The Desolation of Smaug – In contrast to the titular declaration of Smaug there is a distinct deprivation of Smaug, fundamentally detrimental to the dramatization of Smaug that, in its deference of the denouement of Smaug, subsequently renders The Desolation of Smaug a decisive disappointment of Smaug.
In the second instalment of Bilbo’s shenanigans, my tolerance for dwarfish matters: all things bearded and quest-bound, began to wane. Whilst many have declared this an improvement on An Unexpected Journey, I found the bumbling heroics (now knowingly more humorous in tone) of the cartoonish cast of dwarfs uninteresting, bordering on tedious. Their characters, far from seeming developed or interesting, are instead comfortably coasting through broad and slapstick strokes of personality; one dimensional and hard to care about. Granted, Tolkein is not renown for his nuanced psychological sensitivity…Oishkin son of Tibble, successor to the throne of obscurely phonetic elfish enigma is about as far as introspection goes. However, now, without the genuinely likeable chemistry that Peter Jackson found in LOTR and its terrific actors, this pilgrimage of dwarfs to a mountain – despite its vertiginous climbs, incessant chase sequences and dramatic camera swoops – becomes close to repetitive. The feeling arises that we have seen it before and, in Lord of the Rings, we have seen it better. Yes, it is visually stunning in places – and yes Martin Freeman makes a brilliant Bilbo, but this outweighed by an over indulgent length, continual and unrelenting action, a lack of emotional connection, a surplus (excluding Martin Freeman) of the hammy, pseudo Shakespearian and bellowing school of acting…and the irritating bloat of action that distances us from the climactic dragon. That, and I miss Gollum. 6.5/10