I really wanted to have a good experience going into "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. " Ten minutes in, I realized it would not be the entry in the series that would change my opinion of the long-winded and over-stuffed franchise. It's more of the same sweeping scenes of walking, overlong action sequences, and bouts of mind-numbing dialogue that only a literature major or studied fanboy or girl could understand or even care about.
Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) and a band of dwarves follow the wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) on a journey to reclaim a great kingdom conquered by a dragon (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch). Not only has the dragon stolen their homeland, but he also greedily guards the dwarves' treasures of gold and a mystical jewel. Orcs and elves try to stop the group every step of the way.
Let me be the first to scream a couple of things from the mountain top and say what everyone else is too afraid to. First off, Peter Jackson is a liar. "There is no desolation by Smaug in "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug." If you count him banging around and destroying the Lonely Mountain as desolation, I guess you could excuse the title away. I would consider that to be grasping at straws, however.
Secondly, would somebody PLEASE stop Jackson from being allowed in the editing room when these movies are being trimmed and tightened up. It's very evident that Editor Jabez Olssen is working with a metaphorical gun to his head when working on both "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings" films. ANYONE in their right mind knows there's at least 30 to 45 minutes of completely useless footage that could be chopped out of any of the films. Jackson should direct the movies and then all the footage needs to be taken away from him. He shouldn't be allowed to touch them after that.
Jackson overdoes everything in "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug." He's one of those directors that takes a good thing and runs it into the ground. He's the wife or mother whose family tells her they love her pasta, so she makes it for them every day from then on.
He knows we want to see Smaug. However, we don't necessarily want to watch him sneering and leering at Bilbo and the dwarves for fifty minutes.
This is the fifth film in "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings" franchise. We get it. New Zealand is beautiful. You don't have to keep beating us over the head with long stretches of footage of people walking through the country over and over and over again.
Here are the few things I can say positive about "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug." The special effects, for the most part, look great. However, they do devolve horribly in a scene where a gold statue is melting.
Any sequences featuring the Necromancer are awesome. Interestingly, I was told that those scenes aren't even in the book.
The first time you see Smaug is very impressive as well. Unfortunately, the novelty wears off after the first five minutes pass. Suddenly, you realize that the sequence with the dragon talking to Bilbo is going to be as tedious as the one in "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" where they quiz each for twenty minutes.
There's nothing new to say about "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" that I haven't already covered in the past. It's long. It's tedious. There's a smothered hope that somewhere amongst the two hours and fifty minutes you invest is a good movie. "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings" movies are both sources of frustration. Never have I been so ready for a film to be over, yet utterly frustrated by the way it ends. The "desolation" in the new movie's title doesn't even happen. I really hate these movies! Why do I keep going to see them?!?!?