Bilbo’s B&E


Movie Poster

Biblo and his friends the dwarves continue their adventure to find the city of the dwarves where they find the evil dragon Smaug and are confronted with difficulties along the way.

Julian Martell, Staff Writer

Release Date: December 13, 2013

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Director: Peter Jackson

Stars: Martin Freeman, Sir Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Benedict Cumberbatch, Orlando Bloom, Evangeline Lilly

Our Rating: B+

Peter Jackson captivated the hearts and minds of hundreds of thousands of people back in 2001 when he released the first film of the Lord of the Rings franchise – The Fellowship of the Ring. The following two films, as well as the book series that inspired them, would then subsequently create one of the single largest and oldest fanbases in the world to date. Then in 2012, Jackson stunned the world again with his planned release of 3 George Lucas-esque pre-sequels, The Hobbit franchise, which was to be based entirely upon the single, massive first book of the series. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey turned out to be an enormous success, and so is The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.

This film picks up more or less where the last Hobbit movie left off, which is with Gandalf (Sir Ian McKellan), Bilbo (Martin Freeman), and the dwarves being chased by Orcs and getting ever closer to the Lonely Mountain. As the film begins, they receive some help from Beorn (Mikael Persbrandt), a skin-changer that shifts into the form of a giant black bear. After Gandalf parts from their company for reasons yet to be explained, the group gets ambushed by giant spiders in the forest of Mirkwood, only to be saved and then subsequently imprisoned by the Elves. After a daring escape involving whitewater rafting inside of empty wine casks while being shot at by Orcs, the group meets up with a man called Bard (Luke Evans) downriver, who smuggles them into the city of Dale. After receiving a grand farewell from the townspeople, the dwarves split up: one group accompanies Bilbo to the Lonely Mountain while the other stays behind in Dale. While searching for the Arkenstone inside of Erebor, the ancient dwarven stronghold, Bilbo accidentally awakens Smaug (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch). From there, it all goes downhill!

As merely a chapter in the Hobbit franchise, there isn’t much to say about this singular film other than the fact that Peter Jackson’s cliffhangers are only bearable because, even though they cut you off at the end of the movie, they do not leave you with too many tiny loose ends. In terms of character development, Jackson’s introduction and subsequent manipulation of the new character Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly) is near perfect. Her interaction with the previously relatively unimportant character Kili (Aidan Turner) adds some fresh new life to the story and leaves you desperately hoping that it works out (AND: I ship them so hard). Adding Benedict Cumberbatch as the voice of the dragon Smaug, though, was just the tip of the iceberg.

In the end, the movie itself was great. The characters had dimension, the plot was properly segmented, and the progression of events made sense. I couldn’t ask for much more in a film. Actually, strike that. I think the film was slightly lacking in the musical department, particularly with forming a memorable score. Granted, it worked just as well without one, but it probably would’ve added some extra dimension to it.