With the third and final Hobbit film coming to the screen, it only made sense to review a Hobbit audio drama. It’s hard to criticize this the same way people do modern audio dramas. A lot has changed and the story itself is a timeless children’s classic. After watching the extended edition of “The Desolation of Smaug,” and finishing the full-cast dramatization of the entire hobbit story, there were a lot of similarities. The scenes that weren’t in the theatrical edition were some of my favorite parts of the audio drama, but felt long and over bloated in the extended cut of the second Hobbit film. The scene that comes to mind is when the biggest dwarf falls in the bewitched water in mirkwood. Despite the narration, the version that appeared on NPR was more engaging. It felt like a part of the story, rather than a scene which was cut from the story.
The story’s ending is the weakest point. Maybe it’s the source material or perhaps it’s the adaptation of the beloved children’s book into an audible medium. Regardless from the moment Smaug is killed it feels rushed. It was bam, bam, bam, and we’re done. There was no time to catch a breath and mourn for the characters who lost their lives in the battle of the five armies. It’s a simple sweeping overview of the battle and its aftermath.