Director Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit” Trilogy continues with a much darker and serious tone than its first chapter making this film – and storytelling – a much diverse and entertaining joyride for the holiday season.
“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” follows the story of the title character Bilbo Baggins – and the band of merry characters – along with Thorin Oakenshield and Gandalf making their way to the Lonely Mountain to reclaim Thorin’s Kingdom. This time around the adventure brings a set of new characters that will thrill fans of Tolkien’s fantastic world – such as Beorn the skin-changer and Tauriel the Mirkwood she-elf.
Jackson and company excel with this chapter at creating a pace that is seamless and less frantic as it seemed in “An Unexpected Journey”. The 15 primary characters have been introduced, so there is no need to create a specific developing arch for each of them – except for the necessary archetypes and heroes that will continue onto the third chapter and within “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy. The darker tone is definitely set throughout most of the film – all of which enhances the turning point of this chapter.
The dangers – and evil characters – of the trilogy are front and center in “The Desolation of Smaug”. The story not only delves into the idea of Bilbo’s “precious” object but it solidifies the lurking presence of the Necromancer in Dol Guldur – in the most intriguing fashion. Of course, this second episode is mainly about Smaug, the dragon that lives in the halls of Erebor that watches over the treasure in idyllic form. However, the tranquil beast proves to be anything but as Bilbo encounters him to complete the task at hand – as the burglar of the group – facing a menacing yet enchanting threat.
J.R.R. Tolkien’s books – and the worlds within – are everlastingly popular because he was able to create a unique vision of characters and stories that continued to be awe-inspiring to this day. Jackson carries on that idea making this sequel in “The Hobbit” Trilogy fascinating and pleasurable from begging to end. All the characters – and actors’ portrayals – are remarkable but the show belongs to Smaug, voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch, as the most visually captivating dragon sequence ever seen in a fantasy film. “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” is what going to the movies during the holiday season is all about: gratifying escapism.