The Desolation of Smaug. I can’t begin to describe the epicness of this one. Can I also say that I thought it was way better than the first Hobbit movie which to me was a grand and endless chase, with events that just seemed….random. Oh and more Gollum. It’s not epic in the way that the Two Towers was – massive armies clashing, fighting like there’s no tomorrow or panoramic war scenes but Hobbit 2 had lots of substance packed into it which in itself made it epic. and I must say, there’s a lot of screen time that can be dedicated to other things when Gollum isn’t in the picture ( yes he is key, but quite uninteresting to watch after awhile). So the story continues with the company of dwarves and Gandalf being halfway on their journey towards the Lonely Mountain where the dwarves want to reclaim their grand mountain kingdom from Smaug and restore it to former glory. Tolkien must have been inspired by ‘ Hall of the Mountain King’ :P.

I thoroughly enjoyed the different facets that this instalment had to offer about Middle Earth. We got to see more of Middle Earth- the Woodlands, Lakeside. the dark, secret place where Sauron was breeding his army of auks, the tomb of one of the 9 ring wraiths as well as the mountain kingdom of the Dwarves and it was beautiful. Kudos for being able to really bring Middle Earth to life- effects, costumes, scenery all looked amazing. Yay New Zealand! Also,  so interesting to be able to see what exactly were the flaws of the older generations prior to LOTR characters also bear the characteristics that eventually led to the rise of darkness. Greed, Pride and Indifference. Gosh love the connections to LOTR 🙂 All in all, it was a pretty magical experience that really sucked you into the larger world of Middle Earth. Smaug was a pretty convincing dragon too! ( not like Saphira in Eragon) and I must say, Cumberbatch did a pretty solid job with his voice 🙂 I was convinced that Smaug was capricious and yet knowledgeable and ancient at the same time. Can’t believe that was his actual voice. I also loved all the side stories. The side plots that were going on at the same time were also well developed and action packed enough to be interesting. Yet at the same time, it wasn’t just action for the sake of slotting in some fighting (referring to the Legolas/Tauriel/Kili love line and Gandalf’s discovery of Sauron). Although this Legolas/Tauriel section was apparently added in and not original, I appreciated being able to be given some background into Legolas as we know next to nothing about him in LOTR other than that he is a pretty skilful elvish warrior. Of course, Gandalf’s discovery of Sauron makes perfect sense as well and I love how this foreshadows what happens in LOTR- It shows how Gandalf encountered Sauron ( Gandalf did say at some point in LOTR that he had seen the eye) and some insight into Sauron’s rise to power.  There was alot going on but the movie still managed to maintain its focus on the quest of the dwarves. I guess one of the advantages of it being the second movie out of a trilogy is that it’s perfectly justifiable to not have to wrap things up entirely  and so the open ended-ness of the plotlines have the benefit of the doubt. Hopefully all that is well ends well in the last movie.

Oh a particular scene I very much enjoyed was the fight between Gandalf and Sauron. Had a random thought while watching it. Sauron goes, ‘ there is no light that can overcome darkness’ and there’s Gandalf trying to use his white light with all his might but it’s not enough and finally gets captured. Just thought it was a neat parallel to the never ending battle with sin in us. Truly, by ourselves, we don’t have enough ‘ light’ to overcome darkness…only God can give us that light :).

Of course, the comments I have on this movie are coming from someone who has NEVER read the Hobbit and so I can’t relate to the disappointment or afford to be appalled at omissions and additions to the original story and thankfully, perhaps.  This movie definitely deserves a second watch just so that I can absorb everything in. 🙂