Grade • B+
DVD • Pity the middle installment of a trilogy, a movie with neither a beginning nor an ending — all building on the first movie, with the resolution reserved for the finale.
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That said, Peter Jackson’s "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" delivers plenty of firepower as it continues the journey of stalwart Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) and his dwarf companions as they seek fortune and a jewel that will restore Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) to the Dwarf King throne. They encounter angry Orcs, double-dealing Elves and distrustful humans.
That’s all warm-up for the main event: Bilbo’s meeting with the fearsome dragon Smaug, brilliantly rendered by Jackson’s CG crew and malevolently voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch. You still have to wait ‘til December for the final chapter to hit theaters, but now the wait won’t be so boring.
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