The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’ is exhilarating thrill ride

The second installment of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit,” prequel to the popular “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, is a sensory overload. The IMAX 3-D version is insane – flying arrows and gold coins pop off the screen while an amazing score sets the tone of the scenes, all the while rattling your body to the core. Visually scenes are so fast-paced, and the camera shot is so zoomed-in, that you really work hard to see exactly what is happening.

The entire movie is essentially one big, fast-paced chase scene with some reprieve here and there – the enemy is on the group of protagonists’ tail for the duration. As the second in a set of three, the production really emphasizes that this is the middle, the meat, of the epic journey and therefore it contains mostly scenes of action and adventure. As a result, character development suffers.

The “Hobbit” franchise centers on the dwarf brood led by former King of the Dwarves Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage), the wise wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellan) and courageous hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) as they traverse one adventure after another. For the second installment of the film series, the 13 Dwarves and company embark on an epic quest to reclaim the mountain that had once been the center and leader of all other Dwarf cities. Thorin’s family had been ruled on this mountain for generations. That is, until the gold-hungry, fire-breathing dragon Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch) ransacked the city and drove away the Dwarves from their home.

The end goal of the journey is to retrieve the Arkenstone, a sacred gem found in the mountain, which will unite all Dwarves so they will have the strength to take back their rightful home. They are united in their journey by their faith in Gandalf’s guidance and the master thievery of Bilbo, who is enlisted so that he may enter the mountain and steal the Arkenstone from Smaug.

“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” is an intense rollercoaster. Elongated action scenes keep your attention. By the time a conversational scene rolls around, you’re almost tired out. That being said, sitting through almost three hours of this action-packed movie is totally worth it.

With a fast pace and several points of interest at any given time, this is a movie that can be watched over and over again. Between the scenery, the Elves, the Orks with their weapons and the Dwarves in their barrels, there is continually something new to catch. Not only should it been seen in theaters (IMAX preferably), it should be seen multiple times – this movie is far from boring and satiates the craving for Tolkein’s world very nicely.

Emily Balan can be reached at

Author: Emily Balan

Emily is the news editor for The Setonian and writes for the news section. She also writes for The Diplomatic Envoy where she holds the layout & copy editor position. She will be graduating in spring 2016 from the School of Diplomacy with a BS in diplomacy and international relations and a BA in philosophy, with minors in French and journalism.

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