Saturday, 9 August 2014

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)

"There is even talk... Of an election!!!"

It's hard to say much about this middle part of the trilogy without rehashing things I've already said about the previous film, well-made and good though the film is. Again, it's overlong but gets away with it. And again it's good in the same way as the Lord of the Rings films were good, but less likely to attract the attention of the academy due to lack of novelty.

Not that I mean this as any kind of negative criticism, but this film is more of the same, a splendid turn from Stephen Fry aside. Again, we have the parallel stories of Smaug's gold and the "Necromancer" actually being Sauron. The latter of these two plot threads is essentially what pads out the film, along with a greater emphasis on the dwarves' culture and history (they aren't just after gold, as they essentially were in the novel) and fleshing out the nature of the city of Dale. And then there's the Elven stuff, and Legolas. There's even a bit of political allegory, given the isolationist and Neville Chamberlain-like policies of the Elven king in the face of an obvious Hitler analogue

(Legolas, is, of course, a Wood Elf. Fitting, as there's always a touch of plywood to Orlando Bloom's performance. Boom boom.)

Probably the highlight of the film is Bilbo's awakening of Sauron. Which not only looks amazing but is absolutely made by the excellent voice work of Benedict Cumberbatch. It's odd, of course, to see him paired in this context with Martin Freeman, his erstwhile Baker Street chum, but these scenes are superb. 

It's a superb film, really, and the ending has you on the edge of your seat. At least, it does until Ed bloody Sheeran opens his stupid mouth...

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