I was completely and utterly enraptured by Peter Jackson’s original Lord of the Rings trilogy. It was a level of fantasy I had never witnessed before. When it was announced he would be returning to Middle Earth for three new films based on The Hobbit, I was ecstatic. But once I had seen the first film, I was somewhat deflated as it did not seem to capture the magic of the original trilogy. And it wasn’t anything definitive I could put my finger on. There was a lost sense of real peril; things visually looked too neat and tidy. The dwarves were just not the characters who could hold my interest as much as characters from the original trilogy. But I held out hope and it was a good thing I did. The second installment in The Hobbit trilogy, The Desolation of Smaug, is out now on store shelves. Welcome back Middle Earth.
Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) continues his journey with Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen) and the band of dwarves led by Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) to reclaim the dwarf kingdom of Erebor from the dragon Smaug.
Every single area that The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey seemed to miss on was gloriously restored in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. The peril is back, the neat and tidiness is gone and replaced by dirt and grime, and the action is spectacular and on par with any of the monumental scenes from the original trilogy. We can only pray the third installment is as good as this. All the characters are given more time to breathe but without sacrificing action, the addition of the elves and the return of Legolas and fellow elf Tauriel are incredible, and Bilbo’s showdown with the enormous dragon Smaug (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch) is just jaw dropping. And the end scene leading to the third film is the most intense chapter end of the entire saga yet. This is Lord of the Rings at its best and thank God it refound its footing.
The Blu-ray from Warner Home Video is just staggeringly awesome. Perfect color, clarity and detail throughout and a raucous booming soundtrack that is incredibly immersive is enough to blow anyone away in your home theatre. A perfect companion to the films before it, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is a welcome return to the beautiful and dangerous world of Middle Earth. Very highly recommended.
Available now on Blu-ray and DVD.