain where the gold is, which, they are told, will open with a key by the last light of the day, Bilbo figures out that the door will open (after the dwarves have given up) by the light of the moon rather than the sun. Where would they be without Bilbo?
At the end of The Desolation of Smaug, Bilbo and the dwarves have inadvertently unleashed the death-dealing dragon on Middle Earth. As the dragon flies off to wreak all kinds of havoc, Bilbo says, “What have we done?” We’ll have to wait until December 2014 to find out.
The trilogy is based, of course, on books by J.R.R. Tolkien, the premier fantasy writer of the twentieth century. I’m not a big fan of this kind of fantasy, but these movies are beautifully made in 3D and well worth seeing. Even if you don’t care that much for the story and think you have had your fill of hobbits, dwarves, elves, and wizards, there’s no more beautiful place to visit than Middle Earth.
Copyright © 2013 by Allen Kopp