The Definition of “Slog” – The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
It’s hard to believe that, by the end of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, we’re only two-thirds of the way through Peter Jackson’s return to Middle-Earth. It’s even harder to believe that there’s actually going to be another one of these damn things. Because what’s left? After Bilbo finally confronts the titular gold-hoarding dragon in this film, and after we get the big battle out of the way at some point in the next, isn’t the rest of the original skeleton of J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic just falling action, a retracing of a journey’s steps and a return to Bag End? Is Jackson really gong to drape a whole movie’s worth of fat over that sturdy — but Hobbit-sized — skeleton? Is the last film in this improbable trilogy going to be a feature-length version of the fifteen bladder-torturing endings in The Return of the King?
God help us all.
It’s so difficult to judge Smaug on its own merits because of all this mishegas. Yet try we must. And the verdict?
It’s more of the same, in some ways better than the first, in some ways worse — and still an exercise in overindulgence. This viewer was less than enthused with An Unexpected Journey, and that’s being charitable. Smaug has its moments, moments where the action far surpasses that of its predecessor, but they’re few and far between. The rest of the runtime we’re all slouched down in our seats, watching this mess unspool before our eyes at 48 fps, reflecting on how THERE’S A WHOLE OTHER MOVIE WE HAVE TO SEE TO PUT THIS THING TO BED.
Mildly spoilerish points and a final rating on the next page.
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