The Hobbit Desolation of Smaug

The second of Peter Jackson‘s trilogy of films adapting The Hobbit, The Desolation of Smaug, both improves on the previous film, and regresses from some of its achievements. In 2012′s An Unexpected Journey, Jackson stretched the story of The Hobbit to a breaking point. Sequences that were mere blips in the book became much longer, hurting the pacing immensely. At the start of this second film, Jackson picks up the pace considerably and, in just over an hour, our characters are at their final destination: The Lonely Mountain. Unfortunately, there’s still an hour and a half to go (plus another movie) which means that briefly improved, upbeat pace comes to a screeching halt. Plus that rushed first hour glosses over some of the most famous scenes in J.R.R. Tolkien‘s book.

Besides the major pacing problems, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug has lots of good things going for it, including more rousing action, great performances by new characters, and several beautiful new settings. But all of those don’t save the film from being considerably divisive.

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Considering there’s another film set for release in 2014, it’s no spoiler to reveal The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug ends on a massive cliffhanger. It also ends very close to the end of J.R.R. Tolkien’s narrative of The Hobbit, which means unless There And Back Again is 20 minutes long, it’ll be stuffed with new narrative linking Peter Jackson‘s current trilogy with the Lord of the Rings.

Recently, one of the film’s stars teased the press by saying the character of Legolas (Orlando Bloom) would be the main link between the trilogies. Jackson also explained how he justified putting that character, which isn’t in The Hobbit novel, into the film by giving a brief Tolkien history lesson. Read More »

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Things are about to get all Hobbit up in here. A week from today, fans will be piling into theaters to watch the second film in Peter Jackson‘s Hobbit trilogy, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. Reviews come out this weekend, interviews will be published, it’s all about to get nuts with the film so close to release.

Seems like the perfect time to Jackson to release the 13th installment in his running Hobbit video diary. This one shows lots of behind the scenes action of this second film, including filming the scenes with Smaug, the character’s look and much more. There’s even some Benedict Cumberbatch in there! Check it out below. Read More »

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The first trailer for Peter Jackson‘s second Hobbit film, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, answered one of everyone’s biggest questions about the sequel. Would Jackson’s second film get us all the way into the Lonely Mountain and reveal Smaug, the malicious and greedy dragon at the end of the Dwarves quest? The title suggested it but the trailer confirmed it. Bilbo’s interactions with the dragon (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch) responsible for forcing the dwarves out of their home are some of the most memorable and tense ones in the book. However, the first film didn’t give us much idea of what Smaug looked like and the trailer only showed us his head. Would audiences see Smaug for themselves before the film opened on December 13?

That answer has been revealed in the most unexpected of places. Smaug has been revealed on the side of some Air New Zealand planes, a company with a long history of collaboration with Jackson and the franchise. Check it out below. Read More »

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Typically it can be considered a slightly spoilerish endeavor to listen to a film’s score before the movie opens. But most of us are so familiar with what Howard Shore has done for Peter Jackson and Middle-Earth that a new batch of music is more like an extension of what has gone before than an entirely new set of cues. That said, the first Hobbit film was fairly distinct from the Lord of the Rings films, and some of the music for the second movie has it’s own character, too, even as familiar themes and concepts keep it grounded in Middle-Earth.

So while it is a couple weeks yet before the December 13 opening of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, you can spend the Thanksgiving holiday listening to 45 minutes from the score, as an embed has landed online. Read More »

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Air New Zealand has long embraced it’s home nation’s relationship with Peter Jackson and his Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films. With the release of the next film, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, mere weeks away they’ve created a new commercial promoting the country’s tourism with the help of some very familiar iconography. Check it out below. Read More »

Simon Pegg and Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol

Today’s action-packed Sequel Bits contains news about spies, martial artists, giant alien robots, tortured mutants, and so much more. After the jump:

  • Transformers 5 and 6 depend on Transformers 4
  • James Mangold offers a minor Wolverine 2 update
  • Winona Ryder is “sworn to secrecy” about Beetlejuice 2
  • Simon Pegg says he’ll return for Mission: Impossible 5
  • Ong-back star Tony Jaa joins Wu Jing in SPL 2
  • Dwayne Johnson shares a fiery Fast & Furious 7 pic
  • Somehow The Hobbit is not done putting out new posters

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One of the characters set to debut in Peter Jackson‘s The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is Beorn, a man who is sometimes a bear (or a bear who is sometimes a man). Beorn is gigantic, and accordingly, he has a home that is of such a size that normal human men look like hobbits when sitting at his table. That’s illustrator and designer John Howe at the table, above.

To shoot the film, Jackson’s crew built the entire outsized home, complete with gigantic furniture and props, so that the characters would look appropriately small in Beorn’s surroundings. A new featurette shows off the house, and as is the case with so many of the behind the scenes videos for Jackson’s tour of Middle-Earth, is a good way to spend a few minutes.  Read More »

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