J.R.R. Tolkien fans are rejoicing this morning with the release of the second Hobbit film, The Desolation of Smaug. The movie once again follows Bilbo and his dwarf friends as they trek they make their journey to save Thorin Oakenshield's homeland. While it is certainly fun to see these books come to life on the big screen, the movie itself does not live up to all the hype. The script is incredibly corny and the majority of the CGI looks so unrealstic that it seems as if you are watching a video game rather than immersing yourself in the world of Mr. Baggins.
The writing for this installment, much like the first Hobbit tale, seemed as if it were trying too hard to be amusing. There were many jokes that seemed out of place, including a out-of-time-period penis joke. This type of humor came too often, and did not really blend with the rest of the story. While the dwarfs are definitely pranksters, it just seemed like a stretch to fit that much comedy into the fantasty story. One subplot in the film is the Tauriel-Kili-Legolas love triangle. While everyone is game for a good love traingle from time to time, it may be the cheesiest written one. In fact a lot of the writing (and acting) seemed overly cheesy. It was less fun and more of an annoyance.
Special effects are a large component of this film. There are some amazing moments of CGI, in particular the shapeshifting sequence near the beginning of the film. This, in addition to the detail put into creating Smaug, are some of the best computerizd moments since the creation of Richard Parker in last year's Life of Pi. However, most of the CGI in the film is not as spectacular. In fact, the main segments of CGI are so unrealistic that it pull you out of the movie. You do not feel as if you are in this magical world, but rather in a wildly fanciful video game.
Not everything in this film is awful. The coloration of the movie is stunning and keeps you attentively watching. Of course, the best scenes do not come until closer to the end of the film when Bilbo interacts with the incredible Smaug. The film runs over two and a half hours, but waiting to see the magnificent dragon is absolutely worth it.
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is not the best thing you will see this winter by any means, but for die-hard fans of the series it will at least be entertaining. The script is overly cheesy for the majority of the film and the graphics are far from believable, but there are some great moments that truly shine on the big screen.