The second instalment in the Hobbit series is as engaging as the first. Although the film met with some of the same criticism as last year regarding its length, neither times did I notice the time dragging. Incidentally, though, the people I’ve spoken to that did think it was too long hadn’t read the book, and vice versa; perhaps the readers feel so close to the story that they don’t notice its length. I think there is an added joy when you watch the film after reading the book, as you’re excited about how certain scenes are going have been interpreted by Peter Jackson.
You cannot fault Martin Freeman’s performance; his brilliantly expressive face makes it so easy to relate to Bilbo’s character, and almost provides comic relief in the midst of the peril that we’re witnessing. The only point in which the film was majorly let down was the female character who was introduced. Now, I’m not one of those people who would object to a female character ‘because she isn’t in the book’, but if new characters are to be introduced into an adaptation, I expect it to be done with integrity and not as a thinly veiled attempt to create an unnecessary and unconvincing romantic subplot (there is nothing wrong with Evangeline Lily’s performance; I am complaining about the script). It insults the audience’s intelligence to introduce a romance that develops over the course of two (maybe three) conversations. I think it really lets down an otherwise faultless film.
Overall, though, The Desolation of Smaugh was well acted, visually stunning and well-paced, not that we’d expect anything else from Jackson!
By Kathryn Ferguson