If it's face-melting fire-breathing dragons you seek, look no further than movie theaters this weekend.
Director Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit" trilogy unleashes its second installment on Friday (December 13), called "The Desolation of Smaug." As the title promises, there's a dragon in this one, and he doesn't disappoint. But he's not the only reason to tune in for round two of "The Hobbit." There's the amped-up action, the arrow-slinging elves, and the sexiest dwarf in Middle-Earth to consider as well.
Read on for five reasons why you should see "Desolation of Smaug" this weekend.
No more dinner at Bilbo's house. No more dishes, no more songs. It's straight on to adventure. "An Unexpected Journey" had its fair share of action scenes, but nothing like the sequences staged in "Desolation of Smaug." The entire Mirkwood portion of the film is exhilarating, especially "the barrel scene," in which the company travels down a river with orcs and elves battling all around them. If sluggish pacing was a problem with the first "Hobbit" film, it's nowhere near as much of an issue in round two.
Elijah Wood's turn as Frodo Baggins in "Unexpected Journey" was a brief bit of fan-service for "Lord of the Rings" loyalists. But Orlando Bloom's return as Legolas in "Desolation of Smaug" isn't just for show. The fan-favorite elf comes back with a vengeance here, stabbing swords and arrows through orc-flesh like a knife through butter. It's great to see the man back in action. Equally great, however, is Tauriel, a new elf warrior created specifically for the "Hobbit" films, played by "Lost" alum Evangeline Lilly. Believe it or not, she's just as cool as Legolas — dare I say it, even cooler.
The Sexy Dwarf
Bilbo, Gandalf and Thorin are the main players at the heart of the "Hobbit" series, but their roles feel somewhat reduced in "Desolation." Picking up the slack is Aidan Turner as Kili, the handsomest dwarf of the company. There's an argument that Kili is the beating heart of "Desolation," or at least the romantic hero of the piece. It's a departure from the novel, but an interesting one. Book readers know what lies ahead for Kili by the end of "The Hobbit," and his enhanced role in "Desolation" only builds the anticipation for the character's on-screen ending.
The truth of the matter is, if there's only one reason to see "The Hobbit," its named right there in the title. The desolating, destructive dragon Smaug is an absolute beast to behold. The reviews have it right: Smaug is one of the most marvelous CGI creations in recent memory, thanks to the combined efforts of Weta Workshop and actor Benedict Cumberbatch. Personally, I wanted to see more of Smaug taunting his prey, perched atop his mountain of treasure. But it's hard to complain as the dragon unleashes holy hell upon every enemy in his path. Smaug is easily the most anticipated aspect of the "Hobbit" films, and although it takes a while for him to arrive on-screen, the wait is well worth it.
"Desolation" is the second of three acts in the "Hobbit" trilogy, and as such, it ends with a bit of a nail-biter. Frankly, the ending is somewhat frustrating; the film concludes just as you're bracing yourself for the inevitable next steps. But the intense cliffhanger only furthers anticipation for round three, "There and Back Again," arriving next winter. Given the unfinished business of "Desolation," and the Battle of the Five Armies that still lies ahead, the final "Hobbit" film has no reason to be anything short of stunning.
Will you witness "The Desolation of Smaug" this weekend? Let us know your moviegoing plans in the comments section below!