When we last left our heroes, they were riding the backs of eagles, longingly eying the Lonely Mountain within their grasp. Twelve months later since the release of Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” (and since dwarf king heir, Thorin Oakenshield, first met with wizard Gandalf in a pub on the border side of the Shire), the company’s hiking through caverns and forests with Gandalf (Ian McKellan) at the helm — chaperoning children-sized men on a field trip across Tolkein’s Middle Earth.
“You’ll be safe here tonight,” says the wizard, telling tale tales of big black bears that turn into men. But these stories — setting the stage for Jackson’s already profitable “Lord of the Rings” franchise — are as ominous as the spider-filled Mirkwood forests the party has to venture through.
“Lord of the Rings” fans will enjoy the obvious foreshadowing. Dark shadows fester as an unnamed Necromancer upturns graves. Orc parties grow, gearing for war. But these elements make the film much darker than J. R. R. Tolkein’s children’s book, “The Hobbit, or There and Back Again” — which the film was loosely based on.
Luckily though, the party has a couple guides — including elven heartthrob Legolas (Orlando Bloom) of Mirkwood and Bard the Bowman (Luke Evans) of Lake Town — ferrying 13 dwarves and a hobbit (Martin Freeman) through rocks, trees and rivers.
“The Iliad” to “The Lord of the Rings'” “Odyssey,” “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’s” an epic fantastical 3D adventure. But whereas you won’t find orcs, elves and dragons beyond the myths and legends, elements of reality are found within “The Hobbit.”
At it’s core, the story’s about a nomadic people looking to reclaim their homeland. It’s a noble cause — certainly one that Zionist Jews could sympathize with. But if the dwarves were the Jews, then the dragon Smaug (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch) would be Palestinian Arabs, retaliating with suicide bombers and dragon fire. The result: “All shall fall in sadness and the lake will shine and burn.”
Of course, we don’t see the prophesy come to light yet. The fast-paced 161-minute film ends with a cliffhanger.
As with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, though, the story’s never-ending. Even after Jackson’s “Hobbit” trilogy concludes next December, the subsequent “Lord of the Rings” sagas seamlessly begin, bringing you on an endless journey there and back again.
“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” is directed by Peter Jackson and written by Jackson, Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens and Guillermo del Toro. The movie is based on J. R. R. Tolkien’s book, “The Hobbit, or There and Back Again.”