Last night I had the absolute pleasure of watching The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug. Part 2 of The Hobbit trilogy, written and directed once again by the superb Peter Jackson, is an epic fantasy adventure that returns us to the wonderful land of Middle Earth.
At the Prancing Pony Inn in Bree, Gandalf the Grey persuades Thorin Oakenshield to obtain the Arkenstone to unite the dwarves, and suggests that a stealthy burglar may be needed to steal the jewel back from Smaug.
One year later, Thorin and his company are being pursued by Azog and his Orc party down the Carrock following the events of the previous film. After Bilbo informs the group that a bear is also tracking them, Gandalf ushers them along to the nearby home of Beorn to seek his aid; Beorn is a skin-changer whom has taken the form of the bear. That night, Azog is summoned to Dol Guldur and instructs his son Bolg to take over the hunt for Thorin. The following day, the company reaches Mirkwood where Gandalf discovers Black Speech graffiti imprinted on an old ruin, and abruptly leaves without explanation. He cautions them to remain on the path and wait for him before entering the Lonely Mountain. However, they lose their way and are caught by Giant Spiders. Bilbo, with the help of the One Ring, sets about freeing the Dwarves, which results in him dropping the ring; Bilbo begins to learn of the corrupting influence it has on him after brutally killing a spider to retrieve it.
Meanwhile, the Wood Elves arrive, led by Legolas and Tauriel, who in turn capture the Dwarves. They are then imprisoned following an altercation with the Elvenking Thranduil, only to be packed into empty wine barrels and sent downstream by Bilbo, who had evaded capture. While being pursued by the Elves, they are ambushed by Bolg and his Orc party and in the ensuing chaos Kili is wounded. Thranduil then seals off his kingdom when he learns that “The One” has returned, while Legolas and Tauriel leave to assist the Dwarves. Meanwhile, Gandalf meets with Radagast to investigate the tombs of the Nazgûl, which are found empty.
The company are then smuggled into Esgaroth by Bard, where the descendants of Dale now reside. Thorin promises the Master of Lake-town and its people a share of the mountains treasure, and receive a grand farewell. However, an injured Kili is forced to stay behind, tended by Oin, Fili, and Bofur; it is also revealed that Bard is a descendant of the last ruler of Dale, and possesses the last black arrow capable of defeating Smaug. Meanwhile, Gandalf returns to Dol Guldur to investigate further while Radagast leaves to inform Galadriel of their discovery at the tombs. He finds the ruins infested with Orcs and is subsequently attacked by Azog. While attempting to escape, the Necromancer reveals itself and a duel erupts between the two.
Once the remaining company reaches the Lonely Mountain, Bilbo discovers the hidden entrance and is sent to retrieve the Arkenstone, only to awaken Smaug. In Laketown, Bard attempts to bring the black arrow to the town’s launcher, but is arrested in the process, so his son hides the arrow. Kili, Fili, Oin, Bofur and Bard’s daughters are attacked by Bolg and his Orc party, who have infiltrated the town in search of Thorin. Legolas and Tauriel arrive soon after and fend off the Orcs. Legolas then pursues Bolg, while Tauriel remains to tend to Kili, who is revealed to have developed feelings for her. Meanwhile, a defeated Gandalf watches as Azog and the Orc army march off toward the Lonely Mountain, now aware of the Necromancer’s true identity as Sauron.
While being hunted by Smaug, Bilbo and the Dwarves trick him into rekindling the forges; they attempt to kill the dragon by burying him alive in molten gold. However, Smaug emerges and stumbles out of the mountain determined to destroy Lake-town and its people for aiding the Dwarves. He then takes to the air as Bilbo watches in horror at what they have unleashed.
It was an amazing film, with excellent visuals throughout, entertaining comedy moments thrown in, and top quality acting throughout. Everyone performed well, though praise must be heavily given to Martin Freeman and Aiden Turner for their great portrayals of Bilbo and Kili. Evangeline Lily was excellent as Tauriel, and Luke Evans was brilliant as Bard (and Girion). However, my favourite performance came from an old favourite, the special guest appearance of Orlando Bloom – once again giving a terrific performance. It’s an excellent adventure, and one I highly recommend to everyone.
Thanks for reading.