Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
Star Wars: The Force Awakens Teaser Trailer
The Farewell To Middle-earth Issue
The 2014 Christmas Gift Guide
Get 12 Issues For Only £25 Today
The perfect gift this Christmas
Farewell To Middle-earth
Full details of our Peter Jackson-edited issue
Movie News

LATEST HEADLINES
YESTERDAY
The Teaser Trailer For Star Wars: The Force Awakens Arrives
Time to wake up...
The First Full Trailer For Shaun The Sheep The Movie
Shaun: Sheep In The City
Podcast #139: Hugh Bonneville, The Horrible Bosses Boys
(That's Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis, by the way)
More Movie News

RELATED NEWS
27 November 2014
Lake-town's Burning In New Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies Pics
Benedict Cumberbatch's Smaug takes flight
More Movie News

RELATED FUTURE FILMS
Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
17 July 2017
Ant-Man
17 July 2015
The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies
12 December 2014
More Future Films

RELATED REVIEWS
Dracula Untold (2014)
Empire Star Rating
Into The Storm (2014)
Empire Star Rating
Guardians Of The Galaxy (2014)
Empire Star Rating
Broadway's Romeo And Juliet (2014)
Empire Star Rating
The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug (2013)
Empire Star Rating
More new cinemas releases
DVD & Blu-ray releases

Empire Reaction: New Desolation Of Smaug Footage
Plus Ed Sheeran confirmed for Hobbit theme tune

05 November 2013  |  Written by Phil de Semlyen  

submit to reddit

The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug

Last night's Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug fan event linked cast and fans in multiple locations around the world via the Eye Of Jackson. Empire was on hand to witness excitement levels soaring through a number of roofs with the introduction of Peter Jackson, Andy Serkis, Orlando Bloom, Richard Armitage, Luke Evans, Evangeline Lilly, Lee Pace and Jed Brophy in Wellington, London, LA and New York.

The highpoint of the evening - aside from a nail-biting cosplay contest that pitched one lady dressed as a barrel against another clad as Bilbo's front door - was a full 20 minutes of footage from the second Hobbit adventure. Jackson cautioned that a few of the effects from the five showcased sequences remained unfinished, but the show reel gave an impressive flavour of a movie that's a whisker from completion. [NB Highlight the hidden text for spoiler detail]

The first sequence showed Bilbo in the treetops of Mirkwood. A peek through the forest roof shows the company's destination, the Lonely Mountain and Long Lake, in the middle distance. Bilbo's glee is short-lived, however, as a sinister rustling heralds the approach of the wood's spidery denizens. Battle joined, the hobbit displays his new-found fighting prowess, with the Ring offering the dual advantage of invisibility and [spoiler starts] the ability to hear the spiders' conversation. As one is dispatched the forest floor, it cries out "Argh, it stings!". And, lo, Sting is christened. [spoiler ends]

As action sequences go, it's comfortably the best we've seen in The Hobbit trilogy so far: tightly-paced, with Jackson marshalling the effects work and camera moves into a nightmarishly gothic scenario from which there seems no obvious escape. But clearly there is, because we next see Bilbo freeing the dwarves from their wood-elf jailers and ushering them into barrels and out of the cellars via a Heath Robinson-esque system of levers and trapdoors. As two drunk (drugged?) elves snooze obliviously, the alert is raised and chase given.

The serene menace of the elves, and their animus towards orc and dwarf alike, shined through in this and one other sequence in which Thranduil (Pace) and Tauriel (Lilly) subject an orc pathfinder to 'enhanced interrogation'. Just in case anyone saw Tauriel as just a watered-down Galadriel facsimile, this scene should disavow them of that notion. Her aggressive, impetutous side comes to the fore as she lunges for orc blood and is stopped only at Thranduil's command. It doesn't do the orc much good, mind you. [spoiler starts] His head and body soon part company[spoiler ends], though not before he spits out an ominous warning. "You know nothing," he spits at Thranduil. "Your world will burn. The flames of war are upon you." The hint here is that Thrandruil may be missing the bigger picture: that Smaug is far from the greatest of his worries and that the real menace lurking just over the horizon is the Necromancer / Sauron.

Then we were treated to another fiddly relationship the dwarves must negotiate - doesn't anyone have a soft spot for the poor wee blighters? - with Bard the Bowman carrying them across wintry waters and into Lake-town via some very fishy barrels. Money changes hands. This is no noble gesture. Gloin isn't happy about any of it.

Last, but definitely not least, was a scene in which Bilbo is farewelled by Balin and left to tiptoe timidly down Escher-like staircases and into Smaug's lair to locate the Arkenstone. A little timidity is probably forgiveable in the circumstances. The dragon in the room, awoken by the inevitable chink of gold and crunch of jewels under the hobbit's feet, stirs as Baggins searches forlornly for a hiding place.

The effects work in the scene is remarkable - think Gringotts' multiplying treasures, multiplied by a thousand - and the slow-burn tension of the sequence and swooping camerawork replaces An Unexpected Journey's whimsy with something more gripping and, well, self-assured.

Among many other nuggets unveiled by Jackson during the night was news that Ed Sheeran has stepped into Neil Finn's songwriting shoes to pen the movie's end credits theme. A debut play of his song 'I See Fire', a slow-burning folk anthem that will be your Christmas earwyrm, went down a treat with the assembled throngs.


Still on a musical note, a deleted scene from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was also debuted. If you loved the washing-up song, this scene, in which Bofur (James Nesbitt) leads the company of dwarves in a singalong of the pub tub-thumper 'Man In The Moon', is definitely for you.

Jackson also hinted that the final Hobbit / Lord Of The Rings box sets will feature a long blooper reel, the franchise's first. Judging by some of Ian McKellen's swearier outtakes currently doing the rounds, it will be well worth looking out for.

The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug  will be with us on December 13. Check out the new trailer right here or, better yet, pick up a copy of Empire's new Hobbit-filled issue, onsale right now.

 

Have Your Say
To comment on this, and all articles, register for free or login now.

Anchorman 2 Character Posters Stomp In
It's the attack of the 50ft newscasters!
Disney Re-Scales Pete's Dragon
UPDATE: David Lowery in talks to direct his script

SUBSCRIPTION OFFERS

6 issues for £20 plus free Gourmet Society Membership worth £69.95!
Get 6 months of Empire for just £20 and not only receive the world's greatest movie magazine and exclusive subscriber covers but you'll also receive up to 50% off restaurants nationwide and more with a free Gourmet Society Membership worth £64.99!Click here to find the perfect offer for you


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
12 Must-Pause Moments From The Star Wars Force Awakens Teaser Trailer
What you may have missed, the 17th time around...

Watch Now: The Teaser Trailer For Star Wars: The Force Awakens Arrives
Your first glimpse of JJ Abrams' tour de Force

Director Paul King On Paddington, The BBFC And The Possibilty Of A Sequel
Exclusive: Empire sits down with the man behind the year’s nicest surprise

Empire's Jurassic World Trailer Tour
Updated: Director Colin Trevorrow guides us through the first trailer

Vote Now: The Jameson Empire Awards 2015
Tell us your favourite films and stars of the year

The Gift Guide 2014: 50 Must-Have Items This Christmas
Box sets, hardware, clothing, books and stocking fillers to buy

Empire's Hobbit: Battle Of The Five Armies Covers
Five armies. Five covers. The eagles, dwarves, elves, men and orcs prepare for battle in our Peter Jackon guest-edited issue

Subscribe to Empire magazine
6 issues for £20 plus free Gourmet Society Membership worth £69.95!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save money on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 12 issues of Empire for just £25!
Get the world's greatest movie magazine delivered straight to your door! Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)