The Hobbit holds up a legacy

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By Victoria Walker
Business Manager

Ever since the first Lord of the Rings film hit theaters in 2001, the series has become a major fan franchise, generating millions of dollars and dedicated followers for years. The bar was set high for the first prequel movie, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012), which, similar in setting and themes to the original series, was praised by some critics and stomped on by others. With the branch-off series’ second attempt, The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug, Warner Bros. Pictures hit slightly closer to the mark, producing a film that was not a complete hit or miss, but something enjoyable and in between.

On Friday, December 13, the opening night of the film, the Tyngsboro AMC theater 6:45 show was completely sold out, filled mostly with high school students and their friends. At least in this scenario, the movie did not disappoint. Starring Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins, a courageous Hobbit traveling across Middle Earth with a group of Dwarves, the 2 hour and 41 minute film managed to elicit numerous occasions of laughter from the entire audience, along with a few gasps.

The Desolation of Smaug started off fast-paced and retained its tempo right up until the very end. The story wove together fantastical action, magic and comedy into a delicate creation that, very much like its mother series and the Harry Potter trilogy, somehow managed to work. The traditional Lord of the Rings setting was still relatively the same, but decisively much brighter, making the Hobbit a more family friendly movie than its predecessors.

This being said, there was no dearth of action or creatures involved. Along with the Dwarves, the film featured familiar Orcs and Elves, along with the title character: an astonishingly large graphic dragon named Smaug, voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch.

While constant action sequences kept the viewer occupied, there were points at which, despite well-done graphics, the stunts seemed a bit over the top and I felt like I was watching a spinning video game character, as opposed to a real actor. For example, while I have always been a fan of Legolas’ epic skateboard-style slide railing-slide in the original series, a few of the leaps he took in The Desolation of Smaug lasted just a second too long to be believable. Then again, Gandalf was off fighting the Necromancer with magic at this point, so it’s not difficult to suspend disbelief past minor hiccups of gravity.

Overall, The Desolation of Smaug was a fun watch, and a good movie to see with friends. While die-hard Lord of the Rings fans may find some error in the stretched-beyond-its-book film, the plot worked well and characters were introduced or further explored from the last movie. The film mixed action with humor and ultimately kept me entertained for just under three hours.

As far as disappointments go, the ending certainly did not fill in the hundreds of questions that the film generated, but then again, it is only the second movie of three. The theater lights turned on to a collective sigh from the audience, but you will just have to buy a ticket to find out why.