English: Peter Jackson promoting the 2009 film...

English: Peter Jackson promoting the 2009 film District 9 at San Diego Comic-Con. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If there are any people—I mean creatures—who have problems and struggles galore, it is the hobbit (Martin Freeman) and the dwarves inhabiting the world of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013).  They strive and fight and run all the way to the cliffhanger ending, and the Peter Jackson serial goes on.

Granted, I couldn’t keep up with everything that happens here, but at least I knew the stakes were very high.  Orcs, giant spiders and especially, a stupendous talking dragon called Smaug kept them that way.  Jackson has had a very uneven career, but Smaug is an eminently watchable pop movie with Lord of the Rings visual poetry and properly built excitement.

A cramped, old-world town on a cold lake, thin blankets of spider webs in a forest, lovely vistas beyond numerous treetops—-these images and more splendidly enrich a not-so-important enterprise.