copyright © Jedo Dre 2011

Desolation of Smaug has the job of convincing audiences that this new Tolkien trilogy is worthy of their attention, after a somewhat dragged out and toned down first part.

This time the action has been boosted. Introduction of elven characters, especially the return of Legolas, is essentially the introduction of acrobatic super-warriors, but the dwarfs also do more fighting this time around and even the hobbit has turned into a fighter. And as the title suggests we also finally brush up with our dragon Smaug.

The actors are more fleshed out. While most of the dwarfs remain nameless background characters, at least a few of them get developed a bit more and get their own scenes. It's nice to see more variety in the type of characters and Benedict Cumberbatch makes for a great evil dragon.

Maybe it is just me getting increasingly higher standards, but while the action is nice, the script of Desolation of Smaug really starts to get on the nerves towards the 2nd half of the movie. Characters say and do whatever serves the story at that particular time. It's contrived and obvious. It is clear that the animators wanted to create particular scenes or special effects, and the characters act as set pieces in those scenes, whether it makes sense for them to be or not.

The increased action, however nice, causes a problem for the story that I fear many people do not think about. For example, the whole point of the hobbits is that little and seemingly weak creatures can overcome huge challenges through bravery and perseverance....not through becoming sword wielding spider fighters like Bilbo did at one point. That's missing the point! The movie does have charm and it is fun to see known characters mess around gorgeous environments, as long as you are able to suspend your disbelief.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug