" Well, thief! I smell you, I hear your breath, I feel your air. Where are you? Where are you? Come now, don't be shy... step into the light.” This famous line is finally here in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. The epic fantasy adventure film co-written, produced and directed by Peter Jackson. It is the second installment of a three-part film series based on J. R. R. Tolkien's 1937 novel The Hobbit, beginning with An Unexpected Journey (2012) and set to conclude with The Battle of the Five Armies (2014). The three films together act as prequels to Jackson's The Lord of the Rings film series (2001, 2002 and 2003). The storyline continues in which the hobbit Bilbo Baggins travels with the wizard Gandalf and a company of thirteen dwarves led by Thorin Oakenshield into the Kingdom of Erebor, taking them through Mirkwood, Esgaroth, and Dale continuing their quest to reclaim Erebor, their homeland, and to combat with the dragon Smaug.
Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage reprise their roles of Gandalf the Grey, Bilbo Baggins, Thorin Oakenshield. As well as Graham McTavish, Ken Stott, Aidan Turner, Dean O'Gorman, Mark Hadlow, Jed Brophy, Adam Brown, John Callen, Peter Hambleton, William Kircher, James Nesbitt, Stephen Hunter and Sylvester McCoy as Dwalin, Balin, Kíli, Fíli, Dori, Nori, Ori, Óin, Glóin, Bifur, Bofur, Bombur and Radagast the Brown. The film also stars Evangeline Lilly, Lee Pace, Luke Evans, Stephen Fry and Orlando Bloom reprises his role of Legolas from the original trilogy. And lastly, Benedict Cumberbatch as Smaug, the Magnificent and the Terrible. Like the previous film, the performances in this film was still disparaging at times. Not really feeling any character development or arc like in The Lord of the Rings. The original cast repeated themselves and brought nothing new. With the addition of the romance between Kíli and Tauriel, there is not a romantic word they exchange that has not long since been reduced to cliché. But what made this film a spectacular achievement in casting and other elements was Benedict Cumberbatch as Smaug the Dragon. He pretty much stole the show with his menacing, cool, mesmerizing and Shakespearean approach to a classic character. Thus giving birth to the greatest cinematic dragon.
Containing more of what made The Lord of the Rings series fun, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is an improvement over An Unexpected Journey. Though the script still feels stiff and flat, and the acting feels rather disparaging (except for Bilbo’s encounter with Smaug). In a time when, more often than not, sequels disappoint, it's refreshing to uncover something this high-profile that fulfils the promise of its name and adds another title to a storied legacy. As someone who admired the freshness and energy of the earlier films, I was amazed, at the end of the film, to realize that I had not seen or heard anything memorable (except for Smaug). To conclude, it is an improvement in the series, but not that much better. Let’s hope the final chapter will be better than this.
Simon says The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug receives: