Katniss Everdeen voluntarily takes her younger sister's place in the Hunger Games, a televised fight to the death in which two teenagers from each of the twelve Districts of Panem are chosen at random to compete.
After successfully crossing over (and under) the Misty Mountains, Thorin and Company must seek aid from a powerful stranger before taking on the dangers of Mirkwood Forest--without their Wizard. If they reach the human settlement of Lake-town it will be time for the hobbit Bilbo Baggins to fulfill his contract with the dwarves. The party must complete the journey to Lonely Mountain and burglar Baggins must seek out the Secret Door that will give them access to the hoard of the dragon Smaug. And, where has Gandalf got off to? And what is his secret business to the south? Written by
The second Hobbit film connects you better to the characters than the first in an entertaining ride with more danger, excitement, and humor. The action is well done, and the 3D adds to it, especially in the "whitewater rafting" scene. That part and the whole movie has good editing. In this one, two of the non-King dwarfs' presence is stronger (Balin and Kili). The she-elf warrior Tauriel and what comes with her works, adding some heart to the film.
Besides Richard Armitage leading the way as the King under the Mountain with his great chemistry with fellow castmates, there are three actors who give specially noteworthy live-action performances. Lee Pace is one of the true highlights as Thranduil, who is an Elf King that deals with foreboding in a way that is different from Elrond. Ian McKellen's acting is comparable to him in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, as he takes advantage of Gandalf getting his own storyline and heart-pounding action scene. Martin Freeman is good once again as the brave titular character, and actually slightly better.
The confrontation with Smaug is very enjoyable. It is a long movie, but the finale is the high point. Benedict Cumberbatch does an excellent job with the arrogant beast's voice, and the dragon looks really cool in 3D. I personally think that they ended it at the perfect place. When they divide a book up, it will inevitably result in a cliffhanger feeling. But, I am satisfied with how they handled it.
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