Probably the last movie I will write a review of for the year, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is pure treat for a fan of high fantasy like I am. I feel that writer and director Peter Jackson has such a level of mastery and understanding of J.R.R. Tolkien’s world that he can take as many liberties as he wishes for the film and it would totally within the landscape of Middle Earth and we would accept it. He’s such a brilliant filmmaker that he understands that he does not have to limit himself in structuring The Hobbit as a regular movie. He completely understands that with the success of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, that people will come to watch The Hobbit trilogy and take it for whatever he gives us as long as the world rings true (which it does), and that it is filled to the brim of this magical world (which it is).
In fact, Peter Jackson had decided to tell more than what I remember in the book and added stories from indexes and short stories that came after the publication of The Hobbit (still canon to Tolkien’s Middle Earth) to expand the narrative and even added the Sylvan Elf Tauriel which is an original character of Jackson’s and co-writers Philippa Boyens and Fran Walsh. So intrinsic are Boyens, Walsh, and Jackson to the world of Middle Earth that Tauriel does not stick out like a sore thumb but finds her place within this magical world.
My review of the film can be found here: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug: Indulgences We Like.
I will say, though, that the reason why I knew this would be my favourite instalment in the trilogy is the full reveal of Smaug, the fire-breathing dragon that took the home of the Dwarves. Voiced by the amazing Benedict Cumberbatch (who also did facial and arm work that the animators eventually worked over with CGI), Smaug becomes alive and is as fearsome and magnificent as I would hope it would be.
And the theme song I See Fire by Ed Sheeran is a magnificent song that I immediately bought the song off of iTunes the moment I got home and played it over and over again. I LOVE THIS SONG.
Sure, it’s really long and it’s completely plot-driven without any real character development except for several characters who are not really intrinsic to the main plot structure of the story but I didn’t care. I loved it. I loved every moment of the film and I’m happy that Peter Jackson decided to be indulgent and let go of conventional cinematic structures to give us a full immersion in the magical world of Middle Earth. Very happy about it.
Can’t wait for the day when my brother gets all the DVDs and we’d end up holed up in his place one weekend to see the whole trilogy all over again, camped out in his living room, and just enjoying it again and again and again. We’ve done that for The Lord of the Rings trilogy before. We’ll probably do it for The Hobbit.
That’s just how we roll.