Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - MOVIES - Now show­ing State and Vil­lage cine­mas


MEAN­WHILE, back in Mid­dle- earth, ev­ery­one is dis­play­ing wor­ry­ing symp­toms as­so­ci­ated with the dreaded plight known as “mid­dle- fi lm syn­drome”.

Yes, part two of The Hob­bit tril­ogy, The Deso­la­tion Of Smaug, is now upon us. There will be Dwarves. There will be a dragon. A few Elves. Many Orcs. And a stand­ing in­vi­ta­tion to lie back and take a quick nap when­ever you like. It is no use moan­ing any more about how one slim book by J. R. R. Tolkien be­came three fat fea­ture fi lms by Peter Jack­son.

The fi rst Hob­bit out­ing, An Un­ex­pected Jour­ney, laid down one sim­ple ground rule about the way things would be with Jack­son’s lat­est take on Tolkien. The slow and scenic route will be fol­lowed at all times.

You should know by now whether you care to stick around for the whole of the marathon trek.

There­fore, it is very much busi­ness as snoozual in The Deso­la­tion Of Smaug. Pro­ceed­ings be­gin with a gen­tle re­minder that the great Thorin Oak­en­shield ( Richard Armitage) and all those other fi ne fi ght­ing Ian McKellen as Gan­dalf the Grey in dwarves are still some dis­tance off re­claim­ing their lost home­land of Ere­bor.

The cru­cial cross­roads up ahead will be found at Lonely Moun­tain, where a vi­cious dragon named Smaug ( voiced with a venom both sin­is­ter and sar­cas­tic by Bene­dict Cum­ber­batch) re­sides, sur­rounded by more gold than a rap­per’s en­tourage. Be­fore they get there? Much me­an­der­ing on the part of the Dwarves, as well as their ta­ga­long Hob­bit mate Bilbo Bag­gins ( Martin Free­man). As for Gan­dalf the Grey ( Ian McKellen), he has to nick off at the end of the fi rst act to deal with some nasty Orc busi­ness hap­pen­ing else­where.

Speak­ing of the Orcs, it must be stated that we should all be thank­ful for their con­stant pres­ence in The Hob­bit tril­ogy.

If the Orcs weren’t chas­ing, has­sling and diss­ing the dwarves all the way to Ere­bor, it would have taken Jack­son six movies to wrap the whole saga up. Strate­gi­cally placed among the many bor­ing bits of The Deso­la­tion Of Smaug are a few very good bits.

The in­tro­duc­tion of a new char­ac­ter never men­tioned by Tolkien in his book, an Elvish war­rior hero­ine named Tau­riel ( Evan­ge­line Lilly), livens up sev­eral dull se­quences.

It doesn’t re­ally mat­ter that this one- woman com­bat ma­chine be­longs in a Hunger Games movie. The Hob­bit movies could use a few more like her.

Also wor­thy of no­table men­tion is an ex­tended scene where Bilbo and the dwarves es­cape the clutches of the orcs in­side a fl eet of bar­rels be­ing rolled down a rag­ing river.

It is a vir­tu­oso piece of fi lm­mak­ing from Jack­son that takes one’s breath away. Another set piece staged in­side a cursed for­est full of over- sized spiders is al­most as strong.

Once he is done with The Hob­bit, Jack­son just has to do an all- stops- out ac­tion movie. It could re­ally be some­thing.

As for the end­ing of The Deso­la­tion Of Smaug, well, it isn’t re­ally much of any­thing.

All Jack­son does is lean for­ward and hit the pause but­ton at a cliffhang­ery junc­ture of his choos­ing.

Same time next year then?

THE RAIL­WAY MAN ( M) Ado­ra­tion D An­chor­man 2 B Amer­ica Hus­tle A Car­rie B De­liv­ery Man B Frozen A Grav­ity A+ One Chance C Rail­way Man B Rush B The Hob­bit: Deso­la­tion of Smaug B Hunger Games: Catch­ing Fire A The Se­cret Life of Wal­ter Mitty A A B A C - B A+ B A+ A - B A+ B B A B - B A B A A+ - B A

SLOW AND STEADY: The Deso­la­tion of Smaug.

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