We pick up the adventure of 12 dwarves, Gandalf and Bilbo Baggins as they’re being stalked by a pack of orcs and we follow them to the lair of the evil dragon Smaug.
Where to start with The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug? It’s pretty, bloody awesome really. Visually it’s stunning and the 3D cinematography lends itself perfectly to bringing this ‘fantasy’ world very much to life. The choreographed fight scenes are incredible as well and the acting is, as in the first movie, excellent.
You could enjoy this film without having seen the first Hobbit film, or indeed any of Jackson’s previous LOTR films, but it does help. If, for not other reason than the fact that your eyes and brain will have some idea of the kind of visual feast that’s going to be searing into them when you sit in the darkened theatre. It really is a stunningly beautiful piece of work.
Also, there’s a properly intense level of swordplay to be found in this film. The fight scenes in the first Hobbit film occasionally edged on the almost slapstick side and didn’t feel as visceral as it had on the LOTR films. This time round though, you’re going to see plenty of orcs having legs, arms and heads chopped off and being spitted to trees with arrows.
Every actor in this film is great – except of course Orlando Bloom, who couldn’t act his way out of a paper bag. Doesn’t ruin it though, not by a longbow shot.
Starring: Martin Freedman, Ian McKellan, Richard Armitage| 161mins | M15+ | Out Boxing Day
Four out of Five Stars. Good for: If you’re a fan of things that look amazing and, or, dragons!