Our epic journey continues in the second installment of The Hobbit. This sequel I felt fell a little short. One of these reasons is because I was under the understanding that The Hobbit was only going to be two movies long. Without giving anything away it is clear by the ending that this is the middle of a trilogy.
We don’t quite pick up where we left our favorite dwarfs in the first installment. We get a bit of a flashback into what led up to the first movie, which was nice. After seeing how Gandulf started the journey we reunite 12 months later to kind of where we left off.
This movie is an epic adventure, no doubt. The landscapes used for the movie are often breathtaking, at least when we are not covered in darkness. The fight scenes are intense. My favorite fight scene is in a forest with all the dwarfs and our hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, of course, fighting giant spiders. They fight from the tops of the forest canopy down to the forest floor. The visuals are amazing. This fight scene along with one on a river are reason enough to splurge for the 3D ticket. I did not watch it in 3D and I am usually not a fan, but if you have the extra $2, DO IT!!! I personally do not feel the story was good enough to go back and see it in 3D, but if you haven’t seen yet, I don’t think you’ll regret it.
The characters draw you in and I could feel my emotions come and go along with the story. There are moments that I was almost literally on the edge of my seat, but one thing that disappointed me, was the lack of Smaug. The subtitle of this film is “The Desolation of Smaug”. “The Hobbit” ended with Smaug opening his eye and you would have thought Smaug would have been at the beginning of the film. Smaug doesn’t show up until an hour and a half to hour and forty-five minutes into the film!!! The scenes with Smaug are again visually amazing and will leave you on the edge of your seat.
There is a lot in this movie about prophecy being fulfilled. The Dwarfs are getting closer to The Lonely Mountain and the people of Lake-town are excited to see them succeed because it will mean a better life for them. This time of year I cannot help but think of what people surrounding the birth of Christ must have been thinking and feeling. It also reminds me of what Jesus said to John the Baptist’s followers in Matthew 11:2-6 “Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, “Are you he who is to come, or shall we look for another?” And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is he who takes no offense at me.” What good and amazing news it is to hear and see prophecy fulfilled, especially the prophecy that has been fulfilled through our Lord, Jesus Christ.
Desolation is defined as, “a state of complete emptiness or destruction”. Well, this movie didn’t really have a lot of destruction and the only emptiness it had was the way I felt leaving the theater. It is the second third of a trilogy and feels very much like the middle of the story. It’s beginning is weak and totally needs the first movie as it is it’s true beginning. The ending of the movie was abrupt and leaves you hanging at the height of the plot. This movie as a stand alone movie is horrible. It needs the first film and the future last installment to really mean anything. It will be a good movie, when the last part of the trilogy ends the story for us.
Another issue that I have is Gandulf leaves the group and seems to go on his own epic adventure, but a good reason for doing this is never really revealed. We flash back to Gandulf when there is a lull in action with the main plot and we are in need of “excitement”.
Overall I give this movie a 3 out of 5. Mostly because it needs the first and third movies of the trilogy to support it. It is rated PG-13 for sequences of intense fantasy action violence, and frightening images. Worth the 3D ticket for the visuals, at least they were enjoyable.