This Christmas was a big one for tentpole sequels. And they killed. The Hobbit and Hunger Games both packing in the punters, yours truly among them.
“Stay on the path!” – Gandalf
Christmas came early when I chanced upon the Desolation of Smaug at my local cinema in 2D. I have to admit, I really don’t get the whole 3D thing. Aside from Avatar, I’ve never really seen a 3D movie where it really added much. And oftentimes, aside from to uncomfortable murky glasses, I found that the darkened image detracts from the film experience.
On to the movie itself. I’ve heard many gripes about this film series and have to say that I don’t get it. As in the first installment, I simply really enjoyed the movie. Plenty of action, beautiful set design and a solid cast, including the always brilliant Stephen Fry as the wildly excentric mayor of Laketown. Yes, the music is the same Celtic mist cacaphony that Peter Jackson seems to love. But crikey, it’s got giant spiders in it too. And the lovely, did I say lovely Evangeline Lilly.
Hey what’s not to like? Sure it’s not high art, it is high entertainment. To me, the two meet somewhere in the middle, and to be honest, I simply enjoy things that are executed this well.
That said, it’s not particularily memorable. I don’t really know what the missing ingredient is. Perhaps it’s too slick. And some scenes are reminiscent of computer games rather than movies. Then again, the two are melding more and more into one and the same.
Finally, the fact that it is filmed primarily for 3D distribution leads to some strange un-cinematic framing choices. Shots that may work in 3D but just look awkward in 2D.
All in all, recommended to all.