A Ring and a Ranger provide action

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, December 31, 2013

By Hugh McDonald

Guest Columnist 

If you like exciting movies about courageous adventurers, then “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” and “The Lone Ranger” are for you. “The Hobbit : The Desolation of Smaug” is the second part of a movie trilogy based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” or “There and Back Again” which was first published in 1937. The first part, “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” was released in 2012 and the last part “The Hobbit: There and Back Again” will be released in 2014. All three movies are directed by Peter Jackson, who directed “The Freighteners” (1996) and “King Kong” (2005). “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” starts at the group’s arrival at the mirkwood and follows them to Smaug’s lair. Along the way they encounter orcs, giant talking spiders, and one particular bow-wielding elf that you will recognize from the “Lord of the Rings” movies. The use of the same director, actors, costume style, set designs, and special effects techniques displays an impressive level of continuity between this film and it’s predecessor. The action scenes are interesting and imaginative. Bilbo’s character is well played by Martin Freeman. Over the course of parts one and two of “The Hobbit” you can really see Bilbo Baggins’ personality change from a shy little Hobbit in the Shire to a bona fide brave little adventurer with lots of new friends that he would never have met if it weren’t for his journeys. This movie is rated PG-13 and is not a good idea for small children because the movie is more focused on the violent battle scenes than the book, but the book is a classic tale acceptable for all ages.

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“The Lone Ranger” is available for rental or purchase on DVD/Blu-ray and is rated PG-13. It was directed by Gore Verbinski and stars Armie Hammer as “The Lone Ranger” and Johnny Depp as “Tonto.” Fans of theT.V. series will quickly notice that Johnny Depp’s “Tonto is much more comical than Jay Silverheel’s “Tonto” in the television series that ran from 1949-1957. Armie Hammer plays a good “Lone Ranger” and Johnny Depp’s “Tonto” doesn’t steal the show. The Lone Ranger and Tonto’s origin stories add depth to the characters and the story and the death defying action scenes were fun to watch. The action scene close to the end of the film on the train, coupled with the “William Tell Overture/Lone Ranger Theme” was fun to watch and gives a wonderful nod to the television series. Don’t be afraid to grab your remote and a bucket of popcorn and watch this at home.


This month’s movie fact explains what a “producer” does. A film producer’s role is very broad, depending on the project they can be in charge of finding the original material, possibly hiring a screen writer, adding and subtracting scenes, and the sale and distribution of the film. Be sure to enjoy “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” in theaters now and “The Lone Ranger” for rental or purchase on DVD/Blu-ray. See ya’ at the movies!


Hugh McDonald is a guest columnist and dedicated movie buff.