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Review of "THE HOBBIT 2: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG"
By Jayne Waterford
Copyrighted © Jayne Waterford, 2013. Revised: 17th December 2013 26th December 2013 30th December 2013 Modified 31st December 2013 Revised 27th April 2014
Revised ideas: in light of a recent viewing

On the eve of watching the third and last film in the six film franchise I've noticed some thing I am eminently fond of. The extended version of "THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG" (2014), available on DVD, here on referred to as "THE HOBBIT 2 DVD" features my favourite performance by Sir Ian McKellan as Gandalf to date. There's some magical influence Mikael Persbrandt casts of McKellan in his role of the uber male Beorn.

Here, Gandalf impresses me as more of a person with his mind on the job, and it's a fabulously crafted, wonderfully acted mind. Perhaps his walk on his first approach Beorn is my favourite work by McKellan ever. Gandalf has become an empowered man who behaves in a task oriented way. His precarious climb to the door of the tomb of the witch king is also a favourite sequence. He seems more involved in the business of being a man which was more enjoyable.

The respectful intimacy that grows between Gandalf and Beorn as they decide they like each other is also a pleasing character development.

On the down side: the orc scenes do seem to slow the film down. Is it their pace. Is it the bog of machismo attempting to style themselves after other men as opposed to the self-realisation enjoyed by the orcs of Mordor in the "LORD OF THE RINGS" ("LOTR") films.

Martin Freeman.

Enthrawling detail. Laketown's skyline, size and scope.

Bard's coat.

Peter Jackson's sense of spontaneity. Perspective on a crew spread across New Zealand on a scale that would paralyse a lesser man he can construct a scene like a workshop.

The revel of the dragon. It's size.

Fabulous developments in scale technology.

Fatalistic monologue of King Thranduil, "Such is the nature of evil. Out there in the vast ignorance of the world it festers and spreads... Sleepless malice as black as the oncoming wall of night. So it ever was. So it will ever be." Will Thranduil choose Saron's side?

Subtle difference between Alfred, the Master of Lake Town's assistant and Wormtongue. a disgusting bit of fun. Bollocks!

REVIEW: "THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG" ("THE HOBBIT 2") 10/10 by Jayne Waterford

We sat there for almost three hours and it was worth every minute. Stand by for meandering around a favourite subject and spoilers.

1. Azog (performed by Manu Bennett): 15 times better than his penultimate expression in Peter Jackson's THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY" ("THE HOBBIT 1") (2012). Fair enough that the character had been through 15 months of development and 20 incarnations, some of which were used as other characters, for example, Bolg (performed by Lawrence Makoare) and Yazneg (performed by Terry Notary) only to revert to the first design and be motion captured in the final weeks before the premiere. It was quite an achievement. 2013 Azog takes on a lot more of Manu Bennett's face, particularly the eyes. There is just more mailable face to express with and he's marvellous.

2. The music was original, pertaining to the Middle-earth brand and thank fuck for that! Trailers of featured scenes leading up to the release of Peter Jackson's "THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG" (2013) opened with the ships bells of "THE PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN" (2003-2016)

franchise and I'm still losing sleep over the confusion between "THE HOBBIT 1" and early "HARRY POTTER" (2001-2004) films. I was shuddering the same way I shuddered when I was sucked into the first trailer of Smaug released, showing a dragon modelled on Donkey's girlfriend in Andrew Adamson, Kelly Asbury and Conrad Vernon's "SHREK 2" (2004). It really got my how-dare-they going. I had a magnificent protest planned. "Are they so insecure in their own excellence that they have to distract the audience from it!" That's proved unnecessary and even though the music is often tedious and repetitive, at least it keeps me in the right place.

3. The hobbit, Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) brings us up to date as a different Baggins to the one who left Bag End last year. He is clearly competent and confident. He is one of the company and a trusted scout-come-bugler. God Freeman is good!

4. No Gollum (Andy Serkis, who has also become a dazzling second unit director), charming or not.

5. No Elrond (Hugo Weaving) or Galadriel (Cate Blanchett) to speak of.

6. Gandalf (Ian McKellen) comes into his own. I mean he always was on his own, being effective, guarding Middle-earth, sitting in a green-screen room. He

seems to become even ballsier as the film progresses. As he makes his way into the tombs of the high fells we think plucky old fellow isn't he? But as he runs into the necromancer's trap at Dol Goldur, sword brandished, we think, he's ballsy, very ballsy.

Gandalf opens our film with Thorin (Richard Armitage), who passes into Bree, past our director Peter Jackson getting his cameo in early with the ubiquitous carrot. Thorin finds a table and is served by, "Katie," Peter Jackson's daughter who played a hobbit at Ole Took's Mid-Summer's-Eve bash in Hobbiton in "THE HOBBIT 1", here credited as Betsy Butterbur.

This opening scene in The Green Dragon sets the tone of our film. Thorin is menaced by two supposed thugs which sets our tone of foreboding and then he and Gandalf plunge head-long into detail as Gandalf instigates the retaking of the mountain. This is definitely a nerd's film. It's an instalment.

7. The Arkenstone, still interesting. Not only is it a fabulously animated gem but it is a symbol of divine right of rule like the conch gives one the floor in William Golding's "Lord of the Flies" (1955) only possession of it is to be King Under the Mountain. As such it functions like a traditional Catholic symbol, for example that the wine is the blood symbolised in

Eucharist. It was King James I of England who first decreed a Divine Right of Rule in 1597–98, a right appreciated by our current sovereign Queen Elizabeth II. But for my money this right is something like the Catholic Church taking a vote in mediaeval times and deciding that it was commonly believed that The Virgin was a virgin and made it an article of faith after the fact of belief. The English people's understanding of the sovereignty of their ruler was commonly held to be divinely appointed. The divine right to rule was a formal decree of a commonly held belief. However, here Jackson's team have shown us a kingdom which is, "the greatest kingdom in Middle-earth" (narration by Bilbo (Ian Holm) in "THE HOBBIT 1"). During the opening conversation between Gandalf and Thorin we are made to understand that whoever has the Arkenstone IS the King Under the Mountain, is the king of the greatest kingdom of Middle-earth. Only if Thorin possesses the Arkenstone will he be able to unite the eight dwarf kingdoms. For the mean time, it's Smaug. At its worse this appropriation of symbol could devolve to pass the parcel but at its best it finds resonance in our own history, if not Tolkien's.

God Martin Freeman is good. So entertaining. I found myself asking questions about how he was going to tackle expected conundrums and I can't remember the answers. Jackson had his own agenda.

The dwarves wander around, suffering from the hallucinogenic effects of Mirkwood. It's quite amusing. As is Beorn (performed by Mikael Persbrandt) and his ponies and beautiful animals, who were not trained to unfold napkins but were rather, simply beautiful.

Boy's own humour surfaces predominantly in the figure of Kili (Aidan Turner). A gorgeous, kick-ass elf-maid falls for him to the point of committing treason to save his life. Upon waking from his malady, he dumps her.

Stephen Fry's Master of Lake Town is a nuanced despot, worth the money obviously. His side kick is a little close to Wormtongue. But hey, what despot would be complete without one. Lake Town is awful. The Dwarves' solution to the vanquish of Smaug was very clever if the attendant chase did require a little too much PG nick-of-timing and good will on the part of the dragon.

And here we come to a sticking point. "THE HOBBIT" FRANchise is beautifully made. I swear Peter Jackson has employed every employable trades person in New Zealand and thought through every, "thing," on grounds of credibility but then he fluffs the plot, often asking too much of us. For example the injuring of Kili, the introduction of Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly) and Legolas, as if a character played by Orlando Bloom

would settle for playing second fiddle to another male? For that matter the development of dwarves along comic lines going off on a tangent from the "hot dwarves," Thorin's immediate family. "Ori (Adam Brown), Nori (Jed Brophy) and Dori (Mark Hadlow)" just look stupid and not funny. Dwalin (Graham McTavish), now he was funny but McTavish IS funny. They make us struggle with the suspension of disbelief so easily achieved by Fili (Dean O'Gorman), Kili and Thorin. When he doesn't PG it down we don't notice and enjoy ourselves. But in essence we are braced for the next clumsy bit to knock us out of the Middle-earth orbit and the challenge of climbing back in. It's a tedious cycle.

I felt that James Nesbitt as Bofur had more opportunity to shine in "THE HOBBIT 1". He sings the only song that really makes us smile, which he wrote himself and really connects us to the dwarves predicament as homeless in a conversation with Bilbo, as Bilbo is leaving in the cave in the mountains. In the second instalment he wakes up drunk and that's about it.

I was all eyes like I was watching a film starring a fighter, which for some reason makes me able to read faster and take much more information in. So I don't need to see it again. But I will. 10/10

Anticipation of REVIEW: "THE HOBBIT 2: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG" by Jayne Waterford

17th December 2013: OMG! The Weta Team have made Australia wait for the last release date of any country in the world.

Why?

4th December 2013: I LOVE the Tolkien/Jackson franchise.

But with orcs tending towards men and more of the same generally, my shocks are shocked out. What can "THE HOBBIT" franchise offer us from here on hmmm?

Copyrighted ©: Jayne Waterford, 2013.


Peter Jackson's
"THE HOBBIT 2: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG" (2013)
Director Peter Jackson
Screen Play Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson and Guillermo Del Toro
Producers Carolynne Cunningham, Zane Weiner, Fran Walsh and Peter Jackson
Stars Benedict Cumberbatch (Smaug / The Necromancer), Evangeline Lilly (Tauriel), Richard Armitage (Thorin Oakenshield), Orlando Bloom (Legolas), Cate Blanchett (Galadriel), Martin Freeman (Bilbo Baggins), Luke Evans (Bard the Bowman), Ian McKellen (Gandalf), Hugo Weaving (Elrond), Lee Pace (Thranduil), Christopher Lee (Saruman), Aidan Turner (Kili), Andy Serkis (Gollum), Stephen Fry (Master of Laketown), Billy Connolly (Dain Ironfoot), Sylvester McCoy (Radagast the Brown), Dean O'Gorman (Fili), Graham McTavish (Dwalin), Ian Holm (Old Bilbo), James Nesbitt (Bofur), Ken Stott (Balin), Peter Hambleton (Gloin), Mikael Persbrandt (Beorn), Adam
Brown (Ori), William Kircher (Bifur), Jed Brophy (Nori), Stephen Hunter (Bombur), Mark Hadlow (Dori), John Callen (Oin), Jeffrey Thomas (Thror), Michael Mizrahi (Thrain)
Based on the novel by J. R. R. Tolkien
Release Date 26th December 2013
Category Action Adventure
Running Time 161 minutes (2 hours, 41 minutes)
Rating M
Origin Aotearoa
Awards They'd have to win some.
Coda No
https://www.facebook.com/TheHobbitMovie
http://www.thehobbit.com
Distributor Warner Bros. Pictures


Official Blurb "From Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson comes "THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG", the second in a trilogy of films adapting the enduringly popular masterpiece The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien.
The three films tell a continuous story set in Middle-earth 60 years before “The Lord of the Rings,” which Jackson and his filmmaking team brought to the big screen in the blockbuster trilogy that culminated with the Oscar®-winning “THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RERTURN OF THE KING” (2007).

“THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG” continues the adventure of the title character Bilbo Baggins as he journeys with the Wizard Gandalf and thirteen Dwarves, led by Thorin Oakenshield, on an epic quest to reclaim the Lonely Mountain and the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor.

Having survived the beginning of their unexpected journey, the Company continues East, encountering along the way the skin-changer Beorn and a swarm of giant Spiders in the treacherous forest of Mirkwood. After escaping capture by the dangerous Wood-elves, the Dwarves journey to Lake-town, and finally to the Lonely Mountain itself, where they must face the greatest danger of all—a creature more terrifying than any other; one which will test not only the depth of their courage but the limits of their friendship and the wisdom of the journey itself—the Dragon Smaug.

Ian McKellen returns as Gandalf the Grey,

with Martin Freeman in the central role of Bilbo Baggins, and Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield. The international ensemble cast is led by Benedict Cumberbatch, Evangeline Lilly, Lee Pace, Luke Evans, Ken Stott, James Nesbitt, and Orlando Bloom as Legolas. The film also stars (in alphabetical order) John Bell, Manu Bennett, Jed Brophy, Adam Brown, John Callen, Ryan Gage, Mark Hadlow, Peter Hambleton, Stephen Hunter, William Kircher, Lawrence Makoare, Sylvester McCoy, Graham McTavish, Dean O’Gorman, Mikael Persbrandt, and Aidan Turner.

The screenplay for “THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG” is by Fran Walsh & Philippa Boyens & Peter Jackson & Guillermo del Toro, based on the novel by J.R.R. Tolkien. Jackson also produced the film, together with Carolynne Cunningham, Zane Weiner and Fran Walsh. The executive producers are Alan Horn, Toby Emmerich, Ken Kamins and Carolyn Blackwood, with Philippa Boyens and Eileen Moran serving as co-producers.

The creative behind-the-scenes team is led by director of photography Andrew Lesnie, production designer Dan Hennah, conceptual designers Alan Lee and John Howe, editor Jabez Olssen, and hair and makeup designer Peter Swords King. The costumes are

designed by Bob Buck, Ann Maskrey and Richard Taylor. Taylor is also overseeing the design and production of armour, weapons, creatures and special makeup, which are once again being made by the award-winning Weta Workshop. Weta Digital is taking on the visual effects for the film, led by senior visual effects supervisor Joe Letteri. The visual effects supervisor is Eric Saindon, with David Clayton and Eric Reynolds serving as animation supervisors. The music is by Howard Shore.

Under Jackson’s direction, “THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG” was shot in 3D 48 frames-per-second and will be released in High Frame Rate 3D (HFR 3D) in select theaters, other 2D and 3D formats, and IMAX®. Production took place at Jackson’s own facilities in Miramar, Wellington, and on location around New Zealand. Post production took place at Park Road Post Production in Wellington.

New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Present a WingNut Films Production, “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.” “THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG” is a production of New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (MGM), with New Line managing production. The film opens worldwide beginning December 13, 2013. Warner Bros.

Pictures is handling worldwide theatrical distribution, with select international territories as well as all international television distribution being handled by MGM.

©2013 Warner Bros. Ent. All Rights Reserved.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and The Hobbit, and the names of the characters, events, items and places therein, are trademarks of The Saul Zaentz Company d/b/a Middle-earth Enterprises under license to New Line Productions, Inc. The second in a trilogy of films adapting the enduringly popular masterpiece The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien, "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" continues the adventure of the title character Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) as he journeys with the Wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and thirteen Dwarves, led by Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) on an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor." - Warner Bros. Pictures PR

"THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG" World Premiere
"THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG" Official Main Trailer Warner Bros. Pictures
Film Name: "THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG"
Copyright: © 2013 WARNER BROS. ENTERTAINMENT INC. AND METRO-GOLDWYN-MAYER PICTURES INC.
Photo Credit: COURTESY OF WARNER BROS. PICTURES
Caption: A scene from New Line Cinema's and MGM's fantasy adventure "THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG", a Warner Bros. Pictures release.
Film Name: "THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG"
Copyright: © 2013 WARNER BROS. ENTERTAINMENT INC. AND METRO-GOLDWYN-MAYER PICTURES INC.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures
Caption: MARTIN FREEMAN as Bilbo in the fantasy adventure "THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG", a production of New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (MGM), released by Warner Bros. Pictures and MGM.
Film Name: "THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG"
Copyright: © 2013 WARNER BROS. ENTERTAINMENT INC. AND METRO-GOLDWYN-MAYER PICTURES INC.
Photo Credit: COURTESY OF WARNER BROS. PICTURES
Caption: IAN MCKELLEN as Gandalf in New Line Cinema's and MGM's fantasy adventure "THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG", a Warner Bros. Pictures release.
Film Name: "THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG"
Copyright: © 2013 WARNER BROS. ENTERTAINMENT INC. AND METRO-GOLDWYN-MAYER PICTURES INC.
Photo Credit: JAMES FISHER
Caption: No Data
Film Name: "THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG"
Copyright: © 2013 WARNER BROS. ENTERTAINMENT INC. AND METRO-GOLDWYN-MAYER PICTURES INC.
Photo Credit: James Fisher
Caption: (L-R) EVANGELINE LILLY as Tauriel and ORLANDO BLOOM as Legolas in the fantasy adventure "THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG", a production of New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (MGM), released by Warner Bros. Pictures and MGM.
Film Name: "THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG"
Copyright: © 2013 WARNER BROS. ENTERTAINMENT INC. AND METRO-GOLDWYN-MAYER PICTURES INC.
Photo Credit: Mark Pokorny
Caption: (L-R) MARTIN FREEMAN as Bilbo and JOHN CALLEN as Oin in the fantasy adventure "THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG", a production of New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (MGM), released by Warner Bros. Pictures and MGM.