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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars “Are we there yet?”
It is a long time since I read any of Tolkien’s books, and I came to this having watched the first film, as well as the sequel Lord of the Rings trilogy. If, as with any film, you disregard the original source material and treat it on its own merits, then this is a very good sequel to the first film. The story, expanded in places, but still in keeping with the...
Published 2 months ago by No More Mr. Mice Guy

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice, But Spread Thinly Again
Kinda caught between 2 & 3 stars as yes, as many reviews have already said, unlike Lord of the Rings, which spreads nicely into a trilogy, this is a shorter book & is thus being spread a little thin in each film. While this is far more energetic than the 1st film & less talky, it does go on. Not only is this book spread across 3 films rather unnecessarily, the films...
Published 23 days ago by beelzebomb


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars “Are we there yet?”, 5 Jun 2014
By 
No More Mr. Mice Guy (London, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug [Blu-ray + UV Copy] [2013] [Region Free] (Blu-ray)
It is a long time since I read any of Tolkien’s books, and I came to this having watched the first film, as well as the sequel Lord of the Rings trilogy. If, as with any film, you disregard the original source material and treat it on its own merits, then this is a very good sequel to the first film. The story, expanded in places, but still in keeping with the spirit of the original story, if not the fine detail – I’m sure I remember the Goblins as being less monstrous in the written version – takes us through Mirkwood, on to the Lake village, and finally into Dwarf city ‘under the mountain’. Meanwhile, Gandalf has gone off to investigate the tombs of the Nazgul, and to look into Dol Guldur, where a Shadow is walking…

This is a fast-moving adventure, despite being over two and a half hours long. I kept checking the elapsed time, just in case I was approaching a cliffhanger, only to find there was much more time to go. Note that the end credits take up ten minutes, so adjust your expectations accordingly. It really is an epic story told in an epic way.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This trilogy is moving from strength to strength!, 17 Aug 2014
By 
Laura Hartley (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
Although An Unexpected Journey was a very impressive film, I still firmly believe that The Lord of the Rings trilogy is much better, despite the fact that it was made over ten years prior to The Hobbit and with the release of the second instalment of The Hobbit, I still stand by that. Although perhaps more visually impressive, the use of computer generated effects is also much more obvious and things are less 'real' than in Lord of the Rings. What I do love about this, however, is the vibrancy that these effects bring to the film. Both The Desolation of Smaug and An Unexpected Journey are such colourful and vibrant films and this really stands out to me. Whether the scenes are full of dark magic, Smaug's orange fire or the green Shire the picture on screen always looks incredible. It's so nice to see familiar places from The Lord of the Rings trilogy made even more impressive by the use of modern technology, in addition to the fact that The Hobbit is set before LoTR thus these places are much 'younger' in this story anyway.

In term's of plot, being the middle instalment I feel that this film was much more developed that An Unexpected Journey which did much for setting up the world of The Hobbit but not much for developing the plot. Of course, the big plot point that is introduced in this film is Smaug himself, a fearsome dragon who sleeps on a bed of Dwarf gold. The voice of Smaug is absolutely perfect, giving off an incredibly dangerous and evil feel and every time Smaug spoke it sent shivers down my spine. Benedict Cumberbatch has proved that even when you can't see him on screen, he's still incredibly talented. There are a few different plot strands running through this film but they all fit together nicely meaning that there's very little room for confusion and it's always quite clear what is going on. Although I have read the book, it was a very long time ago and I'm glad to see that it's still easy to keep up with the plot even if you don't have any prior knowledge of Middle Earth or Tolkein's world. That said, you will almost certainly have to watch this film after having seen An Unexpected Journey otherwise the full impact of the quest that Bilbo is on will not be realised. Despite the fact that there's nothing explicitly 'funny' in this trilogy, there are numerous humorous elements throughout which help to stop this film from becoming a horribly, dark tale.

The cast in this trilogy is very strong with numerous famous names and a few familiar faces from Lord of the Rings, most notably Legolas. Although Legolas is supposed to be younger in The Hobbit, somehow the effects make him look like he has aged instead which is disappointing. I've found that Legolas' character seems to be rather different in The Hobbit, almost more cold than his later self in LoTR and I don't know whether this was intentional or not. It is a shame that we don't see more of either Gandalf or Legolas in this film as it is these subtle ties to the original LoTR trilogy that make these films all the better for existing Tolkein fans. Ian McKellen's Gandalf is much the same as he is in LoTR so obviously he is a superb character the little screen time that he has in this film still makes a mark.

Martin Freeman continues to play Bilbo Baggins and he does so just as well as he did in the first film. He makes an excellent Bilbo managing to be both a bumbling idiot and an incredibly intelligent hobbit both at the same time. His character is brings both humour and humility to this film the audience really roots for him. Of course, this trilogy is all about Bilbo's adventure and Jackson has managed to perfectly balance the film between focusing on Bilbo himself and the rest of his comrades, who are also incredibly important. The entire group of Dwarfs are also made up of very good actors, though it is difficult to distinguish between different Dwarfs but as a collection you can't help but love them. It is particularly nice to see Stephen Fry in this film who only has a few short minutes of screen time but he also makes a lasting impression.

The action sequences are not just made up of mind-numbing fights but highly exciting and dramatic scenes. During a particularly stressful fight between some orcs and elves I was literally sat with my hands covering my mouth, with my heart pounding for the safety of the elves. I found myself incredibly drawn into this film, much more than I thought I would be and the whole process of watching this trilogy is quite an experience.

This film is very, very, very long. Almost three hours long, in fact. It is a little slow to get started, but once you've made it through the first 45 minutes or so, you stop noticing time passing as it's just action packed amazingness for the next two hours. There are action scenes, romantic scenes, humorous scenes, adventurous scenes, fight scenes - everything that you could wish for in a Tolkein adaptation. There wasn't a single moment in the second half of this film that I was bored in and I was very disappointed when this film came to a close. The way that this story has been cut into three pieces is absolutely perfect for giving audiences enough of a story per film, but leaving them excited enough about the next instalment to ensure that they return to the cinema for the next part. I cannot wait for the third, and final, film in this trilogy to be released as these films are moving from strength to strength and I'm sure that the finale will be stupendous. If you haven't watched The Desolation of Smaug yet then you absolutely must. It is a fantastic film that spreads across so many different genres that it's impossible not to enjoy or be drawn in by it. All in all, I'd highly recommend this film (and trilogy) as it's an excellent example what great acting and special effects can offer audiences.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly songs and tales fall utterly short of your enormity, O Peter Jackson...))), 16 Dec 2013
By 
Maciej "Darth Maciek" (Darth Maciek is out there...) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
I liked this second part of "Hobbit" film trilogy, even if the changes made to the original story become here as large and sometimes as vicious and destructive as Smaug the Magnificent. Below, more of my impressions, with some SPOILERS, which I tried to keep to strict minimum.

First, the good stuff:

1) Visually this film is breath-taking! Mirkwood, Dol Guldur, Erebor, and of course Smaug - pure perfection. Creatures were also very well made, with the attercops (ettercaps) from Mirkwood and Bolg, son of Azog being the most impressive.

2) The excellent casting. Not one mistake, and that includes Evangeline Lilly, who did a great job even if her controversial character Tauriel shouldn't be here at all... (see below). Special acclamation for Stephen Fry as Master of Lake-town of Esgaroth

3) Acoustics and music. Flawless.

4) Certain (but not all - see below) changes and additions to the story were well done and are very welcome, even if they take really big liberties with Tolkien's lore. Amongst them my favourites are the dark tombs in high mountains of Rhudaur and the long sequence in which Gandalf finally discovers who EXACTLY is the master of the "abandoned" fortress of Dol Guldur. I also rather liked the glimpse into the background of Elvish king Thranduil, as it explains why is he such an a-hole...

5) Some of most humorous action scenes. I liked the deliberately over the top character of some of the stunts during supposedly very dramatic fights - it very pleasantly reminds of the lighter tone of "Hobbit" as compared with the much more serious, darker and violent "Lord of the Rings".

6) Some insight into Orcs minds, especially when one of them, made prisoner by Elves, is interrogated... I found this scene very good and I wouldn't mind to hear more from the Orcs to know more of their point of view about all this Middle Earth business...

There were also things which I liked less, even if they can be defended:

1. Tauriel. Peter Jackson shouldn't create her and honestly, Evangeline Lilly shouldn't have accepted this role, because adding such an important character is no more "licentia poetica", this is RAPING Tolkien's books by conceding to political correctness... Nowhere in Tolkien's books are there elvish female warriors - extremely powerful and influent elvish females of course existed, but they were spell-casters and charm-weavers like Galadriel or Luthien, not shield-maidens.

BUT, that being said, considering that what is done is done, I must concede that Tauriel is definitely not half-bad looking and also that the strange game she plays with Legolas and Kili is interesting to watch. She certainly is one kinky, flirtatious wench and maybe even more than that - me I wouldn't be surprised if she was in fact a cynical manipulative vixen, playing poor Kili to try to inflame Legolas feelings and therefore bed her way into royalty...

2. Master of the Lake-town. In the book he was greedy and cowardly but he was an elected leader respected for his ability. Why destroying completely this character and make him a kind of little tyrant? BUT, on another hand, that gives Stephen Fry an occasion to fully deploy his great talent...

But then there were also some things and changes which simply went too far and can NOT be forgiven:

1. Portrayal of humans and their dwellings. Both Bree and Esgaroth are really kind of disgusting, with mud, waste and dirt everywhere, as opposed to perfectly neat cities of Elves, Dwarves and Hobbits. Sapristi, even the supposedly evil fortress of Dol Guldur, infested by orcs, wargs and attercops, is not as piggishly disgusting as those two human cities! And most of people living there are ugly and wear horrible, colourless, dirty rags! This was already a little bit annoying in "Lord of the Rings", in which we saw people from Rohan and even from mighty Minas Tirith dressed as beggars in deep mourning - here that is really too much!

2. Beorn. Even if he looks impressive in both of his shapes, his character was comprehensively jarjarbinksed and for some reason Peter Jackson deprived us of one of the merriest scenes in the book (the one in which Gandalf tells Beorn the story by introducing more and more dwarves...). Let's not lose all hope however - maybe at least this scene can be somehow re-introduced in the extended version...

3. Too many useless, repetitive fights between Elves and Orcs. All those scenes could be assets rather than issues, if the Orcs were able to score at least one point from time to time - but in this film they are completely hapless sword and arrow fodder. Many dozens of Orcs appear in fights in this film and even if they always come loaded for bear and have the numbers for them all they achieve is to bring down one elf and inflict a wound on one dwarf... Then, if they are so pathetically clueless warriors, why even run away from them!? That one sided character of fights makes them finally boring...

4. SPOILER HERE! Considerable change in the whole conversation of Bilbo with Smaug and especially the stupendously idiotic Bilbo's decision to reveal himself to the dragon by taking off his ring -followed by Smaug NOT eating him... That was one SUPER BIG BLUNDER which absolutely cannot be forgiven...

CONCLUSION: that part is of a lesser quality than the first one, but still, it is a great show which I enjoyed mightily and all the good things ultimately overweighed the bad ones. I am going to buy the Extended Version DVD as soon as it is available and I will now wait impatiently to see the last part of the trilogy next year.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice, But Spread Thinly Again, 10 Aug 2014
By 
Kinda caught between 2 & 3 stars as yes, as many reviews have already said, unlike Lord of the Rings, which spreads nicely into a trilogy, this is a shorter book & is thus being spread a little thin in each film. While this is far more energetic than the 1st film & less talky, it does go on. Not only is this book spread across 3 films rather unnecessarily, the films themselves are long too. The effects and visuals are great, but it's all a bit inferior to the magnificent Lord of the Rings trilogy. And be prepared, the final scenes with the dragon just go on forever & ever & ever to the point of wanting to fast-forward.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Appalling, Jackson should be ashamed. One star extra for Smaug though, 26 Aug 2014
Roll back ten years and a charming film, well made and not overly reliant on CGI came out (The Fellowship of the Ring) which with it's sequels become an era defining trilogy. What happens a decade later? Well the same filmmaker decides to try and bottle lightning the second time and completely fails to remember what made his earlier films work.

I will give you a clue, it is not about using relentless sweeping and tracking shots, it is not ludicrously overusing CGI, it is not using multiple "amusing decapitations" and it is not having people being saved at the last minute by late arriving hero's over and over again. Oh and it is not barrel escapes!!!

Just a terrible film, made for people who like the cut scenes from computer games. It is like watching the worst part of The Return of the King (the Legolas Elephant kill) writ large for 3 hour's of minding numbing boredom.

I have given it one extra star because Smaug is brilliantly portrayed, but that is it.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Desolation of Smaug, 23 May 2014
By 
T. Cosens (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug [Blu-ray + UV Copy] [2013] [Region Free] (Blu-ray)
The Desolation of Smaug is a supremely crafted fantasy film and improves on part one of The Hobbit in every way. It’s pacier, more action packed and full of incredible moments.

Each action scene is a standout and there is certainly no filler here. The dwarves continue on their dangerous journey to The Lonely Mountain encountering the Spiders of Mirkwood and wood elves along the way. The escape from Mirkwood provides us with one of the most thrilling action scenes from both The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings. Peter Jackson knows how to set a scene and this one just flows so perfectly that you are easily swept up in the action unfolding.

The camera never stays still but you are always able to see what is going on. Orcs jump from barrel to barrel, each one containing a dwarf. The orcs are closely followed by the elves picking them off with ease and bouncing from tree to tree. It really is a sight to behold.

From then on the action never really stops. Where the Desolation of Smaug really succeeds is in showing us something new. Part one suffered from a feeling of de ja vu. It was a little too familiar. DOS on the other hand takes us to new locations including the formidable Mirkwood and grimy Laketown.

However it is with Smaug that DOS really does soar. A towering achievement, if they got Smaug wrong the whole film would have crashed in spectacular style. A character so memorable and so intriguing he glues you to the screen for the entire third act. Superbly played by Cumberbatch and bought to life by some stunning special effects Smaug is the pinnacle of this trilogy in the same vein Gollum was with the Lord Of The Rings.

Bilbo’s interaction with the dragon is also on par with his riddling with Gollum. Both characters trying to outwit each other in a battle to stay alive. The final action scenes within the mountain are again superb and is easily a standout of the entire saga.

Desolation Smaug simply brings The Lord of The Rings back to where it belongs. Focussing on the characters and the action and not feeling drawn out or padded out. If you were unsure about The Hobbit then let the Desolation of Smaug reinstate your love of Middle Earth!

In a word, stunning!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars As tedious as the first hobbit movie, 13 Aug 2014
Has the same problems as the first Hobbit movie: no character or plot development, just tedious chasing and ludicrous fight scenes.
Peter Jackson has clearly not bothered to spend much time WRITING this before shooting. 13 dwarves & 1 hobbit take on armies of hulking orcs & come out unscathed except one gets an arrow in his leg - downright STUPID!
In the LOTR movies the writers went to great lengths to make clear the background & motivations of various characters (Gandalf feels inadequate to Saruman, Faramir desperate to impress his father, Wormtongue lusts after Eowin etc.) and how they shape events. - here you get to know or care NOTHING about this lot. The makers chose to expand to 3 movies not to add to the story but merely to add more DUMB action scenes and prolong the TEDIOUSNESS.
I guess the makers will still make their profits because of the LOTR legacy - but all this production/CGI has been WASTED.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I like it because it's 'together' with Lord of the Rings ..., 13 Aug 2014
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I like it because it's 'together' with Lord of the Rings films which i LOVE but i have to admit the Hobbit films have been stretched to almost breaking point to get three films out of what is essentially a tiny book. Special effects are great though.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A little long-winded, 27 Aug 2014
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Good but a little long-winded. The Lord of the Rings trilogy needed three films to tell the story properly. The Hobbit fills far fewer pages and the film story sequences seem stretched, almost to the point of boring at times.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars NOT Extended Edition !, 25 Aug 2014
By 
A. Al-salem - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug [Blu-ray + UV Copy] [2013] [Region Free] (Blu-ray)
BOO! Warner Brothers YET AGAIN tries to trick us into buying the movie twice ! This is NOT the extended edition ! Wait for the extended edition before being tricked into buying the standard edition !
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