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Missing Smaug in "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug”│

Missing Smaug in “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug”

What would you expect if character’s name appears in the title? You would expect him to be in center of the film’s narrative. Well, at least I did. But alas, the door-eating, gold-hogging dragon with Benedict Cumberbatch’s voice doesn’t appear until the last 30 minutes of the almost three-hour CGI-fest.

This film is a sequel to last year’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey which was an adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s novel The Hobbit. The film serves as a prequel to the LOTR (Lord of The Rings) trilogy which was shown several years ago. It’s a fantasy-action-adventure film directed by Peter Jackson and stars Martin Freeman (Sherlock’s John Watson) in the title role as Bilbo Baggins, Frodo Baggins’ uncle (of The Lord of the Rings trilogy). Other members of the principal cast are Ian Mckellen as Gandalf, Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield, Benedict Cumberbatch as both Smaug’s voice and motion capture, as well as the Necromancer’s (Sauron), Evangeline Lilly as Tauriel, and Lee Pace as Thranduil.

The pacing was mercilessly slow as usual but the CGI in generous proportions was enough to keep the audience entertained. I was able to watch this in 3D and it was worth it, especially the fight scenes where objects fly toward the screen and one feels like one’s about to get hit. The majestic sight featuring the terrain of New Zealand in playful angles and hair-raising Harryhausen-esque arachnids are quite enough to keep the audience glued to their seats and jolt them awake when they feel the urge to sleep. The films Avatar and Gravity made this trend of raising the quality ladder of visuals to compliment a turtle-paced narrative of the story.

Before I got to see the dragon, I witnessed thrice as many orcs from the first film trying to decapitate our heroes. But wait, these orcs are not even in the book, neither was Tauriel. Although, the elven Tauriel was an exciting addition to spice things up.

Regrettably, the cliffhanger ending wasn’t well orchestrated enough to make you want  more. The film didn’t climax at all and the buildup towards the end was really quite nil. I felt a bit shortchanged story-wise when the credits began to roll.

The emphasis on the element of romance might just be what is needed in the third and the last movie in this trilogy to salvage the protagonist’s lack of presence and charisma in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. The last movie perhaps will give us more of Smaug flying around while destroying things instead of snoring and giving litanies.

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