The Hobbit is the book that got me hooked on reading. I actually started with The Fellowship of the Ring, it being a book that was at hand at a time in need. Without completing it, the next day I went shopping and purchased The Hobbit and all three of The Lord of the Rings novels, and began at the beginning.
Through high school I was known for my trilogy knowledge, friends having nicknamed me Mithrander, Gandalf’s elvish name. Suffice to say, I truly enjoy the books, and I enjoyed Peter Jackson’s movie treatments of them. Tolkien sold away the movie rights decades ago, believing it would never be possible to make these stories into movies. Technology has made it possible in an amazing way, with the right director at the helm. Mr. Jackson’s love for the works is clearly evident.
Mr. Jackson has broken The Hobbit, the smaller and lighthearted prequel to The Lord of the Rings into three movies. The first installment, “An Unexpected Journey” was well received, and well done. This second installment, “The Desolation of Smaug” is not as lighthearted as the first. We find the gang of dwarves and Bilbo leaving the Grey Mountains and about to enter eerie Mirkwood forest. The spiders are wonderful. We meet the Wood Elves, and escape from them to meet Bard and see the lake town of Esgaroth, and witness the wonderful conversation between Bilbo and the dreaded worm, Smaug.
The movie actually begins one year prior to where the previous installment left off, with a meeting between Gandalf and Thorin that is not in The Hobbit. Jackson has done a lot of embellishment, stealing from The Lord of the Rings, its appendices, The Silmarillian, and even some obvious conjecture. But I do not have a problem with that. Middle Earth is rather complete, and has been studied more than once for each gold coin in Smaug’s hoard.
All the actors do very nice jobs. Ian McKellen’s acting is a clocking spell. He is Gandalf. I really enjoy Martin Freeman’s portrayal of Bilbo. The direction and effects are good. That said, there are minor points that leave me feeling that Mr. Jackson and team had rushed a little, such as a few shot continuity slips. The forced perspective and sizing involved in these movies are difficult, and occasionally it isn’t done as well as earlier movies, but most people won’t notice it. The costuming and set designs are spot on. The score is wonderful, though there was at least one moment when the mixing felt a little lackluster. Again, something that only I and a few others might notice.
Overall, it is a well-done movie that many will enjoy. If you are a Tolkien fan, it is a must see.
Worth the ticket, and the glasses.