When Gandalf (Ian McKellen) isn’t running off in the secret mission to tie this series to the rise of the flaming evil eye, Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) is yet again busy clumsily saving his crew from the dangers like giant forest spiders and racist elves. But, just as you think it can’t be drawn out any further, we finally meet the man who may just be able to take Smaug the Dragon (Benedict Cumberbatch) down, Bard the Bowman (Luke Evans), in what has to be the worst tourism commercial for a lake resort ever. However, by this point, you are fully hooked and once we finally meet the fire-breathing creature in the title, the whole initial encounter is pretty cool on a full sized cinema screen.
A long with the notches being raised on the various encounters, the music was a bigger plus for the second part, as good as the composer Howard Shore can get. Despite what gripes one might have about the story sticking to the source material, one of the things this movie also did much better on was leaving a cliff hanger where you hate that you have to wait another year to see the conclusion.
About the only gripe I’ve read about that I would give any leeway to is the potential way the third movie is suggesting Smaug will be taken down, which is admittedly not as cool as what I remember when reading the story years ago. Still, it’s a flick that as long as you don’t have to pee half way through, families will enjoy and one I don’t regret as adding to what was a limited list in 2013. In the end, it’s worth four and a half out of five Arkenstones for “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.”
Movie viewing experience courtesy of the Royal Twin Theater of Pauls Valley.