The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - 3 stars

The connection film

Peter Jackson gives us the ultimate 'connection' film. What do I mean by connection? It is the only explanation for why tho film was made. An action filled story that tries to leave us wanting the final portion of the trilogy of The Hobbit. 

Storyline: 3 stars

The source material is so well written, any digression from Tolkien's original work causes a watered down effect. These much beloved characters were rich in the the original story, but seem quite shallow in this second part of the three part series.

Visual Effects: 4 stars

I had to choose the 3D session, this took some adjustment to watch. Once I came to terms with watching a BBC telling of The Hobbit, I was able to settle in for the ride. A action filled ride is how I would describe this film, from beginning to end. A ride with good effects. The effects are well done, but they could not make up for weak story telling. 

Direction & Acting: 2.5 stars

Jackson set the bar high with the original LOTRs. He does a great directing work with a thin story, but it does seem to fall short. The acting seems a bit pedestrian. When you leave one of the best actors to only be a voice over for Smaug, it left me with a 'been there, done that' feeling.

Family component: 3 stars

This is a film for teen and older viewers. The violence is fantasy style, but the orcs can be quite scary for younger viewers. Based on how many are killed in the film, I am surprised there are any orcs left to fight in LOTRs.

God component: 2 stars

JRR Tolkien is considered a champion for the Christian faith, but even in his interviews about these books the books are not meant to be an Christian analogy. (Different from CS Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia) 

You do have the components of good v evil and redemption mixed into the story line, but so does Star Wars. To read too deeply into a God component of this film would not be theologically responsible.

Overall rating: 3 stars

Good Saturday matinee material, but not groundbreaking film making. 

Written by Russell W Matthews @ Russelling Reviews