Part two of The Hobbit trilogy picked up the pace as our company of dwarves, a halfling and a wizard trekked through Middle Earth. Yet, the jury is still out on whether director Peter Jackson needed nine hours to tell the story of just one book.

While the third part of this trilogy remains to be seen, the first part, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, was a singsongish narrative. This second part, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, though, contained much more action.

Those who strictly love J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit story might not thoroughly enjoy Jackson’s artistically licensed adaptations, but those who can let go of the of true-to-book expectations will find a fun ride on their way to Erebor, the original homeland of the Dwarves.

Jackson has added in many non-canonical action sequences to help speed the three hour movie along. This includes a surprise appearance from Orlando Bloom’s Legolas as he and his love interest, Tauriel, help the company along their quest after finding a common enemy with the Orcs.

THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG

The last movie set up the storyline, a lot, but The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, speeds through Mirkwood while still hitting all the key parts throughout the middle of the book, ending with a stand off with Smaug, “the Chiefest and Greatest of Calamities” according to Bilbo.

The next movie will let us know whether or not the Dwarves are able to reclaim the arkenstone and thus, their homeland. That is of course, unless we’ve read the book.

As usual with Jackson’s Lord of the Rings and previous Hobbit movies, everything is spot on; from the acting to the effects to the score. The only complaint last time was the incredibly slow pace, which was greatly rectified this time around. Now the only complaint is the straying from the pureness of the original text, but this issue was created as Jackson responded to the slow pace.

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