Just like I did in my other alternate ending article, I need to start this off by saying that I love the world that Tolkien has created and I love how Peter Jackson has adapted such wonderful stories to the big screen. His Lord of the Rings film trilogy was definitely widely accepted by audiences and critics alike and the entire trilogy had earned a total of 17 Academy Awards.
The success of these films obviously led to fans clamoring to see Tolkien's classic story, The Hobbit: There and Back Again, given the same treatment that the Lord of the Rings did by Peter Jackson (I was one of these fans).
Then, there was release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in 2012 which, in my opinion, was a good movie (especially the extended cut) but nowhere near as great as the Lord of the Rings. But we were teased at the end of that movie with the one thing that I believe all fans were waiting for: Smaug the dragon.
The Beast Unleashed in the Sequel
The driving force behind seeing the second installment of the The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, despite some more pessimistic reviews for the first film, was due to the featuring of Smaug and the wonderful voice talent behind the highly anticipated dragon of the Lonely Mountain.
But even when watching the Desolation of Smaug, we still didn't get to see Smaug until more than half the movie was finished. I'll admit though, that it almost felt like a huge pay off when we did get to meet him. Benedict Cumberbatch did some excellent voice-acting here and there couldn't have been a better replacement for the part, he also did a very good job providing motion capture for the dragon.
This is HOW the Movie Ended
Well, the movie ended with a glorious display of action as Bilbo (played by Martin Freeman) tries to elude Smaug with the helps of the Dwarves.
Since the Dwarves that are accompanying Bilbo (or rather the Dwarves that Bilbo was accompanying) are/were natives to Erebor, the Dwarven kingdom located in the Lonely Mountain, they are able to apply their exclusive knowledge to the ins and outs of the cavernous kingdom which leads to having the eventual upper-hand over Smaug.
Not only were the Dwarves using their knowledge of where to go, but they were also applying their knowledge of the mechanisms within Erebor. All the technical and mechanical things that the Dwarves are capable of creating was excellently portrayed in the film. You saw, at times that almost seem humorous, the Dwarves begin to work starting up several different mechanisms which eventually led to Thorin standing boldly up to Smaug (with an obvious plan for defeating the great and terrible dragon).
They distracted Smaug, just long enough, with stunning gold work before unleashing a flood of gold in the great hall of Erebor in an attempt to drown the beast in the very thing that he lusted after.
At first the scene almost had me upset as I knew, from reading the books, that this was not how the movie was supposed to end. Smaug still needed to attack Laketown and that was where he would be struck down by Bard. But at first, it didn't look like that was going to happen. Had Jackson really altered Tolkien's original story that much? Well, after a few seconds, my question was answered as Smaug rose up out of the small lake of liquid gold...
... and took flight towards Laketown, thus fulfilling the correct portion of Tolkien's story. It was exciting as we were now going to be getting a great amount of action that would surpass even what we saw in Erebor.
After Cumberbatch's Smaug spoke the line:
"I am fire! I am... death!"
The movie goes black and the credits roll.
It was over.
Yup, that's how that happened, and we who knew the story and even some of those who didn't were like:
This is How the Movie SHOULD Have Ended
Now, before I continue, I am not going to go on writing a huge lengthy fan-fiction of how the movie should have ended. No, as a fan of source material, I'm going to keep it simple and fast.
The way The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug SHOULD have ended was the way The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies started.
"The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug". Let's analyze that title for a second. Let's take a look first at how the main antagonist gets his name featured right there in the title. This was not even an original title for the Hobbit and was probably only created because New Line Cinema wanted to extend the length of the Hobbit story for monetary reasons. But they didn't even tell the full story of Smaug in the DESOLATION OF SMAUG!
Next point to examine in the title is the word "desolation". Now, according to Merriam-Webster's dictionary, the word "desolation" can be defined accordingly:
1 : the action of desolating
2 a : grief, sadness b : loneliness
3: devastation, ruin 4: barren wasteland
I typically, sort of expect the title of a movie, especially like movies like the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings, to have very meaningful titles and though this does give some meaning, I also like it when it can be a play on words (similar to how The Walking Dead is).
So when we see the word "desolation" and compare it to what we've seen in The Desolation of Smaug we can see that Smaug does commit an act of Desolation or rather we see the results of that desolation in Erebor (we actually saw it desolated in An Unexpected Journey).
So we see that Smaug has fulfilled the definition of the word "desolation" in that he caused ruin, grief, sadness, loneliness, and destruction. But Smaug himself had not been desolated at the end of the Desolation of Smaug as he had been at the beginning of The Battle of Five Armies.
The entire opening to The Battle of Five Armies which showed Laketown becoming utterly destroyed by Smaug and the people fleeing in fear would have been a great climatic moment, especially when Bard rises up and smites the beast down himself with the last black arrow found in Laketown.
So, I guess, not only is this ending to the Desolation of Smaug an alternate but also an extended ending.
Concluding on Why It Matters
Well, one may wonder why I feel so strongly about this and the truth of the fact is is that I think Smaug is a great character in the Middle-Earth story of the Hobbit and I think that he was given a great amount of attention in The Desolation of Smaug. He was "terrible" as they say and menacing.
His inclusion into the opening of The Battle of Five Armies severely watered down the character in my opinion. We, as the audience should have witnessed the introduction of Smaug in the second Hobbit film as well as seeing him meet his end in that same film. This would have provided a payoff to the fans who had waited two movies to see the story of Smaug on film, it also would have provided closure to this portion of the Hobbit story without having to shoe-horn it into the last film.
So there you have it! That's my alternate ending The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. Do you agree with my alternate ending? Share your opinions in the comment section below and be sure to vote in the poll.