Did Peter Jackson really direct this sequel?
The Desolation of Smaug was absolutely fantastic. I am not a big fan of the LOTR series because of its slow tempo and its inability to keep the audience engaged 100% of the time. It did feel like the first sequel of The Hobbit, An Unexpected Journey, did a better job than the LOTR. But man, The Desolation of Smaug was even better!
What a pleasant surprise! (I know I like using this phrase, but I really mean it).
The first thing I did after I watched this movie (after searching the OST, which I'll be commenting more on) was to check if Peter Jackson was genuinely the director of this sequel. Kudos to him! He really deserves a lot of credit not just for reviving J.R.R. Tolkein's masterpiece but not letting the audience down by taking each movie to the next level.
Maybe it's because The Hobbit itself is a shorter story, but the dialogues and monologues were kept at a perfect length that did not drag down the tempo of the movie. 160 minutes passed really quick and transitions between each act were very smooth. The action scenes were entertaining as comical and nonsensical battle scenes (such as the barrel scene when the hobbits were escaping from the elves and orcs via river) were added to the usual serious battle scenes. Maybe the director is recently trying to create movies more geared towards the mainstream. In short, there were many components that were not seen in previous Middle Earth movies. I am not a movie expert so I cannot be too technical but that is what my sixth sense tells me.
Lastly, the soundtrack. Oh boy, just as the movie ended, "I see Fire" by Ed Sheeran was played. Acoustic, modern, slightly Celtic, very well suited with the overall "Middle Earthern" feel. Again, something that captivates the mainstream audience. I loved the music and it will surely remind me of the movie whenever I hear it on the radio or in a cafe. Which is exactly what an OST should serve to do. My favorite movie The Butterfly Effect does the same thing. At the very end, Oasis - "Stop crying your heart out" has this magical touch on the movie that makes you want to just listen to the music to recall and reminiscence the movie. I think "I See Fire" does the same thing.
Overall rating: 8.8/10
The best Middle Earth movie so far by Peter Jackson.