The Desolation of Smaug Gets It Right

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Updated: December 14, 2013
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I did a lot of fantasy reading when I was young because I was the ultimate nerd, I still read a lot of fantasy stuff now, it’s incredibly entertaining, but I have never read J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic The Lord of the Rings books, not a one. It’s safe to say at this point I won’t be reading them and I am just fine with that because the first three movies directed by Peter Jackson were absolutely fantastic, good enough. Then in 2012 director Peter Jackson released the first movie of his latest Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Hobbit. 

From watching the previews I was not convinced this movie would be anywhere near as good as any of the originals. I read reviews, listened to what my friends had to say about the movie and trusted my own senses and did not bother wasting my time watching it. Lucky I didn’t because I finally watched The Hobbit once it hit Netflix (God Bless Netflix) and it was not great, and that’s being kind.

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I understand their needs to be a build up to the story, that’s fine, but there doesn’t need to be a two-hour and some change build up. Safe to say out of all the Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movies, he whiffed on that one pretty bad. 

Then I saw the previews for The Desolation of Smaug, and I was like huh…this might be interesting. 

I kept on seeing previews and this I trusted my judgment and decided I was going to see this movie, and I even looked forward to it. In typical nerd fashion I saw the movie the day it was released at 11am…yes I know at that time you were probably at work wishing your boss would fall down a flight of stairs while I was lounged in a hole in the wall movie theater in the depths of Brooklyn watching a $7 movie. 

Yeah that’s right, 7 American dollars, those types of movie theaters still exist. Granted it’s a seedy movie theater where you are likely to get stabbed and would need a tetanus shot after you leave, but hey times are rough; a bargain is a bargain. Then the movie began, and wow. 

The Desolation of Smaug is great from start to finish, and it was worth all 28 quarters I used to pay for it (Don’t judge me). This movie got it right like the original Lord of the Rings trilogy. It was the same action an adventure from the original trilogy mixed in with some new characters. The cast of Smaug all worked well playing off of each other; it was very well acted. The dwarves were annoying as hell in The Hobbit, but in The Desolation of Smaug I found myself rooting for them at every turn, and they make the film enjoyable to watch. Then there’s my favorite part of all these LOTR movies, those damn Elves. 

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Orlando Bloom is a baaaaaad man. His character Legalos was the best part of the first movies for me. The love I have for Legalos comes from the action junkie that is in me, as it is with most other men who born in the 80’s and raised in the 90’s and watched things get blown up and destroyed in every Jerry Bruckheimer movie.

Who doesn’t like watching bad guys destroyed with swords and bows and arrows and whatever other awesome medieval times weapon in on hand? Not I said the cat. Swords and arrows? I’m all in. 

Then Peter Jackson added Evangeline Lilly to the cast, can this get any better? Lilly plays Tauriel, the head of the Mirkwood Elvan guard and she’s badass then entire movie…and hot, lest we forget that.

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Orlando Bloom and Evangeline Lilly add another fun element to Smaug that was sorely missing in The Hobbit. Between the bickering with the dwarves and fighting off the Orcs, the Elves are a nerds dream. Then Peter Jackson presents us with the man we all came to see, the Dragon (or…reptile?) himself, Smaug. 

I wasn’t sure what to expect from the dragon, and to be honest I had no idea that dragon was even able to speak. After a couple of sentences not only do we find out the dragon can speak, he’s apparently from England and Oxford educated. His vernacular and grammar put me to shame, I felt like I was listening to my literature professor from high school, just big and scaly, well actually same thing, but never mind that. 

The voice of Smaug is done British actor Benedict Cumberbatch. If you don’t know his work then I suggest when you have time get familiar with him. Everything I have seen from Cumberbatch is well done; he’s a brilliant actor.

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Smaug was an added bonus to an already fun-filled two hours of great storyline, excellent acting, really good action scenes, and a wizard. If you found The Hobbit disappointing then you are probably tepid about wasting your time and money on The Desolation of Smaug, and I don’t blame you. 

But I took the chance on it and I was not only pleasantly surprised, but I left the movie thinking that Smaug may be the second best movie out of the five LOTR based movies Peter Jackson has directed. 

So someday next week skip work, find your own $7 dollar movie theater nearby, don’t get stabbed while in there, and enjoy Dwarf hijinks, it’s well worth it.

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