Monday afternoon, I drove to Snelling to pick up an office key for a new assignment that starts Wednesday and will be once per week. On the way home, I decided to see "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" in 3D. I bought my ticket while the previews were playing and made it in time to see a couple of previews, then the movie started.
We are immediately drawn into a gloomy, rainy town on the edge of The Shire. Thorin Oakenshield, a cold, wet, weary traveler, sits in the Prancing Pony trying to eat a meal. Dangerous characters lurking in corner booths have their eye on him. A feeling of dread creeps over us as we watch the two thugs get up and head for Thorin. Thorin has his eyes on them and is ready to draw his sword. He looks across the table and, suddenly, there is Gandalf. Gandalf is there to deliver the message that a price has been put on Thorin's head. Gandalf tells Thorin that he needs to reclaim the dwarf lands of Erebor. He must travel to the Lonely Mountain, reclaim the Arkenstone, and rid it of Smaug, the dragon, who has terrorized the local area for hundreds of years.
New Zealand scenery steals the show soon after as the motley crew travels to the Lonely Mountain. Oh how I wanted to be traveling in those mountains, but not with orcs and other nasties about!
We follow the group on adventures escaping the orcs to: a house owned by Beorn, a skin-changer that shape shifts into a huge bear; Mirkwood forest that makes one lose one's way, riddled with an arachnophobe's biggest nightmare: huge, people-collecting spiders! Made my skin crawl for sure (pun intended). Next they become prisoners in the Elven realm and make a daring escape by wine barrels into a raging river, pursued by orcs and elves.
Bard the boatman helps them escape across the lake to Lake-town, a sinister conglomeration of floating homes and watchful townspeople. From there, it is a hop, skip and a jump to Lonely Mountain and the Kingdom-under-the-mountain of Erebor.
Meanwhile Gandalf is off on a quest of his own and doesn't play a huge part in this movie. We do see him battling the "evil smoke of darkness." I don't remember what it's called, but it brings to mind the smoke in the TV series Lost.
There has been much debate about adding a new character that isn't in The Hobbit. That character is Tauriel, the chief elf guard, played by Evangeline Lilly (formerly of the TV series Lost). I love her in the movie. She fits in seamlessly and really kicks ass. Plus, I think she has the sassiest line in the movie. As the dwarves are being imprisoned, each is searched for weapons. However, she does not search Kili, the handsomest dwarf. Kili asks her, "Aren't you going to search me? I could have anything down my trousers." Tauriel replies, "Or nothing."
But the finale inside Lonely Mountain is what makes this movie. The cat-and-mouse game played by the Hobbit thief, Bilbo Baggins, and the awesome dragon, Smaug, made me lick my lips in anticipation of the next move. Who would win this chess game between the clever Hobbit and the sneering, slithering, fire-breathing Smaug? I enjoyed every nuance of their back-and-forth banter and hide and seek amongst the vaults of treasure.
The movie is action-packed and story rich. The real treasure is in the movie-making. Can't wait for the final chapter!
Travel Bug out.