We got our first look at part two of Peter Jackson’s epic three-film adaptation of JRR Tolkien’s ‘Lord of the Rings’ prequel ‘The Hobbit’ last week. As our reviewer Keith Uhlich enthuses, this is a much pacier, more action-heavy film than its rather chatty, slapsticky predecessor ‘An Unexpected Journey’. Kicking off with a shapeshifting bear-man on the rampage and climaxing with Smaug the dragon in full flight, the film doesn’t sit still for a moment, cramming the screen with marauding orcs, man-eating spiders, pratfalling dwarves, pompous elves, untrustworthy man-folk and one seriously unconvinced hobbit. Along the way we get to witness arguably the most complex action sequence of Jackson’s career – it involves barrels, bows and arrows and more death-defying leaps than you can count – and some rather silly, rather sweet elf-on-dwarf flirting.
All in all, as Uhlich suggests, this is a film for those who’ve already bought into Jackson’s fantasy universe. If you’re looking for dramatic heft and real-world drama you might want to go elsewhere, but if all you want is to lose yourself for 161 minutes in total, spectacular escapism, look no further.
Read our full review of ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’