DVD review: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

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WEB-DVD Review

PG-13, 161 minutes

“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” is now the fifth film to be spun out of the books of J.R.R. Tolkien, so it’s no surprise if casual fans of the sword-and-sorcery universe of Middle-Earth are growing a bit fatigued by now.

If you dismissed the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy as a whole bunch of walking with too many endings, then you might well be put off by the prospect of director Peter Jackson finding three movies worth of material in Tolkien’s earlier, slenderer tome.

I still enjoyed the movie quite a bit, though they’ve ratcheted up the action set-pieces considerably over those in the book, and introduced or expanded a bunch of other characters. The net effect does tend to diminish humble hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) as the central figure of the story.

As the second film in the trilogy opens, Bilbo and his troupe of dwarves have survived a deadly trip over and under goblin-filled mountains, and must now face the daunting Mirkwood Forest rife with giant spiders and less-than-friendly elves. At the end of their journey lies Smaug (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch), the fearsome dragon who usurped the dwarves’ homeland long ago.

Movie: B

 

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