By on October 30th, 2013

The Desolation of Smaug

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug hits theaters on December 13

The first installment in the three-part series of The Hobbit (An Unexpected Journey), had lost some of the lustre associated with the more serious and better executed Lord of the Rings movies.

Even so, it’s difficult to stifle excited expectations at the prospect of the second installment, The Desolation of Smaug. It brings the characters (and the viewer) across different lands of Middle Earth (including lake-town Esgaroth and revisiting the elf’s land of Rivendell) and finally to the devastated Kingdom of Erebor (aka The Lonely Mountain) with the goal of slaying the titular dastardly dragon.

Familiar faces return to the fold, including Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) and the wizard who chose him, Gandalf The Grey (Ian McKellan), along with favourite characters from the Lord of the Rings series: Legolas (Orlando Bloom), Galadriel (Cate Blanchett), Elrond (Hugo Weaving), and Saruman The White (Christopher Lee).

Bilbo Baggins
Bilbo, of course, remains the protagonist of the series. In this film, he assists Gandalf and a crew of dwarves and their leader, Thorin Oakenshield, on a quest to reclaim the land of Erebor. It’s been all but completely decimated by Smaug, which is why the area was renamed the Lonely Mountain.

The barren land also houses a great treasure, which captures the eye of Bilbo and his fellow journeymen. But it’s not the fact that there are indeed jewels and other treasures there; Smaug stole it from the surrounding lands. Leaked photos and trailers for the film indicate that the hobbit runs into the seemingly evil dragon as he attempts to retrieve gold from his lair.

Beasts of all kinds have long had a voice in the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings series—just look at the Orc population—so it comes as little surprise that Smaug speaks in this film. He’s voiced by actor Benedict Cumberbatch, best known for his role as Holmes in Sherlock (alongside Mr Baggins himself Martin Freeman). Here, he’s behind the snarl of Smaug (and the Necromancer character, too) and brings the dragon’s story to life with a little help from motion-capture technology.

The ability to speak lends a strong dose of humanity to Smaug, though he is (rightfully so) seen primarily as the antagonist for what he has done to Erebor and the surrounding villages.

Thorin Oakenshield
Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) is the leader of the company of dwarves, which, including Thorin, is made up of 13 bearded warriors. Their primary task is to take back the land that was once theirs, the aforementioned Erebor, and their riches from Smaug.

He is warned by others that awakening the beast could mean the death of everyone in the area, but Thorin’s journey is simply too important to him and his people to back down. Needless to say, this element of the film should make for great suspense and, hopefully, some intriguing battle scenes.

Hype? You bet!
With all the hype surrounding the film’s release, it’ll be interesting if a deal can be reached in the gambling rights issue surrounding The Hobbit franchise.

For those unfamiliar, Warner Bros wants to allow casino companies to create slot machines themed after the films and their characters. These would likely appear online, too, at a site like Betfair’s Exchange Games, which also has straight-up table games.

Movie-themed casino setups have grown increasingly popular and lucrative, so it wouldn’t be surprising if some kind of deal was struck in the near future, though it probably won’t please Tolkien purists and some LOTR fans too much.

The Hobbit series will conclude in 2014 with the third installment, There and Back Again

This post was contributed to Filmplicity by John Sinegal


  1. 1 le0pard13
    October 30th, 2013 at 10:29 pm

    As much as I was a tad disappointed with the first installment, I am looking forward to this. Heck, a group of us parents are probably going to the theater together to see this. Fine write-up, Ronan.

  2. 2 Ronan Wright
    November 1st, 2013 at 9:07 pm

    Thanks Michael, this was kindly contributed by John Sinegal and it’s got me looking forward to the 2nd in the trilogy even if I’m still coming to terms with it being a trilogy at all. Looks to be good!

  3. 3 le0pard13
    November 1st, 2013 at 10:27 pm

    One of my friends here said, “Jackson filmed every page in the book.”

  4. 4 Ronan
    November 2nd, 2013 at 6:17 pm

    Really? I suppose you can do that with a short volume like the Hobbit. I’m optimistic that I’ll enjoy the next two more than the first.

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