The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Director Peter Jackson is a fan of long movies. Three enormous chapters of The Lord of the Rings trilogy and the opening chapter of The Hobbit, An Unexpected Journey soar well past the two hour mark. Fellowship of the Ring clocks in at 2 hours 58 minutes, The Two Towers at 2 hours 59 minutes, Return of the King at 3 hours 21 minutes, An Unexpected Journey at 2 hours 49 minutes, and finally The Desolation of Smaug at 2 hours 41 minutes! And none of these are the “extended” editions released only on DVD/BluRay. Much criticism has been heaped upon Jackson for the “over long” films he has produced. The novel The Hobbit was approximately 300 pages long. This in addition to some elements borrowed form J.R.R. Tolkien’s other writings now are three films. To some this seems excessive.
With The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the length and division of the three novels into three films was understandable; however, with The Hobbit I tend to agree with the detractors. While the elements filmed do stretch a bit over long, they could hardly have been compressed into a single film. Two perhaps. There…. and Back Again.
The visuals are stellar as ever. The special effects work was (mostly) seamless. The films presented thus far are fine films… it is only they would have been better, tighter, more focused, had Peter Jackson imposed upon himself(or the studio imposed upon him) a length limit to his films. Soon enough Jackson’s films could end up in the same territory as Erich von Stroheim’s Greed at nearly 10 hours long!
Nevertheless The Desolation of Smaug is definitely worth seeing for fans of Tolkien and the rest of the Hobbit/LOTR series.