run time: 161 mins
considered: Adventure, Drama, Fantasy
starring: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Benedict Cumberbatch, Evangeline Lilly, Orlando Bloom, Luke Evans
movie summary: The dwarves, along with Bilbo Baggins and Gandalf the Grey, continue their quest to reclaim Erebor, their homeland, from Smaug. Bilbo Baggins is in possession of a mysterious and magical ring. (www.imdb.com)
my thoughts: In the second installment of the Hobbit series we are treated to yet another flashback foreshadowing things to come between Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) and Gandalf the Gray (Ian McKellen). After Gandalf explains what he knows about the treasures of the Lost Mountain and how Thorin can get there, the story fast forwards 12 months later. There we find Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) and the rest of the dwarves on the run from the ugly-looking orcs mere minutes from where the previous movie left off.
Running for their lives, Gandalf says he knows someone who can shelter the dwarves and hobbit while they come up with a plan. They end up spending the night at Beorn’s (Mikael Persbrandt) cottage, who happens to be a human that can turn into a bear. The group converse about which path to take and without many options head into the dark Mirkwood forest. These woods are known for messing with people’s sight, minds, and emotions. After getting lost and running around in circles, Bilbo climbs a tree to figure out where they are only to come down and be attacked by a giant spider. He escapes thanks to the power of the One Ring, while the dwarves are captured by the Wood-Elves led by Legolas (Orlando Bloom) and his side kick Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly).
Bilbo disappears with the One Ring again to save himself from being captured which allows him to free the other dwarves once they are put in prison. They sneak away in some barrels down the river where the Orc army is waiting to attack. In one of the best sequences in the series, the group manages to escape the rapids thanks to help from the Legolas and Tauriel. After making their way down stream they come to the lake at the base of the Lone Mountain. There they meet Bard (Luke Evans) who lives on the other side of the lake and is willing to take them there for the right price. Once the boat and group reach Lake-town they make their way up the mountain and into a secret passage. As daylight fades away the dwarves feel the map was a lie because don’t find the secret door, but when the moon comes out from the clouds the keyhole is revealed and they push open the door. Thorin sends Bilbo into the tomb to capture the Arkenstone which will return him to power. Bilbo is about to perform the only job he was brought on the journey for, but there’s a catch, he has to steal the stone without waking the sleeping dragon.
I spent a few days prior to the Hobbit 2 watching the whole Lord of the Rings series and the first Hobbit which lead me to feel that this movie really wasn’t connected to anything in the LOTR universe. This movie is long just like other films in the franchise, but this had only two major attack/fight sequences filled in between lots and lots of talking and down time. The name of the movie may have the word Hobbit it in, but this movie focuses far more on Thorin’s quest for gold and Gandalf’s search for the Dark Lord to push the story. Bilbo contributes to the escapes, fights, and treasure hunt but unlike other LOTR movies as one of the main character he feels like an after thought, just one of the dwarves now. He does start to sense the power the One Ring processes, but nothing like Frodo went through in the three previous movies. There was a part after the group arrive at Lake-town where I started to lose interest in the story because of how slow pace it was getting. Things continued that way once Bilbo goes into the tomb because he spends what seems like an hour looking for the stone and avoiding the dragon.
Overall this is a very well written and pieced together story, but I enjoyed the first Hobbit movie more. This is a must see for any fan of the LOTR and Hobbit series, while others will go and enjoy the action sequences and story telling but won’t understand everything unless they have seen the first one.
my star rating: 7 out 10