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
It is heavily implied in the film that Gandalf sets the events of the Hobbit movies in motion because he wants Smaug destroyed before the inevitable beginning of the War of the Ring; if Smaug were to ally with Sauron, it would mean almost certain ruin for Middle-earth, as the forces of Rohan and Gondor would not have been able to bring him down without suffering enormous losses. As The Hobbit novel is quite short and told from Bilbo's perspective, it reveals little about the true intentions of both Gandalf and Sauron (the latter only being mentioned a few times). However, the appendices of the Lord of the Rings novels and J.R.R. Tolkien's Unfinished Tales place the events of The Hobbit in a much wider context: they make very clear that Gandalf has been keeping track of Sauron's return and his search for the One Ring for many centuries. Gandalf is doing everything to prevent Sauron from rising to his full power or getting help from Smaug. This idea is presented much more explicitly in the Hobbit films, and reinforced in the extended version of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012) when Gandalf meets with the White Council at Rivendell: he expresses his concern at the possibility of Smaug allying with the new darkness that Radagast had encountered, although Saruman dismisses this as nothing more than some human playing with black magic, rather than recognizing it as Sauron. See more »
When Azog calls for Bolg in Dol Guldur there is a side shot of the two approaching each other where Bolg is clearly taller than Azog. When they are speaking in the close-up Azog is looking down at Bolg implying that he is taller. See more »
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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