The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug ★★★½

Ah, The Hobbit. It's been a while.

When the first film came out around Christmas in 2012, Mal and I actually drove all the way to Columbia (about 2½ hours away) just to see it in 48 frames per second. It was an interesting experience, one that took a while to adjust to (and left me feeling ill afterwards).

We never saw this second film in theaters because I was so hellbent on seeing it in 48fps again. At the time we were in Wisconsin, and no nearby theaters were playing it at that framerate. So we skipped it.

Flash to December 29th, 2014. Friends want us to see the third film with them! Can't do that without knowing the middle, so we Redbox'd the Blu-Ray of Smaug.

I honestly couldn't remember much of the story, sadly. I have never seen The Lord of the Rings (aside from the first film, some time ago), and the lore doesn't stand out very well in my mind. Mal helped fill me in on what was going on. The dwarves are still on their mission to reclaim their mountain from the dangerous dragon, Smaug, and have enlisted the help of Gandalf the wizard and Bilbo the hobbit.

This time, however, they actually get to the mountain! (Which also led me wondering how on earth they could make a third movie...) I've never read The Hobbit so I have no idea how close it is to the source material, but the film was by and large entertaining. Smaug was a great character for the little screen-time he had near the end.

It was definitely an enjoyable watch, but at the same time, nothing particularly special. I've heard amazing stories about how incredible the Lord of the Rings trilogy is, but I can't help but feel The Hobbit ultimately falls flat. There was also an incredible amount of fan service in the film that very obviously serves to make fans of the original trilogy foam at the mouth.

Overall, I'd recommend it, though.