Hobbit 2 – The Desolation of Peter Jackson

29 Dec

We went off to see The Desolation of Smaug at the local arts centre, the Courtyard Theatre in Hereford. In a surprisingly underpopulated small venue we watched two and a half hours of Peter Jackson’s second part of The Hobbit. Tolkien’s children’s book has been stretched beyond recognition. That is no bad thing as I don’t much care for the book, truth be told. The filming was as dramatic as ever and the  dialogue not too stodgy. Steven Fry appears as a shifty small town boss and Smaug the dragon is voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch, who seems to get everywhere. I was suffering a bad cough and cold, sucking cough sweets to stop me ruining it for everyone else. As I was suffering you might regard this review as being a bit biased. In fact the film was a considerable improvement on the first film. Jackson strayed into Lord of the Rings territory, with Sauron making a prequel appearance. The best thing is to forget that the book exists and just let it all wash over you. The scenery of the Southern Alps is stunning and the cinematography luscious. Some of the sub-plots were a bit daft – actually the entire concept is a bit daft – but overall it was entertaining, so I’ll give it three stars. Make that four to show I’m not reacting too much to my suffering.

If you get the chance, or the DVDs, watch Parade’s End. Benedict Cumberbatch again! The series was brilliantly scripted by Tom Stoppard. Cumberbatch is somewhat miscast but still excellent as genius aristo Christopher Tietjens, socially crippled by outmoded moral values, and Rebecca Hall gives a show-stopping performance as his wife, Sylvia, at the same time reptilian and attractive. This mini series, based on the Ford Madox Ford novels merits five stars.

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