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Not Enough Hobbit in “Hobbit #2”

Review by Dr. Bob Hieronimus of “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” released in theaters on December 13, 2013

Our only complaint about this film was there was not enough screen time for the hobbit Bilbo. Other than that, we loved every minute of this film. Yes, it’s longer than it needs to be, but those of us who are diehard Tolkien fans simply relish every saturated moment we can get when we can pretend we are actually in Middle Earth.

So in stretching The Hobbit novel into three long films, it makes perfect sense to me that the addition of a kick-ass, arrow-slinging elf played by the adorable Evangeline Lilly was a good way to do it.  Interesting trivia note, in this film Evangeline Lilly plays the love interest of Orlando Bloom’s character, while when she worked on Lost she became the real-life love interest of Dominic Monaghan, the actor who played Merry in the original Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Because the character of Bilbo Baggins is the only hobbit seen in this second part of the Hobbit trilogy, I wish he’d been given more lines and there had been more revealed about how hobbits differ from the other races.  These differences are some of the most charming and driving elements of the novels, and the only essence I felt missing from this installment.  When watched as a whole, however, I’m sure these issues will feel more balanced.

We also particularly loved the depiction of the dragon Smaug, which is certainly the result of the special effects genius work of Richard and Tonia Taylor and crew at WETA Workshop.  Richard has joined us several times on 21st Century Radio® to share his first-hand accounts of creating Middle Earth with their pioneering digital technology, prosthetics, makeup, costumes, and miniatures.  This multiple-Oscar-winning team made it all, so it’s no wonder Smaug looks so realistic that we got through the whole film without once pausing to notice it was a special effect and not the real thing. Listen over at our special mini-site for TolkienInterviews.com!

The action rolls along at a good pace, and at the end of two hours and 45 minutes it didn’t feel long.  The 3-D effects were just enough to make it worth seeing this film in theaters wearing glasses.  Here’s a tip for the best enjoyment of 3-D movies from my friend Chris Kaltenbach of the Baltimore Sun: sit in the center of the row and as close to the front as you can. Wow!

Just like with everything I’ve seen of Peter Jackson’s, I give this film 10 stars!  Thank you very much for another job well done.  Now, here I sit in anticipation looking forward to the day when your third Hobbit is released on extended version DVD, and I can enjoy an 18-hour marathon viewing of the entire series from beginning to end.


See the trailer: