Peter Jackson clearly has a knack for engaging his target audience with an engrossing adventure: first with The Lord Of The Rings trilogy and now with a three-part adaptation of The Hobbit, Peter has become a legend in the fantasy genre and an icon in terms of making direct adaptations of a given source material. While the troubles of making The Lord Of The Rings have passed, it would seem that times have become easier with The Hobbit’s production (ignoring initial outrage that the book would be extended into three parts.)
Boasting three new films based off a 315+ page book – and Tolkien’s extended mythology – Peter Jackson now looks to tell the middle chapter of his new trilogy with The Desolation of Smaug, a direct continuation of An Unexpected Journey and what is perhaps one of the finest movies set in Middle Earth to date.
An Unexpected Journey had its problems – mostly thanks to the aesthetics, and the ravages of ageing – but in the end An Unexpected Journey won hearts over thanks to a close attention to detail and its pervading love for Tolkien’s grand work. The Desolation Of Smaug looks to accomplish that same goal, playing the part of a sequel while also contending with the criticisms that An Unexpected Journey faced and making them work in the trilogy’s second outing.
The Desolation Of Smaug is, without question, Jackson’s finest trip to Middle Earth after The Return Of The King. Everything that was wrong with An Unexpected Journey has been lifted in the middle chapter, with tighter storytelling, much more variance in action, and a more believable and refined 48FPS “High Frame Rate” thanks to some incredible 3D effects. There are so many things to love about the film, and so few things to hate about it, to the extent that the bloated run-time feels like a breeze
It is in fact such an entertaining and delightful film that it took some serious thinking and close scrutiny to detect any problems, which there is one of particular, and even then, the problem is hardly fatal.
It should be pointed out that this article gives away crucial plot points and pacing details, so a spoiler alert is in effect. Please proceed with caution.
This article was first posted on December 20, 2013