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Saving Christmas (2014)
Director: Darren Doane
Cast : Kirk Cameron, Darren Doane, Bridgette Cameron

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Synopsis; Kirk is enjoying the annual Christmas party extravaganza thrown by his sister until he realizes he needs to help out Christian, his brother-in-law who has a bad case of the bah-humbugs. Kirk’s fresh look at Christmas provides Christian the chance to see Christ is where He has always been: at the center of our Christmas celebrations and traditions.

Watch Saving Christmas Full Movie: For those of us who have watched Kirk Cameron pontificate on the wonders of the banana, or read his musings on the legitimacy of the existence of fire-breathing dragons, we know that Kirk Cameron himself is comedy gold. One might expect more hilarity from Cameron in Saving Christmas, but Cameron actually intentionally tries to build a comedy here, and the result is an unfunny, unfocused, interminable mess.

Watch Saving Christmas Full Movie: The film begins with an uncomfortable scene involving Kirk Cameron sitting in a chair, lecturing at the audience. “They don’t want us to love Christmas,” Cameron declares authoritatively, never bothering define exactly who “they” are. Cameron drones on for several more minutes, and at this point in the film, I heard a kid in the back of the theater yawn loudly—perhaps an audible protest that this film would not be the exciting romp promised on the poster.

Watch Saving Christmas Full Movie: Finally, the film cuts away from Kirk Cameron, and we see several characters enjoying a Christmas party. But then we see Kirk Cameron again, the film literally freezes, and we hear Kirk Cameron narrating about himself: “That’s me—Kirk!” More lecturing ensues.

Watch Saving Christmas Full Movie: Eventually, a character by the name of Christian (almost as clever as “Josh Wheaton”), a Christian himself, despondently finds his way to a car, apparently disillusioned by the materialism of Christmas. Enter Kirk Cameron, who enters the vehicle and does what he does best—more lecturing.

Watch Saving Christmas Full Movie: The majority of the film takes place in this car as Kirk lectures to Christian, with occasional cutaways to Biblical imagery. Cameron tries to make the case that Christmas traditions, such as celebratory trees and gifts, all somehow originated with Christianity, not paganism. (Never mind the fact that ancient paganism predates Christianity.) “Last time I checked, God created the winter solstice!” is the type of asinine reasoning you’ll hear from Kirk Cameron throughout the film. Cameron’s facts are both dubious and sparse, and his connections are spurious—but Christian is nevertheless invariably blown away by Kirk Cameron’s apparently amazing insight.

Watch Saving Christmas Full Movie: Perhaps aware that interminable lecturing on its own would be unbearable for an audience, the film provides characters with quirky personalities in an effort to break up the tedium. In particular, we are treated to a scene back in the house of two characters rambling schizophrenically as they drink hot chocolate. It has nothing to do with Christian’s story, it makes the movie feel unfocused, it goes on for far too long, and if my theater is any indication, it is not funny at all. In fact, there was dead silence in my theater throughout the entire run of this “comedy” film.

Watch Saving Christmas Full Movie: The film ends with a dance sequence that feels like it lasts ten minutes, as well as multiple, gratuitous blooper scenes—I suppose for no reason other than to pad the running time. Just when you think it’s finally over, we see Kirk Cameron again, and he continues to lecture the audience—this time about how materialism is just fine, because Jesus came to us in a material body, after all.

Watch Saving Christmas Full Movie: One gets the impression that Kirk Cameron actually started reading his own Bible, was disturbed by what he found (such as Jesus’ instruction to “go sell your possessions and give to the poor”), and produced this film as a desperate justification for his own hypocrisy.

Watch Saving Christmas Full Movie: At my theater, nobody laughed, and nobody stayed for the end credits. This purported comedy film fails at every level. If you’re really looking for a laugh, go back and take a look at what Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort have to say about the glorious design of the banana.

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Dumb & Dumber 2 (2014)
Director: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly
Cast : Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels, Rob Riggle

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Synopsis; It’s been 20 years and Harry Dunn has found something out….he has a daughter Lloyd Christmas his equally dim witted friend takes one look at a picture of her develops a crush and insists the two track her down what ensues when Harry finally agrees is a bizzare encounter with an old lady and more hilarity in the form of their sheer stupidity

20 years since their first adventure, Harry finds out he has a daughter who was adopted. Lloyd and Harry try to find Harry’s adopted daughter.

Watch Dumb & Dumber 2 Full Movie: LIke many others I thought this movie was going to be that sequel you wish they didn’t make. Because I love Dumb and Dumber. And it seemed the only reason they made this sequel is because the directors and one of the actors haven’t been doing good stuff, the last couple of years.

Watch Dumb & Dumber 2 Full Movie: But surprisingly, Dumb and Dumber To is actually pretty fun. Sure some things have changed that aren’t so great. The jokes are hit-and-miss, sometimes the timing is way off and the characters of Lloyd and Harry are a little more mean-spirited and maybe even a little too dumb at times. But on the other hand everyone really did their best to make this feel like a Dumb and Dumber film. Unlike the god-awful prequel this film really feels like Dumb and Dumber and it’s actually fun to see some scenes re-created, but with a new little twist, or characters from the original film returning. And even though some jokes and scenes are forced, I have to admit the film actually had a great deal of scenes that made me laugh a lot.

Watch Dumb & Dumber 2 Full Movie: So as a big fan of the original film I was surprised that I enjoyed this film as much as I did. Let’s all not expect a masterpiece, but a film we can enjoy, that pays a nice homage to the original and well … really could have been a lót worse.

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Dumb & Dumber (1994)
Director: Peter Farrelly, Bobby Farrelly
Cast : Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels, Lauren Holly

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Synopsis; Lloyd Christmas is a limo driver who’s a few beers short of a six pack. His equally clueless roommate Harry Dunn is an operator for a mobile pet grooming service called “Mutt Cutts”. One day Lloyd is assigned to pick up a wealthy customer for a ride to the airport. He believes this customer – named Mary Swanson – is the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen. Little does Lloyd know that Mary is the victim of an elaborate kidnapping and extortion plot, and that the trip to the airport was supposed to be the payoff to release her kidnapped husband. Lloyd grabs the briefcase and that sets off a chain of events that see him and Harry going to Aspen, Colorado hell bent on delivering the briefcase to Mary. But along the way, they meet nearly every seedy and shady character involved in the conspiracy. But Lloyd doesn’t know that the briefcase he’s set on delivering to Mary contains nearly $5 million in cash. And his friendship with Harry is tested at every stop along the way, will they make it to Aspen and live the high life? Or face the wrath of the kidnappers and the FBI?

Watch Dumb & Dumber Full Movie: The Marx Brothers. Laurel and Hardy. Abbott and Costello. Jerry Lewis. Every generation has their dose of silliness. The 1990s had Jim Carrey. And along with him came the phenomenal hit “Dumb and Dumber,” a simple tale of two numb skulls who journey to Aspen in search of a woman and happiness.

Watch Dumb & Dumber Full Movie: Our tale begins when Lloyd (Jim Carrey) is escorting a young woman named Mary Swanson (the gorgeous Lauren Holly, who Carrey eventually married and then divorced) to an airport. He falls in love with her in the few minutes they share in the limousine, and after he has dropped her off, he watches her from the outside in his limo and sees her leave behind a black briefcase on the floor inside the airport. Rushing inside, he grabs the briefcase, only to find someone closing the gate to her plane. “It’s okay, I’m a limo driver!” he yells to a ticket checker, rushing down the airport jet way and running straight off of it, falling onto the cement runway below.

Watch Dumb & Dumber Full Movie: After retreating to his apartment, he convinces his pal Harry (Jeff Daniels) to come with him to Aspen to return the briefcase to Mary. Harry, the smarter one (or is that dumb-less one?), at first hesitates, and then reluctantly agrees, and so they are off. Little do they know that the briefcase they carry is actually ransom money that Mary was trying to pay to get her husband returned to her. Now with hitment on their tail, Lloyd and Harry make it to Aspen only to wreak even more havoc.

Watch Dumb & Dumber Full Movie: Comedic timing is everything in a comedy like this. Carrey and Daniels have chemistry and timing. Check out the scene where they are at the National Preservation Society Gala, and stand at a bar in bright, tasteless suits. The way they stand, talk, and interact is as if they really are bosom-buddies, two idiots without a clue.

Watch Dumb & Dumber Full Movie: The film is directed by The Farrelly Brothers, Peter and Bobby. You may remember them as the men who brought us the hilarious “There’s Something About Mary.” But truth be told, “Dumb and Dumber” is even better than “Mary.” Whereas “Mary” was a fun summer comedy with big laughs and tons of crude sex jokes, “Dumb and Dumber” is a true comedic gem, and carefully borders the line of tastelessness and taste, something “Mary” crosses over and never turns back to.

Watch Dumb & Dumber Full Movie: Is this movie “dumb”? Yes, absolutely. Will it offend you? Perhaps if you’re a snob. And I’m sure some film elitists will complain that there’s nothing substantial or of artistic merit here.

Watch Dumb & Dumber Full Movie: I don’t think it matters. This movie is meant to entertain and it does so wonderfully. In the past I’ve given negative ratings to films of the same genre that are just meant to be brain-less, silly fare (such as “Me, Myself & Irene”) – the difference here is that “Dumb and Dumber” manages to come across as both likable and entertaining, while still managing to feature characters we can actually, in some crazy way, find ourselves liking.

Watch Dumb & Dumber Full Movie: In the end, this is just a very funny movie that is well-made and memorable – much more so than some of its other 1990s “stupid-comedy” counterparts.

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Fast & Furious 7 (2015)
Director: James Wan
Cast : Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson

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Synopsis; Deckard Shaw seeks revenge against Dominic Toretto and his crew for the death of his brother.

 

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Paranormal Activity The Marked Ones (2014)

Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (2014)
Director: Christopher Landon
Cast : Andrew Jacobs, Molly Ephraim, Richard Cabral

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Synopsis; After being “marked,” Jesse begins to be pursued by mysterious forces while his family and friends try to save him.

Watch Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones Full Movie: Everybody knows that it’s the fifth film in a horror franchise that really brings the critical acclaim. It’s a bit disappointing Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones seems a little bashful about its fivequel status, covering its shame with a subtitle instead of flying its five flag proudly. When the original Paranormal Activity was released way back in 2007, the found footage genre still had a tingle of novelty to it – audiences who’d forgotten The Blair Witch Project and were discovering with surprise that cinema was still able to scare the pants off them.
Watch Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones Full Movie: Four sequels and six years later the found footage genre is on shakier ground. Major studios have gone big budget with the excellent Cloverfield, and smaller studios all around the world have realised that idiot kids fiddling around with a digital camera in their houses is a really cheap way to make film. So we’ve become inured to heavy breathing and shakycam, bored by tendrils of horror creeping into the mundane and felt a tinge of the passe as we try and pretend this is ‘actually’ found footage.
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Watch Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones Full Movie: This leaves The Marked Ones in an uncomfortable spot. This franchise is very slowly bleeding out, each film making less money than the last, audience fatigue firmly setting in. How do you reverse this trend? Well, the tactic here appears to be to throw the kitchen sink at the film and go balls out nutty – taking a series primarily known for minimalistic subtle chills and deciding that the way to go is occult maximalism, embracing horror film as theme park ride.
Watch Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones Full Movie: This entry takes takes place in Los Angeles and focuses on two 18 year friends: Jesse (Andrew Jacobs) and Hector (Jorge Diaz). They’ve just graduated college and are in a celebratory mood, killing time by messing around with Jackass style stunts in their neighbourhood. But in the flat downstairs from theirs dark doings are transpiring. Demonic screams and weird rituals appear to be taking place, all centred around a mean old lady everyone considers a bruja. With a scream, a clatter and flash of blue police lights she winds up dead, and so our two intrepid boneheads decide to poke around inside the murder scene.
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Watch Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones Full Movie: They pretty much walk into a horror movie set, as if the fruit cellar from Evil Dead 2 had crashed into John Doe’s apartment from Seven. The place couldn’t look more impossibly creepy; all growing filth, bloodstains, weird magical artefacts and so on. After getting a fright the two flee, only for Jesse to wake up from a weird dream with a strange mark that almost looks like a bite on his arm. Soon things start getting weird for Jesse – board games start talking to him, he seems to be under impossible mystical protection, weird strings come out of his eyes and his dogs whimpers in fear whenever he comes near.
Watch Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones Full Movie: Eventually he sort of develops superpowers, but after the initial rush of excitement that he can beat up people real good and do neat skateboard tricks things start get a bit demonic and the fun ends. By this point the film becomes a weird cocktail of bits of The Exorcist and Spider-Man. The Marked Ones settles into this gear for the majority of its svelte 84 minute run-time and, admittedly, this material works.
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Watch Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones Full Movie: These performances aren’t going to set the world on fire, but they’re still above average. Andrew Jacobs as the possessed Jesse believably makes the transition from horny dork to superhuman devilman, surprisingly us when someone so goofy begins torturing dogs and falling into uncontrollable violent rages. Jorge Diaz as his best friend is generally behind the camera, though he manages to quite touchingly portray the sadness of someone whose best friend becomes unrecognisable. With these ingredients in place The Marked Ones seems to have all it needs to trundle its way to a spooksome ending and be an above-average horror film, more than doing justice to the Paranormal Activity reputation. Unfortunately the film begins to spin out of control as it approaches the climax, deciding to eschew spookiness and make the bizarre decision to go full on action/comedy.
Watch Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones Full Movie: At least, I figure it was comedy they were going for – there certainly was enough laughter among the audience I watched it with. Increasingly it feels like you’re walking through a funfair haunted house: random monsters popping out of nowhere without explanation purely to give a thrill of fear. To give one example – at one point two spooky young girls straight out of The Shining pop from behind a curtain and go “BOO!”. They’re never mentioned again, even within the creaky plot they don’t make a lick of sense. By the final sequences it’s as if we’ve walked onto Paranormal Activity: The Ride.
Paranormal Activity The Marked Ones
Watch Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones Full Movie: This increasingly dislocated randomness reaches perplexing heights in the last sequences of the film. I’m a known sucker for unexpected twists but The Marked Ones twists so far it snaps in two, the final moments of the film leaving the audience utterly bewildered as the credits roll. Perhaps it would make a bit more sense if I’d paid close attention to the films that came before it, but as someone who’s just watched the original Paranormal Activity on its initial release and nothing in the series since, it didn’t make a lick of sense. That a film is a purely thematic sequel for 95% of the runtime and then suddenly in the last few minutes relies on you having seen all the previous films to make sense of it is an unforgivably dumb misjudgment.
Watch Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones Full Movie: It’s a shame The Marked Ones derails so badly as there’s the seed of something good here. Most of the film is competent and confident, and if it had stuck with this tone it could well have been a nice shot in the arm for the franchise. As it stands you’ll walk out of the cinema with a bad taste in your mouth, the colossally misjudged ending retroactively poisoning the rest of the film.

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Frozen (2013)
Director: Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee
Cast : Kristen Bell, Josh Gad, Idina Menzel

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Synopsis; Anna, a fearless optimist, sets off on an epic journey – teaming up with rugged mountain man Kristoff and his loyal reindeer Sven – to find her sister Elsa, whose icy powers have trapped the kingdom of Arendelle in eternal winter. Encountering Everest-like conditions, mystical trolls and a hilarious snowman named Olaf, Anna and Kristoff battle the elements in a race to save the kingdom. From the outside Anna’s sister, Elsa looks poised, regal and reserved, but in reality, she lives in fear as she wrestles with a mighty secret-she was born with the power to create ice and snow. It’s a beautiful ability, but also extremely dangerous. Haunted by the moment her magic nearly killed her younger sister Anna, Elsa has isolated herself, spending every waking minute trying to suppress her growing powers. Her mounting emotions trigger the magic, accidentally setting off an eternal winter that she can’t stop. She fears she’s becoming a monster and that no one, not even her sister, can help her.

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Watch Frozen Full Movie: It takes brilliant minds and highly talented animators to create something visually refreshing nowadays. That and some more interesting fairy tale folklore like The Snow Queen to derive a new concept from.

Watch Frozen Full Movie: At first glance, you may be under the impression that Frozen only succeeds as a tantalizing visual feast for the eyes, but you’d be dead wrong. Frozen may be a special effects filled force to be reckoned with on technical levels, but it’s also a seasonally appropriately released feature with wits and heart.

Watch Frozen Full Movie: Elsa (Idina Menzel) is a young child and princess who mysteriously inhabits the power to inadvertently freeze anything she comes into contact with. It’s not a power she asked for, but after almost accidentally killing her sister Anna (Kristen Bell), it’s evidently clear that she cannot control the magical power. This results with the King and Queen locking Elsa into her room, destining her to a quarantined life of loneliness and confinement throughout her youth. After an unrelated unfortunate accident, the King and Queen perish, forcing Princess Elsa to reenter society and claim her rightful status as Queen.

Watch Frozen Full Movie: Elsa’s sister Anna, is more easygoing and down to Earth, perhaps too much so. For example, she becomes engaged to a Prince named Hans (Santino Fontana) within the timeframe of a day, solely because he’s got some charming good looks. Immediately after accepting the proposal she asks her sister Queen Elsa for marriage consent amidst her coronation ceremony. Accounting for the fact that Elsa is already trying to keep her ice powers under wrap, this startling news tips her over the edge, causing her to completely bombard the realm with ice before running away from all responsibility.

Watch Frozen Full Movie: Anna is provoked to seek out her sister in the hopes she can restore summer, and befriends a traveling ice merchant named Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) along the way. Kristoff is an odd fellow that has conversations between himself and his loyal reindeer companion Sven. Together they befriend an inexplicably talking snowman named Olaf (Josh Gad), along their journey to find Elsa and make things right.

Frozen

Watch Frozen Full Movie: Right off the bat though, it’s disappointingly obvious how the majority of Frozen will play out. That’s actually mitigated though because there’s some fantastic execution littered throughout the story. as it gets across all of its earnest messages of love, friendship, sisterhood, loneliness, and responsibility. It’s a story written in ways that both children and adults can not only enjoy, but take something away from.

Watch Frozen Full Movie: A good portion of that success definitely comes from Anna’s character too, who at first strikes you as this one note cliché of how shallow women act, but slowly transforms into a character all audiences can root for as the events unfolding around her demand her to take charge and mature. Looking back, Anna’s character from the ending bared no resemblance to her portrayal in the beginning, proving that Disney succeeded in taking their typical Princess character and imbuing her with strength and courage.

Watch Frozen Full Movie: Elsa also has some truly defined characterization despite having – what feels like- the least amount of screen time in the film. It’s evident that Disney wanted to flesh her character out throughout the majority of the early musical numbers, and they succeeded. It’s incredibly easy to sympathize with the fact that a lot of her life has been stolen over powers she can’t handle.

Watch Frozen Full Movie: Speaking of the aforementioned musical numbers though; they are some of the best musical sequences Disney has produced in a long time. It’s a combination of both the singing being vocally beautiful, but the lyrics getting across pertinent plot themes that again, really help expand on how characters are coping with various plot points. For example, after Elsa abandons her royal duty as Queen, she isolates herself in the wilderness and erects an ice castle atop a mountain, throughout a crowd pleasing number titled “Let It Go” . The song masterfully gets across Elsa’s pain and mindset of preferring solitude, and I wouldn’t be shocked if it wins an Oscar or at least receives a nomination.

Watch Frozen Full Movie: In addition to how beautiful everything sounds, the animation and effects look absolutely stunning. I’ve always been a firm believer that if you truly want to blow peoples mind’s with special effects, create something extravagant around an Icelandic setting with light blue color palettes, richly detailed snow, and high production ice physics. The act of simply water freezing over into ice as Elsa walks over it looks magnificent as do so many other scenes. Frozen deserves awards for its technical prowess, rich environments, and lifelike character animation.

Watch Frozen Full Movie: The only aspect that may be a slight bit off-putting to older viewers is the aforementioned talking snowman Olaf. He really doesn’t seem to serve a true purpose to the plot, but rather exists as more child accessible humor to balance out what is indeed a more mature Disney plot. His presence never bothered me, but it feels like Sven the reindeer already charismatically fulfills the obligatory animated animal character quota. Overall, the filmmakers did use Olaf sparingly and carefully oversaw how they used him, instead of having him unbearably overpower a good story.

Watch Frozen Full Movie: Frozen is without a doubt the best animated film to come out of North America in 2013. It has a giant heart with a great story chockfull of useful themes and life lessons for young children and adults alike. More importantly, with the consistent success of many Disney princess films lately, it’s almost as if they found a way to rejuvenate the sub-genre and are embarking on another golden age of animated features.

Frozen is playing in US cinemas now!

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The Hobbit 2: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)
Director: Peter Jackson
Cast : Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage

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Synopsis; After successfully crossing over (and under) the Misty Mountains, Thorin and Company must seek aid from a powerful stranger before taking on the dangers of Mirkwood Forest–without their Wizard. If they reach the human settlement of Lake-town it will be time for the hobbit Bilbo Baggins to fulfill his contract with the dwarves. The party must complete the journey to Lonely Mountain and burglar Baggins must seek out the Secret Door that will give them access to the hoard of the dragon Smaug. And, where has Gandalf got off to? And what is his secret business to the south?

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Watch The Hobbit 2: The Desolation of Smaug Full Movie: When you’re a big fan of something, it can be difficult to be objective. Yes, I’m a fan of Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit – I liked An Unexpected Journey despite all its flaws. But believe me when I say you’re going to want to see The Desolation of Smaug because, all fan excitement aside, it’s a bloody good film.

Watch The Hobbit 2: The Desolation of Smaug Full Movie: Despite a brief flashback at the beginning, Desolation wastes no time in getting straight back into the action. Picking up where Journey left off, Thorin’s company is on the run through the mountains, pursued by Azog and his orcs. The pace rarely drops as the dwarves and Bilbo constantly leap out of the frying pan, into the fire and back again, getting ever closer to the dragon-guarded treasure at the end of their quest.

Watch The Hobbit 2: The Desolation of Smaug Full Movie: With more action, it would be easy to say that Desolation is simply a more entertaining film – there are fantastic fighting set pieces, where genuine scares and gasp-out-loud moments are thrown in with a bit of slapstick (at times, there’s an almost Chaplin-esque choreography to the way Legolas dispatches orcs). However, aside from ramping up the action, Peter Jackson has created a more rounded and mature film with Desolation.

Watch The Hobbit 2: The Desolation of Smaug Full Movie: It is a true ensemble piece, with parallel plot lines allowing individual characters to develop far beyond the scope of Journey. Having thirteen dwarves in one quest was always going to be difficult – the danger is that most will become glorified extras, and in Desolation some of the dwarves are still overlooked. But still, whilst the first film dealt mostly with Thorin’s character, we now get more from his companions, especially Kili (Aidan Turner). Jackson really expands this character and a wonderful plot strand culminates with Kili delivering one of the most heartfelt speeches of the film, made even more fabulous by the fact he’s got is head in a bowl of nuts at the time. Turner really shines in Desolation and will no doubt attract due interest from fans and critics alike.

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Watch The Hobbit 2: The Desolation of Smaug Full Movie: On top of this, Jackson manages to make the new characters feel like real, fleshed out people. Legolas (Orlando Bloom) returns as a prouder, more restrained character than the elf we know. The daddy issues behind this are apparent in Lee Pace’s portrayal of Thranduil, King of the Silvan Elves and Legolas’ dad. Pace alternates between aloof condescension and trembling, swift rage. The whole thing would feel hammy in any other film, but in the high fantasy setting of Middle Earth it comes across as alien and disconcerting.

Watch The Hobbit 2: The Desolation of Smaug Full Movie: Meanwhile, Jackson’s original character Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly) more than cements her role in the films – Jackson boldly takes her character down a route you really won’t see coming and makes the film far more interesting for it. Not canon but definitely worth the deviation, Lily is a compelling screen presence. Similarly, Bard (Luke Evans) comfortably slots into the Aragorn-shaped hole in The Hobbit, providing us with rugged good looks and ancestral hang-ups galore.

Watch The Hobbit 2: The Desolation of Smaug Full Movie: And what about the dragon? When Bilbo finally creeps into Smaug’s lair, Jackson teases us with a slow unveiling of the monster and it’s worth the wait. Smaug is vast and Weta have done their job masterfully in creating something so big yet so organic. Cumberbatch’s computer-enhanced voice lends a chest-rattling depth to the character so that the overall result is both recognisably human and totally other. It is an awe-inspiring creation.

Watch The Hobbit 2: The Desolation of Smaug Full Movie: However, not everything is perfect – far from it. Following on from the bouncing-off-walls in the goblin caverns in Journey, the laws of physics only seem to apply sporadically to our protagonists. The barrel sequences are fun but the action becomes cartoonish when gravity is held in so little regard. Even with elvish light-footedness, it’s a bit far-fetched. There’s a couple of off-touches to the feel of the film too – Legolas’ contact lenses are a weird tinge of bright blue, and only serve to distract from Bloom’s acting. Similarly, Ed Sheeran’s end-credits song just doesn’t fit with the film, and just seems like a tip-of-the-hat to celebrity – give me Howard Shore any day. Meanwhile, the climactic showdown comes across as a bit strained – dwarfish Macgyver-ing becomes hard to believe whilst being chased by a dragon, although the final golden moment is spectacular.

Watch The Hobbit 2: The Desolation of Smaug Full Movie: It’s in the fantastical moments that Desolation really excels. A cascade of countless coins slowly shifting to reveal a gigantic eye; blue butterflies erupt from a sea of red-gold leaves; shadow incarnate ebbs and flows through the ruins of Dol Guldur. Jackson knows how create a spectacle and his world-building is superb. We are given unbelievably intricate artistry in the elegant architecture of the Halls of the Woodland Realms – pillars and stairs seem to grow organically from the rocks themselves to create an otherworldly kingdom. Meanwhile, the eye for detail in the creation of Laketown is mind-blowing – from a pair of pug dogs sniffing along a quay to the icy water, the whole location feels utterly authentic.

Watch The Hobbit 2: The Desolation of Smaug Full Movie: Throughout Desolation, Jackson underpins action and entertainment with bold themes. With a deftness lacking in Lord of the Rings, he explores ideas of addiction, greed, abuse of power, loyalty and sacrifice, and all without coming across as preachy. Far more than any other film he has made, The Desolation of Smaug is a grown-up fantasy for adults, where Jackson invites us to reflect on a world stranger and more heroic than our own.

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