Every Tolkien book-to-movie adaptation (which by the way was brought to life perfectly, thank you Peter Jackson) develops into a slow pace carefully dissecting each plot and subplot and builds it into a breath-taking progression leaving you in total awe. And with that, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is a Tolkien book-to-movie adaptation indeed.
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With the exception of the very Chaucery-ish feeling when Gandalf (played by Ian McKellen) meets the exiled Dwarf King Thorin Oakenshield (played by Richard Armitage) in a dark pub, the movie picks exactly where ‘Unexpected Journey’ left. After Bilbo Baggins (played by Martin Freeman) took an adventure and deserted his lusciously comfortable hole in the Shire, he continues the quest to the Lonely Mountain and steal the Arkenstone. However, a ferocious creature blocks his way. A dragon named Smaug (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch) has roosted in the former Dwarf palace carefully guarding his plunder for over a hundred years. In this journey, Bilbo joins the Dwarves of Erebor to a voyage that twisted the very fabric of their fates battling giant spiders, elves and orcs while trying to win a war against themselves and an unknown enemy.
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There is one thing of great note in The Desolation of Smaug: slow. With the Hobbit book version being characterized as one of Tolkien’s shortest stories, the film progressed as if it was a separate book in the LOTR franchise. Each plot and subplot was carefully developed making sure each was highlighted and no questions will be asked. Running over two hours and a half, this movie surely tried to bring the book life bit by bit.
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What makes The Desolation of Smaug exciting is that it was perfectly stirred to a point where you could really see the plot thickening as the movie progresses. In the first movie, Unexpected Journey, there was a force that seemed to trouble the whole of Middle Earth. The return of a Necromancer, with immense abilities you can never fathom, made Gandalf really uncomfortable. It is in this reason why he left the Dwarven party and seek to investigate the doom that surrounds Dol Gul Dur. To his surprise, he finds out the true horror that surrounds the abandoned castle, horrors he would never have wanted to believe.
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Of course, this happens as Thorin and the rest of the dwarves evade the orcs that wants to kill them. After Gandalf left them in the entrance of the Mirkwood Forest, the dwarves got really lost and confused. In fact, they ended up tied up and cocooned in giant spider webs. Thanks to Bilbo (and the One Ring), they were spared from being eaten alive by those hungry arachnids. However, it seemed like the Dwarves got some sort of jinx because as they were rescued from a brood of giant man-eating spiders, they fall prisoners to the Elves. Here, we finally lay eyes again on Legolas (Orlando Bloom) and Tauriel (Evangeline Lily). Bilbo, however, eventually rescues his dwarf friends and after a wild rapid river skirmish with the trailing orcs, they wound up in the presence of humans who eventually helped them reach the Lonely Mountain and face Smaug.
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With these two plots simultaneously developing, you could readily feel how complicated and well founded The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is. You could feel two emotions meeting like drawbridges being brought down. You will feel the darkness with the emergence of the Necromancer chilling into your spines, making you want to know more who really was it (the movie answers it, I don’t want to spoil). Meanwhile, while you’re still in the zone of that feeling, a new breed of emotions are injected to you seamlessly. You could feel the rummaging desire of the Dwarves to reclaim their home and kill Smaug. It also gives you a sort of an irked feeling with the dragon’s wit and greatness. In totality, The Desloation of Smaug makes you experience how watching two movies at the same time feels like.
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It is also noteworthy to give credit to the movie producers because they have brought our book imaginations to life. The overall feel of the movie was almost as the same catharsis you feel in the book. Peter Jackson has done a good job of including the treetop scene in the Mirkwood forest. It totally stamped the character of Hobbits, homey creature seeking for comfort and peace. I give all my thumbs up to that. I also felt the chills of Dol Gul Dur, the magnificence of the Elves, the Dickensian habitat of the humans and the furious desolation of Smaug. It’s just fantasy epitomized.
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Over-all, I found The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug a movie that twitches my senses while keeping my eyes glued on something big and dark coming up. It was a complete and nearly successful attempt in bringing to life a universe that existed in our imaginations. The movie brought us to the emotions of the dwarves, the confusion of Bilbo and the fear in all the residents of Middle Earth. It is in that reason, I give The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug a rating of