The Desolation of Smaug


hobbitAfter the box office crushing success of The Hobbit it was a pretty safe bet that the second film in The Hobbit trilogy, The Desolation of Smaug, was going to be a blockbuster. The film was released in early December 2013 just in time for Christmas. The Desolation of Smaug has the second highest opening of any film released in December. The highest grossing film ever released in December was The Hobbit. The Desolation of Smaug has continued to be a box office juggernaut and has racked up a box office take of more than 400 million dollars in less than 30 days of being in theaters. When the last film in the trilogy, There and Back Again, is released the trilogy may end up surpassing the immense success of the Lord of the Rings trilogy which is one of the most successful movie franchises in history.  Sure to inspire many costumes this year.


The Hobbit, The Desolation of Smaug, and There and Back Again are all prequels to the events that occur in the Lord of Rings trilogy. The Desolation of Smaug centers around the journey of Bilbo Baggins to retrieve the Arkenstone, a jewel possessed by Smaug who controls the Lonely Mountain. The Arkenstone could unite the warring Dwarves. With the help of Legolas and another elf warrior named Turiel along with a supporting group of other beings Bilbo sets out to accomplish his mission. He uses the One Ring in his journeys which has drawn the gaze of Sauron. Gandalf discovers that the Nazgul have awakened and he knows that they have been sent by Sauron to hunt Bilbo and the One Ring.


The epic scale of the films is similar to that of the Lord of the Rings films. If anything the Desolation of Smaug is even more immense in scope than the previous movies. Peter Jackson, who directed the original Lord of the Rings trilogy, also directed The Hobbit, The Desolation of Smaug, and is directing There and Back Again. When the films were first going into production veteran fantasy director Guillermo del Toro, who directed Pan’s Labyrinth and other fan favorites, was slated to direct the movies after Peter Jackson wrote them but del Toro backed out of the project and Peter Jackson took over. There was some controversy about del Toro being given the director’s job in the first place and for  while fans worried The Hobbit films would never get made.


Many of the well regarded cast from the Lord of the Rings trilogy are reprising their roles in The Hobbit trilogy including Orlando Bloom, Sir Ian McKellen, Cate Blanchett, and Andy Serkis as Gollum. Having Peter Jackson directing both trilogies has made all the films flow together seamlessly. By the time The Hobbit started production the cast were already pretty familiar with each other and with Jackson’s direction style since many of them had worked on the Lord of the Rings trilogy together. One of the reasons why the epic fantasy films have been so successful all over the world is the continuity from film to film. Fans really feel like they are entering Middle Earth when they go to see the films and see so many familiar faces.


The Desolation of Smaug is one of the darker prequels because of the battles, the Dwarves and Smaug. Smaug is a giant black dragon who escapes from being buried in hot metal in the Lonely Mountain at the end of the film and takes off to unleash hell upon the town that helped Bilbo, Gandalf, and the Dwarves reclaim the Lonely Mountain. There and Back Again, the final segment of the prequel trilogy, will wrap up the stories of Bilbo’s adventures with the One Ring and will bring fans up to the point in time when the Lord of the Rings film started.


If history repeats itself the millions generated by The Desolation of Smaug will be eclipsed by the box office sales of tickets for There and Back Again. Usually the last film in a trilogy ends up generating the biggest ticket sales. There is no doubt that The Desolation of Smaug, like the other films based on Tolkien’s Hobbit and Lord of the Rings adventure stories will have a place among the most popular films of all time.


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