Synopsis: Having conquered all the dangers of the Misty Mountains, Thorin and Company must travel through Mirkwood Forest and the Town of Lake-Men before entering The Lonely Mountain- without their trusted wizard. And once they do enter The Lonely Mountain, how does our little thief handle one of the most frightful of all dragons?…And what does it lead to?
Cast: Ian Mckellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Ken Stott.
If you think Peter Jackson out did himself in the first Hobbit film, think again. The story lifts off with Thorin and Gandalf having a heart-felt conversation about Thorin’s dad that may or may not have been seen alive. It was interesting to see how the movie wanted to touch upon this even though the book did not go into much detail (maybe the third movie might feature Thorin’s dad?) This was the perfect place to pick up from the last film, as it did not waste time reminiscing the previous battles, continuing straight into the journey. Basically, what they’re saying is, “Want to know what happened before? See the first film.”
Throughout the film, we see Martin Freeman’s Bilbo Baggins gain more and more confidence and courage, mainly due to the ring but it helps him wield a sword with a warrior’s hand and make intelligent decisions. The dwarves, also, start respecting Bilbo, turning to him in their time of dire need (just like they did with Gandalf) and asking him for his wisdom.
In the book, Kili and Fili get killed in the last battle but this has an intriguing twist with Kili being poisoned and nearly dying…but with the Wood Elves helping out. The Wood Elves certainly had a much more significant and heroic role in the movie, compared to the book, where they were mostly hostile to the dwarves. Not really sure how I feel about this…For some reason, I preferred the Elves stay arrogant. But humanizing them into having mixed feelings wasn’t terribly bad. After all, the story isn’t about Bilbo’s story alone; it’s about how everyone goes on a self-changing journey, so why not the Elves?
Gandalf going off to sort the Necromancer out is where the movie strays from the book the most. Literally, the Necromancer is mentioned as a justified means of Gadalf’s abandonment of Thorin’s Company; no mention of an epic battle or proper background or intent of the Necromancer. The movie devotes a good amount of its time depicting Gandalf’s journey and a story of how the Necromancer is actually a threat, who and what he is. I have never been more pleased by a stray-off of a book-to-movie adaptation. However, I am worried that in the third movie, the resolution of the Necromancer won’t, in fact, live up to the rest of the epicness of the Hobbit. Even though the Necromancer story won’t really make or break the trilogy, if it did, however, not live up to expectation, it would fall flat and be an unnecessary addition to the film that should’ve just stayed out, similar to the book. But why all the gloom? If it is amazing, it would be just another factor contributing to an already-beautiful film.
Now Smaug, *shivers*, just…absolutely stunning. Benedict Cumberbatch‘s voice as Smaug keeps you riveted in your seat as his words fill the air you breathe with
impending-doom. Everyone is cast under a spell as the dragon speaks and no one dares make a peep. But that was how Bilbo felt and, damn, did Benedict make us feel that way . I thought it was actually quite hilarious that, initially, Bilbo didn’t seem to realise the complete severity of the danger he was in. He goes in quite confidently and only when Balin ditches him, do warning bells start to ring in his head. The look of utter shock and terror as he realises the full presence of Smaug was just priceless.
The reference to the greed of the dwarves, mostly Thorin, for the treasure and the famous Arkenstone was brilliantly executed with Bilbo always managing to keep his head above it all. We see how different characters- Bilbo, Wood Elves, even Gandalf who is humbled by the Necromancer – change along their journey, but up until this point you don’t really see the dwarves change all that much. And then they see the treasure. Strange how no matter what creature you are, shiny valuable things have to capability of altering someone’s state of mind. And then, another character-change happens to the dwarves, when- in a moment of desperation to kill the mighty dragon- they melt down all the gold and use it to burn and try to turn the dragon into a big golden statue. Of course, the gold stays where it is, but imagine having to rework all the gold into jewellery, cutlery, cups, crowns…they’ve got their work cut out for them. But that’s what danger exposes: our priories, which in this case, is saving each other and themselves.
The last scene is what really gets to you though, ending the cliffhanger with Bilbo’s words of disbelief,“What have we done?”, as the dragon takes off to kill the Lake-men who so kindly helped Thorin and Company. In the book, the dwarves and the hobbit have no idea that Smaug goes to destroy Lake Town. But in the movie they do, which arises questions: Will Thorin and Company do anything about it? Will we see them take the honourable decision to help Lake Town? If so, how do they plan on doing it? And will Bard be the one to kill the dragon like the book? What about the reference to Thorin’s dad still being alive? And what does the Necromancer have to do in this story?
Oh and can I just say how fitting and lovely the last soundtrack of the film, “I See Fire” by Ed Sheeran, is? One of the best film tracks I heave heard in a long time. Made the ending-credits seem utterly compelling.
Verdict: 10 of 10 kicks
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