* * * *There is hardly another movie that had been been waited on by the fans so diligently as the next instalment of THE HOBBIT. The questions of whether Peter Jackson will manage to pull off a stunt of telling a three hundred pages book in three by three hour long movies doesn't rise eyebrows no more. Jackson has proved his ability adding characters, story lines and battles without compromising the original work. All his additional material is focused on closer "tie on" to the LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy. It is known that Tolkien himself had re-written a few of THE HOBBIT chapters to have more distinguished ties to the story of the ring so no great crime committed.
Among the material that had not been in the original book THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG produces the Dwarf plus Elves love triangle storyline, a bunch of human folk characters and an introduction to SARUMAN himself - all I am sure will be highly praised by the fans. The spectacular barrel riding escape from Elves' prison is probably the most inventive and fresh piece of action you will see this year.
While a experienced movie goer is hard to impress by a lizard-like creature, Dragon Smaug is a lucky exception - it is graceful, intelligent and vain, and as it is the case with the Gollum seems as alive as any actor playing the role in the film.
This is on the bright side.
What wrong with the DESOLATION OF SMAUG is that it does not have a feel of a self consistent piece of cinema. The development of our heroes seemed to finish in the first instalment, and this time we are simply introduced to a collection of entertaining set pieces. This is not EMPIRE STRIKES BACK but THE TEMPLE OF DOOM, if you get my drift.
THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG did not convince me that three part THE HOBBIT was necessary. It could have fitted easily into two films, but there's a chance that the final HERE AND BACK AGAIN can make me believe otherwise.
And its only twelve months to wait!