THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG // “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” was one of my favorite films of 2012. Besides the stunning visuals, Martin Freeman’s performance as Bilbo Baggins sells this film beyond a shadow of a doubt, as he embodies the age-old role and breathes an unexpected life into the character. How will “The Desolation of Smaug” top Gollum, the trolls, orcs, and goblins of the first film? Watch the trailer and you’ll see a bigger cast, bringing Legolas (Orlando Bloom) back into the mix, as well as fellow elves in Luke Evans and Evangeline Lilly. Not just that, but the return of the albino orc, a giant bear, and, of course, Smaug, the dragon.

I know we’re talking about a story that’s been around for ages, but having read the novelin grade school, I almost feel like I’m experiencing the adventure anew. Peter Jackson painted himself into a corner with the success of “The Lord of the Rings” but who better to tackle a trilogy for “The Hobbit”. As the prequel to “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” is always going to live under that shadow, but despite the criticism, this new trilogy is building up to be just as much of a classic, if not more so. And perhaps in a decade or so, critics will finally realize that. On a personal note, I couldn’t be more excited for December 2013.

Release Date: 13 December 2013

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