50 – The Desolation of Smaug


I’ve been to a really pathetic number of films in the cinema over the last year and I’ve been desperate to get back into going and what better film to return to the big screen with than The Hobbit The Desolation of Smaug. I admit now that I found the first Hobbit film a little bit tiresome as it was 3 hours long but didn’t seem to have much to show for it, all I seem to remember from watching it was countless numbers of super wide shots of the group walking across New Zealand. I knew from just the trailers for the new installment that this was film was actually going to have something happen in it and I was right.

I think this is the best film I’ve seen in the cinema since Skyfall. The story in this one really had me hooked and at the end of the film I didn’t want it to end which is completely different to the first Hobbit film where I was almost falling asleep. The action sequences in this film are awesome and there are plenty of them. The quest that the dwarfs and Bilbo really goes up a notch and shows them in real danger this time round which created much more empathy towards the characters this time round and I found myself getting really invested in what was happening.


I can’t talk about the Desolation of Smaug without mentioning Smaug himself. Smaug is possibly the best aspect of this film. The way they have visually shown the dragon is frighteningly powerful but then they’ve paired the visuals with the enigmatic voice of Benedict Cumberbatch who manages to bring such magnitude and underlying wit to the character. My one regret is that I would have liked to have seen even more of Smaug but I’m sure that’s been done on purpose to encourage the audience to watch the next film.

It’s not just the dragons visuals but the whole of the world the characters are in is crafted magnificently and adds such a wide scope to the story. From Laketown to Smaugs lair filled with gold, everything comes to life spectacularly on the screen, even the non computer generated New Zealand landscapes still look stunning.


A personal favourite was above the forest when Bilbo pokes his head out of the trees, the shot where it sort of pans around Bilbo and shows the crisp autumn reds and oranges with the backdrop of the mountain and skyline looked amazing. It’s so strange as well because usually you can just about tell when something is CGI but I don’t know with that shot was is CGI and what’s not but I don’t really care because it looked brilliant.

As you can probably guess I was really impressed with this film and even with the credits music so just like the film I’ll let Ed Sheeran play us out.


15 – A mime and a man talking to himself

By accident on youtube I recently came across two short films starring two actors who I have grown to like, Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch. Who have recently been involved in Peter Jackon’s new Hobbit trilogy where Martin plays the hobbit protagonist and Benedict is voicing a dragon and starring as the necromancer in the third film. In fact just the other day a new trailer has been released for the next film.

I didn’t enjoy the first hobbit film that much because I thought it was too slow but what I did enjoy was Benedict Cumberbatch’s recent role as Khan in Star Trek Into Darkness which I really enjoyed. The list of great shows and films that they have respectively starred in spans from The Office to Atonement but what I personally know them for is BBC’s Sherlock and considering the huge cliffhanger that the last series left on I cannot wait for the next series. The teaser for which is below.

But anyway onto the short films. The first I saw was The Girl is Mime starring Martin Freeman as a mime artist with a guilty conscience.

This short film is really nicely made, especially when you find out that it was written, filmed and edited within 48 hours which is actually astonishing. Also this film is great research as the clip uses shot reverse shot very clearly in the exchange between the detective and the mime characters.

The obvious part of what is great about this film is that it conveys a story without the use of any dialogue. This is achieved because of the great physical acting that Martin Freeman does throughout the clip. The use of the main character miming is done for comical effect but also there is a slight bit of creepiness. Possibly because of the close resemblance to clowns which people can be unnerved by, also this weirdness is exaggerated because of the assumption that the main character kills both his wife and himself.

Also their is the use of more saturated colours in the more tense interrogation parts and less saturated colours in the flashback shots where the tone is more happy. The same can be said of the music, it is faster paced and high pitched in the flashbacks to connote happiness and is slower paced and more tense in the interrogation parts. The music is reminiscent of classic silent films and shares that jangly composed score.

The other short film I found, this time starring Benedict Cumberbatch was Inseperable

This film follows a father who is going through a very difficult period of his life where he finds out that he is going to die so arranges for his twin brother who is a gambling addict living on the streets to exchange lives with him.

Like the mime film this short film also has very little dialogue being used and relies more on very prudent visual images to tell the story. This makes it a lot more interesting for the audience to watch as you can piece together the story yourself without being told what is happening. In this sense it is actually quite disorientating but this could be an attempt to mimic the grave realisation the characters go through.

It’s worth mentioning that Benedict Cumberbatch does a really great performance in this film especially as he has to play two different characters and convey a lot of emotions. But he really pulls it off and proves he is a brilliant actor.

I found the soundtrack had more of an effect in this film as it created the tone of the film. I felt slow, tense and dark. One strange thing was that when the character in the film finds out he has a life threatening illness a sort sci-fi/horror esque noise. I think this to reflect the horror and fear that the character has at this point of the story.

I guess these two clips proves that sometimes youtube actually has more to offer than just cat videos.

Oh and BBC, just air season 3 of sherlock I’m fed up of trying to work out how Sherlock survived. Even though I’m pretty sure it involves jumping into that convenient truck nearby then rolling onto the floor.
Not that I’ve thought it through…