The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is a 2013 epic fantasy film, directed by Peter Jackson. It is the second installment in the three-part film adaptation based on the novel The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien. The film was preceded by An Unexpected Journey (2012) and followed by The Battle of the Five Armies (2014)
It stars Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Evangeline Lilly, Luke Evans, Lee Pace, Orlando Bloom, Ian McKellen, Aidan Turner, Ryan Gage and Stephen Fry.
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug premiered on 2 December 2013 in Los Angeles, and was released internationally on 11 December 2013 in both conventional and IMAX theatres. The film has grossed over $960 million at the worldwide box office, surpassing both The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers nominally, making it the fourth highest-grossing film of 2013 and the 24th highest-grossing film of all time.
- Directed by: Peter Jackson
- Produced by: Carolynne Cunningham, Zane Weiner, Fran Walsh, Peter Jackson
- Written by: Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, Guillermo del Toro
- Story by: J.R.R. Tolkien
- Starring: Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Evangeline Lilly, Luke Evans, Lee Pace
- Music by: Howard Shore
- Cinematography: Andrew Lesnie
- Edited by: Jabez Olsen
- Country: New Zealand, U.S.A.
- Language: English
- Running time: 144 minutes
- Budget: $225 million
- Box Office: $958 million
- Release date: December 2, 2013
- Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures
At the Inn of the Prancing Pony in Bree, the wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) persuades the dwalf Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) to come back to the Kingdom of Ereborn, now taken over from the dwarves by the dragon Smaug, and to obtain the precious jewel of the Arkenstone to unite the Dwarves again. Gandalf then suggests that a stealthy burglar may be needed to steal the jewel back from Smaug.
One year later, Thorin and his company are being pursued by Azog (Manu Bennett) and his Orc soldiers, following the events of the previous film. Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) informs the group that a gigantic bear is also tracking them, and are ushered along by Gandalf to the nearby of Beorn to seek his assistance.
Beorn (Mikael Persbrandt) is revealed to be a skin-changer who sometimes takes the form of the bear. That night, Azog is summoned to Dol Guldur and instructs his son Bolg to take over the hunt for Thorin.
The following day, Beorn escorts the company to the borders of Mirkwood where Gandalf discovers Black Speech imprinted on an old ruin. This coincides with a telepathic message from Galadriel (Cate Blanchett) urging him to investigate the tombs of the Nazgûl at Dol Guldur, forcing him to depart. He warns the company to remain on the path and leaves. Upon entering the forest the company lose their way and are ensnared by giant spiders. Bilbo then sets about freeing the dwarves with the help of the One Ring. He subsequently drops the Ring and first begins to understand its dark influence after he brutally kills a centipede-like creature to retrieve it.
The remaining spiders are fended off by the Wood-elves led by two elves: Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly) and Legolas (Orlando Bloom). They in turn capture the Dwarves, and bring Thorin before their elven king Thranduil (Lee Pace). Thorin confronts the Elvenking about his neglect of the Dwarves of Erebor following Smaug's attack 60 years earlier, and is consequently imprisoned by Thranduil.
with the other Dwarves. Bilbo, having avoided capture, arranges an escape using empty wine barrels that are sent downstream. While being pursued by the Wood-elves, they are ambushed by Bolg and his Orc party, and Kíli (Aidan Turner) is wounded with a Morgul shaft. They engage in a running three-way battle down the river, but ultimately the Dwarves are able to escape both groups of pursuers.
Thranduil then seals off his kingdom when an Orc captive reveals an evil entity has returned and is amassing an army in the south, but Tauriel decides to leave and assist the Dwarves, Legolas goes after her.
Meanwhile, Gandalf meets Radagast (Sylvester McCoy) to investigate the tombs of the Nazgûl, which are found empty.
The company are then smuggled into Esgaroth by a boatman called Bard (Luke Evans). Thorin promises the Master and the people of Lake-town a share of the mountain's treasure of Erebor if they help them. It is then revealed that Bard is a descendant of the last ruler of Dale, and possesses the last black arrow capable of killing the dragon Smaug. Kíli is forced to remain behind at Esgaroth, tended to by Fíli, Óin, and Bofur, as the remaining company receive a grand farewell.
Meanwhile, Gandalf travels south to the ruins of Dol Guldur, while Radagast leaves to warn Galadriel of their discovery at the tombs. Gandalf finds the ruins infested with Orcs and is ambushed by Azog. The Necromancer overpowers and defeats Gandalf and reveals himself as Sauron.
Thorin and his remaining company reach Lonely Mountain of Erebor, where Bilbo discovers the hidden entrance. He is sent in to retrieve the Arkenstone, and while doing so accidentally awakens the dragon Smaug.
Back in Laketown, Bard attempts to bring the black arrow to the town's launcher, as he fears what may happen when the Dwarves enter the mountain. However, he is arrested in the process and leaves his son to hide the arrow. Bolg and his Orc party then infiltrate the town and attack the four Dwarves, but are quickly dispatched following the arrival of Tauriel and Legolas. Tauriel then tends to Kili, and the two acknowledge their affection toward one another, while Legolas leaves in pursuit of Bolg.
Meanwhile, an imprisoned Gandalf watches helplessly as Azog and an Orc army march from Dol Guldur towards Lonely Mountain.
Back inside the mountain, Bilbo and the Dwarves try to rekindle the mountain's forge in an attempt to bury Smaug alive in molten gold. This fails however and Smaug stumbles out of the mountain and flies off to destroy Laketown in revenge for aiding the Dwarves. Bilbo watches in horror at what they have unleashed, saying to himself, "What have we done?"
- Martin Freeman - Bilbo Baggins
- Richard Armitage - Thorin Oakenshield II
- Evangeline Lilly - Tauriel
- Luke Evans - Bard The Bowman
- Lee Pace - Thranduil
- Orlando Bloom - Legolas
- Ian McKellen - Gandalf The Grey
- Aidan Turner - Kili
- Ryan Gage - Alfrid
- Stephen Fry - Master of Lake-town
- Sylverster McCoy - Radagast The Brown
- Mikael Persbrandt - Beorn
- Mark Hadlow - Dori
- Hugo Weaving - Elrond
- Cate Blanchett - Galadriel
As with all the previous films of Peter Jackson's Middle-Earth saga (The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit trilogy), Howard Shore composed the score in association with local New Zealand writing teams. The score was performed by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. The original motion picture soundtrack album was released on 10 December 2013. It received positive reviews, especially for its new themes.
English singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran wrote and recorded "I See Fire", which plays during the end credits. The song was released on iTunes on 5 November 2013.
|1.||"The Quest for Erebor"||3:23|
|3.||"The House of Beorn"||3:42|
|5.||"Flies and Spiders"||7:51|
|6.||"The Woodland Realm"||4:26|
|7.||"Feast of Starlight"||2:49|
|8.||"Barrels Out of Bond"||1:50|
|9.||"The Forest River"||4:54|
|10.||"Bard, a Man of Lake-Town"||2:30|
|11.||"The High Fells"||2:37|
|12.||"The Nature of Evil"||3:20|
|13.||"Protector of the Common Folk"||3:36|
|2.||"Girion, Lord of Dale"||3:33|
|4.||"In the Shadow of the Mountain"||2:15|
|5.||"A Spell of Concealment"||2:51|
|6.||"On the Doorstep"||7:46|
|7.||"The Courage of Hobbits"||3:00|
|10.||"A Liar and a Thief"||3:40|
|13.||"My Armor Is Iron"||5:16|
|14.||"I See Fire" (Written and performed by Ed Sheeran)||5:00|
|15.||"Beyond the Forest"|
Most of the filming was finished during 2012, ending in July 2012, but during May 2013, additional shooting for the film and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, began in New Zealand, which lasted 10 weeks. Unmanned aerial vehicles or drones were used for some shots in the film.
The film premiered in Los Angeles at the Dolby Theatre on 2 December 2013, and was released internationally on 11 December 2013 and in the United Kingdom and United States on 13 December 2013.
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug grossed $258,366,855 in North America and $702,000,000 in other countries for a worldwide total of $960,366,855. It is the fourth highest-grossing 2013 film and the 24th highest-grossing film of all time. It grossed $209 million worldwide on its opening weekend.
In North America, The Desolation of Smaug earned $8.8 million during its midnight opening, making it the second-highest December showing ever, behind only the first installment. The film topped the box office on its opening day with $31.2 million. It remained in first place throughout its opening weekend, grossing $73,645,197, a 13% drop from its predecessor. The Desolation of Smaug was in first place at the box office for three consecutive weekends.
Outside North America, The Desolation of Smaug was released internationally on 16,405 screens. The film earned $135.4 million in its opening weekend. Its largest openings occurred in China ($33.0 million), Germany ($19.0 million) and the United Kingdom, Ireland and Malta ($15.2 million). It topped the box office outside North America on four consecutive weekends and five in total. It is the highest-grossing film of 2013 in many European countries, as well as in New Zealand and Fiji.
Critical response: Edit
Following the Los Angeles premiere, Metro noted that early critical reaction was "glowing", with critics describing it as a "spectacle", while The Guardian reported that it was receiving "much stronger early reviews". However, before the film's theatrical release, E! reported that reviews had been "mixed", but stated they were still "much better" than the previous film. After the film's international release, MTV reported that the film has garnered a "positive" critical reaction, while the Los Angeles Times stated the consensus is that the film "reinvigorates" the series, putting it "back on course". The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 75% approval rating with an average rating of 6.9/10 based on 212 reviews. The website's consensus reads, "While still slightly hamstrung by "middle chapter" narrative problems and its formidable length, The Desolation of Smaug represents a more confident, exciting second chapter for the Hobbit series". On aggregate review site Metacritic, the film has a score of 66 out of 100 based on 44 reviews, indicating "generally favorable" reviews. According to CinemaScore polls the film received an "A-" from audiences.
Nick de Semlyen of Empire awarded the film five stars out of five and wrote that "Middle-earth's got its mojo back. A huge improvement on the previous installment, this takes our adventurers into uncharted territory and delivers spectacle by the ton", while Richard Corliss of TIME declared it one of the top ten films of 2013, and wrote "In all, this is a splendid achievement, close to the grandeur of Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films." Justin Chang of Variety wrote that "After a bumpy beginning with An Unexpected Journey, Peter Jackson's 'Hobbit' trilogy finds its footing in this much more exciting and purposeful second chapter." Todd McCarthy of Hollywood Reporter wrote that "Nearly everything... represents an improvement over the first installment of Peter Jackson's three-part adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's beloved creation." He also praised the High Frame Rate of The Desolation of Smaug as being better than that of An Unexpected Journey. Mark Hughes, who reviewed the film for Forbes, was highly enthusiastic, and felt "The Desolation of Smaug is another grand entry in the Tolkien saga, raising the emotional and physical stakes while revealing more of the sinister forces," before concluding "It’s pleasing to see a filmmaker this in love with storytelling, this committed to creating entire worlds... that’s a rare thing indeed, and for it to turn out so well is even more rare. It’s a sight to behold, and you won’t be sorry you did."
Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian scored the film four stars out of five, writing, "It's mysterious and strange, and yet Jackson also effortlessly conjures up that genial quality that distinguishes 'The Hobbit' from the more solemn 'Rings' stories." Total Film also scored the film four stars out of five, but reviewer Matt Maytum noted that, in his opinion, the film suffered "from middle-act wobbles." Despite this, he praised the "rousing action... incredible visuals... and one stupendous dragon", and concluded his review saying "There’s a lot to admire in The Desolation of Smaug." Jim Vejvoda, who reviewed the film for IGN, awarded it 8.5 out of 10, and felt "It's a breathlessly told, action-packed crowd-pleaser that restores the luster of the saga for those underwhelmed by its predecessor and leaves you excited for the final chapter in the trilogy."
Conversely, Peter Travers, who reviewed the film for Rolling Stone, gave it two and a half stars out of four. He felt it was "a little less long and a little less boring" than the first installment, and offered praise for the depiction of Smaug, saying "as a digital creation, Smaug is a bloody wonder of slithering fright." He was, however, very critical of the film's padding of a "slender novel", but concluded: "I'd endure another slog through Middle-Earth just to spend more time with Smaug". Robbie Collin of The Daily Telegraph was even less admiring, and awarded it two stars out of five. He too criticised the decision to turn Tolkien's book into three films and felt Jackson "is mostly stalling for time: two or three truly great sequences tangled up in long beards and longer pit-stops." He continued, writing "There is an awful lot of Desolation to wade through before we arrive, weary and panting, on Smaug's rocky porch," and disapproved of the introduction of a love triangle to Tolkien's narrative, adding: "Maybe this really is what a lot of people want to see from a film version of The Hobbit, but let's at least accept that Tolkien would probably not have been among them." The New York Post's Lou Lumenick was extremely negative in his 1.5/4 star review and remarked "There are probably enough moments to satisfy hard-core fans, but for the rest of us, this amounts to the Middle Earth equivalent of “Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones,’’ a space-holding, empty-headed epic filled with characters and places (digital and otherwise) that are hard to keep straight, much less care about."