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The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

DETAILSRelease Date: Dec 13, 2013; Genre: Action/Adventure; With: Cate BlanchettOrlando BloomMartin Freeman,Hugo Weaving and Elijah Wood; Distributor: Warner Bros.

The second installment of Peter Jackson's adaptation of the 1937 J.R.R. Tolkien novel The Hobbit promises to be even more action-packed than the first. Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) and his band of dwarves meet up with some new Middle-earth faces, like the man-bear ''skin changer'' Beorn (Mikael Persbrandt), the heroic Bard the Bowman (Luke Evans), and the fierce elf warrior Tauriel, a character created specifically for the movie and played by Evangeline Lilly. And then there's Smaug, the arrogant dragon who greedily guards a hoard of gold that Bilbo and the dwarves are determined to reclaim. Benedict Cumberbatch was charged with (fire-)breathing life into the creature, employing the same motion-capture technology utilized to create Gollum. ''I was kind of a virgin to the whole [motion-capture] thing, but I absolutely f---ing loved it,'' Cumberbatch says. ''I was in all my gear with the dots on my face like an aboriginal warrior of the future. You really feel free to play. It was extraordinarily fun.'' Doesn't sound like there was much desolation at all.

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