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A bunch of dwarves, a hobbit, a wizard and a dragon do things.

There is so much good stuff on show here but I still left feeling disappointed. Peter Jackson’s biggest task with this trilogy is justifying stretching a 300ish page book over three films and he just has not done that with either instalment. The theatrical version here already feels like a directors cut as there so much padding and unnecessary material. Having said that there are still many breathtaking moments in part 2, particularly in the last hour when Smaug shows up. It is quite refreshing that with the recent clamour for dark fantasy this film owes a lot more to Indiana Jones than it does to Game of Thrones (although seeing penis’ flopping about everywhere would not really suit the tone of the The Hobbit series). The unlikely moments in the Indiana Jones saga are still enjoyable because of the humour and knowing nod and winks throughout. Jackson has just made Middle Earth too stern and serious. It looks like a terrible place to live. Men with beards look off in to the middle distance. It always seems to be cloudy. My final point is that while there are definitely parts of this film that look incredible there are also quite a few scenes that looked like they were filmed at Disneyland or Alton Towers. It just didn’t strike me as real, certainly not in the same way as the rings film did. Overall I really enjoyed most of this film but compared to the rings films and (by all accounts, I haven’t read it) the source material, The Desolation of Smaug just doesn’t stand up.