Movie Review: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

SERIES: The Hobbit, #2
GENRES: Action, fantasy, adventure
DATE WATCHED: 03 January 2014
RATING: ★★★½
SUMMARY: The dwarves, along with Bilbo Baggins and Gandalf the Grey, continue their quest to reclaim Erebor, their homeland, from Smaug. Bilbo Baggins is in possession of a mysterious and magical ring.

REVIEW: I haven’t watched the first movie, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, in a while, which was something I was a little concerned about because I thought I wouldn’t understand what was going on.

But my worry was for naught.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug picks up almost right after the end of the previous film. Kind of. There’s a flashback scene that takes place one year before the present, when Gandalf finds Thorin Oakenshield at an inn and convinces him to reunite the dwarves.

So we’re back with Gandalf, Thorin, Bilbo, and the rest of the company as they’re on the run from the Orc party that was after them in the first movie. And we meet Beorn. Kind of.

I never read the book, but Beorn is my best friend’s favorite character, and I can see why. He’s not really a major character, but HE IS A SKIN-CHANGER WHO TURNS INTO A BEAR, how cool. He lives in this sort of barn with lots of animals and FOOD (which is a positive for everyone involved).

Bilbo also starts to find out about the “corrupting influence” the One Ring has on its user. I never understood why he didn’t realize it makes you crazy when, hello, its last longtime owner was Gollum, who is the archetype of crazy (and creepy). Bilbo also says, “Mine!” after killing a giant spider that makes him drop the ring. Which is bad news. And also creepy.

AND WE FINALLY SEE LEGOLAS AND TAURIEL, MY WHOLE HEART. The dwarves (read: Thorin) kind of screw up, so the Wood-elves capture them and throw them in prison. By orders of my weakness, the Elvenking Thranduil (played by Lee Pace; I have a Lee Pace problem now and it’s this movie’s fault). And of course, Bilbo is lagging behind, so he’s locked out of the castle and isn’t locked up with the rest of them.

While Bilbo is using the ring to figure out a way to save his buddies, Tauriel goes down to see Kili. (Note: she tells Legolas earlier that Kili is “quite tall, for a dwarf,” WOW KILL ME.) They basically tell each other stories about mothers and elves’ love of starlight through the bars of Kili’s cell. Ouch, my heart.

Bilbo eventually gets them out by hiding them in giant barrels and releasing them into the river. By this time the Orcs have found them, and a battle along the river ensues. Which, awesome. The dwarves have no weapons, so they basically use their environment and the weapons they manage to take from the Orcs. WHILE BOBBING ALONG THE RIVER IN BARRELS. Tauriel and Legolas go out to fight the Orcs, we see amazing elf fighting, an Orc shoots my love Kili with an arrow, but the dwarves make it out okay. Thranduil closes off the kingdom when he senses evil, but Tauriel leaves just before to help the dwarves, and Legolas follows after her.

The company run into a man (an actual man, not just someone else who is male) named Bard, and they pay him to smuggle them to the nearby Lake-town. Bard has two super pretty daughters and one okay-looking son who is kind of self-righteous, but whatever. Thorin persuades the Master of Lake-town (he has two pugs, it’s cute) to help them get to the Lonely Mountain, but he also forces Kili to stay behind because he’s still wounded. And Fili says, “I belong with my brother!” so he stays behind too.

Meanwhile, Gandalf is off with Radagast the Brown (the sweetest wizard of them all) before the latter goes to warn Galadriel (only one flashback moment of my lady, ugh) about the evil that’s amok. Gandalf tries to escape from the Necromancer’s secret hideout when Orcs attack him, and BAM THE DARK LORD SAURON. Yikes.

The company reaches the Lonely Mountain before the last light of Durin’s Day, and they find the hidden door. We find out Bard has the last black arrow that can pierce Smaug’s dragonhide and kill him. Bilbo enters the mountain to find the Arkenstone, but he wakes up Smaug. (You had one job, Bilbo. ONE JOB.) Fili, the other two dwarves (I’m so sorry, I can’t remember their names, but I love them), and Bard’s two lovely daughters are trying to help Kili, who is just getting worse, when Orcs barge in to look for Thorin. Legolas and Tauriel come swinging in and chase the Orgs off (with elven arrows, duh). Legolas follows after them while Tauriel stays to help Kili (!!), and SHE HEALS HIM AND HE SEES HER ELF SPIRIT BECAUSE HE’S THAT CLOSE TO DEATH AND THEY HAVE A “CONNECTION,” bye.

Meanwhile, the rest of the dwarves have entered the mountain to find Bilbo. Smaug talks a lot (like, a lot—I think he just likes to hear himself talk, and it’s probably been a while since he’s seen anyone). Lots of running on the dwarves’ part and lumbering about on Smaug’s part. They trick the dragon into lighting the forges and drown him in molten gold. Which makes for a cool-looking dragon but is overall ineffective. Except that it just pisses Smaug off, so he leaves the mountain to destroy the people who helped the dwarves. Bilbo says, “What have we done?” Dun-dun, cut to black.

I really enjoyed the movie overall. It was fast-paced but not overwhelming, the way fantasy action movies should be. The end was more than a little abrupt and kind of made me angry because wow, thanks, Bilbo, thanks for letting us know that you fucked up. Waking up a dragon is never a good idea. Neither is wearing the ring you swiped from a crazy creature person thing.

The prince and captain of the guard dynamic between Legolas and Tauriel was perfect, platonic or otherwise. Also stupidly cute height difference between Kili and Tauriel subverting the usual height difference trope. And Thranduil, my love.


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