*This review may contain some spoilers in the Parental Advisory section in an effort to inform parents as to the films content.*
The year-long wait is over as Peter Jackson’s The Desolation of Smaug, successor to The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, hit theatres last week. With the first instalment of The Hobbit film trilogy earning $1 billion at the box office, the second will surely bring in the crowds for this action-packed, fantasy sequel.
The premise: Based on J.R.R Tolkien’s 1937 novel, Jackson brings the 300-page tale to life through a series of treacherous adventures. Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellan) and a band of dwarves continue their quest to reclaim their kingdom, Erebor. There, they must face the infamous Smaug (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch), a dragon who terrorized the people of Lake Town and ultimately exiled the Durin folk out of Erebor. Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) longs to take back not only his throne, but the valuable Arkenstone that is greedily guarded by Smaug.
What we loved: The second film has a lot more action than the first. It gets right into the adventure, rather than the slow-moving narrative that An Unexpected Journey followed.
Although the film did not stay true to the book 100 percent, the screenwriters introduced the character Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly), a beautiful elvish guard of Mirkwood, who is a one-woman orc-fighting machine. Though they wrote her character to be caught in a love triangle with Legolas (Orlando Bloom) and hunky dwarf Kíli (Aiden Turner), she is still a strong, independent female character that young girls can look up to.
Unlike the first film where the elves thought themselves to be too good for the cause of the dwarfs, the second film sees Tauriel and Legolas come to the aid of the dwarfs in the end.
Bilbo demonstrates more bravery this time around, using the power of the One Ring to help him in combat with giant spiders and Smaug. We also get to see Gandalf in wizard action while in Dol Guldur.
Parental advisory (*POTENTIAL SPOILERS*) If you’ve ever seen The Lord of the Rings trilogy, expect the battle scenes in The Desolation of Smaug to be no different. When in combat with orcs, there is a lot of gore on screen: blood, beheading, weapons (you know the drill).
There’s a scene with giant spiders that will definitely be frightening for younger children. Smaug or the orcs might also be a little terrifying.
There is no foul language used, but a scene where Kíli says to Tauriel “Aren’t you going to search me? I could have anything down my trousers,” is sexually suggestive.
Canadian Rating: PG — Parental Guidance is suggested
Final verdict: This is a film that parents and older kids can enjoy together. The film has a running time of more than two-and-a-half hours, but the action scenes make it seem like less. Overall, it's much better than the first Hobbit film.
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