Monday, February 24, 2014

"The Desolation of Smaug" - a review..

One would think that glaciers might move more quickly than I add content to the blog at the moment (and you may well be right), but such is the way when life gets busy...

Any free time at the moment is being spent on the boat [clicky], either working on it or preparing to work on it, and when I'm not doing that I'm eating, sleeping, or working...  so much so that last week I took stock, and decided to step off the treadmill for a while - with holiday booked the current Mrs Steve the Wargamer and I headed for the pictures.

We may very well be the last people in the universe not to have seen it, but I had tickets for "The Hobbit - The Desolation of Smaug", so what did I think (and again what the hell that matters I have no idea, given even my cat has reviewed it before I have! )?

First, and on a more general note, I do recommend going to see a flim at least 3 months after it's been released - the current Mrs Steve the Wargamer and I were two of only ten people in an entire 70 seat cinema - one can only imagine what bliss this is when you bear in mind the abilities of my fellow members of the human race in the question of "how to behave in public"...

Next, I should own up to being a huge fan of the Peter Jackson view of Middle Earth having seen Lord of the Rings and the first part of the Hobbit more times than I can count so I'm hardly objective (though having said that I've never understood why the press/media sends someone to review something they are already pre-disposed to not liking... what sense does that make?)

So this is the second part in the trilogy, and starts off (after a little scene setting) at the point where the party were being hunted by Azog the Defiler and the rest of an Orc party (love the Wargs in these films .. so good)...  Either way, they escape and in looking for somewhere to hide out meet Beorn the half bear/ half man. A really nice bit part, with loads of character - he could have been left out of the film but wasn't so hats off to Mr Jackson.

We then get Mirkwood, and the party get lost wandering off the track, before they are attacked by spiders, and "rescued" by Wood Elves - the escape sequence is almost exactly as I imagined it when reading the book, and was handled in a suitably light hearted way - the Hobbit was always the lighter of the two books...

Tauriel - played by Evangeline Lilly...sigh....
While the Dwarves face these perils, Gandalf and Radagast (the Brown - brilliant part by Sylvester McCoy) investigate rumours of dark doings at the old fortress of Dol Guldur...

Back at Mirkwood, having escaped, the Dwarves pay Bard to take them across the lake and smuggle them into Lake Town - but not before they have to fight off a party of Orcs sent by Azog to hunt them down.

The last part of the film features the Dwarves entry to the lonely mountain - to find what had happened to their families, and other inhabitants. They, or rather Bilbo, also awaken Smaug (the Dragon) who, in the way of Dragons, is sufficiently cheesed off by their attempts to kill him that he takes flight to lay waste to Lake Town - and there it ends....   until the end of this year and Part 3!

So any downsides - none, in my humble opinion..  the better part of three hours flew by...  so there were some additions to the story (Legolas back on the scene? The whole part of Tauriel - for which thanks as Evangeline is lovely! ) but I don't care really - I get to travel to Middle Earth of three hours and that's more than enough...  Best bits?? The grandeur of Erebor, the Orcs/Wargs, the escape by the Dwarves, and the New Zealand scenery...  easily as good as the first part, better perhaps? I rate this one 9.5 out of 10....


  1. Many thanks for a decent review. I had the sense that the action would definitely pick up in the second episode - and certainly waking a sleeping dragon qualifies. Would you see it again? Will it be worth buying on DVD or Blu-Ray?
    A/K/A The Celtic Curmudgeon

    1. Jerry - "yes, definitely" to all questions... superb film.... loved Smaug!

  2. Glad you enjoyed it, I cant wait for the DVD release...

    1. Scott - you're behind me in the queue.... :o)

  3. Thought it was fantastic as well - always look forward to Boxing Day over here as it is release day however I think a few months down the track may be better for my old bones and attitudes to life as well!!

    1. Carlo - the lack of ability of my fellow members of the human race to behave correctly in public never fails to irritate me.... especially when they're in a cinema..... if I was rich, I'd have private screenings for every movie I wanted to see as there's no doubt they look good on a big screen....

    2. I still haven't seen it. Everyone I knew went with someone else! I used to be a member of the British Film Institute and the thing I loved about the National Film Theatre food and drink allowed in the cinema!