Critics Consensus: The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug is on Solid Ground

Plus, Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas wasn't screened for critics, and American Hustle and Saving Mr. Banks are Certified Fresh.

This week at the movies, we've got a journey through Middle-earth (The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug, starring Martin Freeman and Ian McKellen) and some yuletide shenanigans (Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas, starring Tyler Perry and Kathy Najimy). What do the critics have to say?

The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug

74%

OK, so here's the bad news: critics say The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug is overlong and overstuffed with characters and subplots that are likely to mean little to all but the most devoted of Tolkien fans. The good news? They also say it's a step up from An Unexpected Journey, in that it's better paced and more action-packed. This time, our heroes Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) and Gandalf (Ian McKellen) are on a journey to Lonely Mountain, encountering giant spiders, elves, and a human/bear hybrid as part of their mission to wrest control of a lost Dwarf kingdom from Smaug, a terrifying dragon. The pundits say the first two Hobbit movies have yet to approach the depth and sweep of the Lord of the Rings films, but Smaug mostly succeeds as both a middle chapter and a rousing fantasy adventure in its own right. (For lots more on The Desolation Of Smaug and the LOTR films, check out Hobbit Headquarters.)

Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas

19%

A Madea Christmas, like most of Tyler Perry's output, was not screened for critics prior to its release in theaters. When an old friend decides to pay a surprise visit to her daughter, she talks Madea (Perry) into tagging along; soon our irrepressible heroine is shaking up a small town's Christmas carnival. Time to guess the Tomatometer!

Also opening this week in limited release:

Comments

Vincent

Cutler the Witch Doctor

Im not a fan of LoTR. So I will avoid the Hobbit: Desolation of Your Wallet.

Dec 12 - 04:51 PM

Shritan Varma

Shritan Varma

nice oneliner but dont agree with the comment

Dec 12 - 11:23 PM

Jeff DeWitt

Jeff DeWitt

Then why are you looking at a review of a movie you aren't interested in and commenting on it?

Dec 13 - 07:27 AM

Vincent

Cutler the Witch Doctor

What review? This is just a consensus of the films that came out this weekend.

Dec 13 - 03:12 PM

Norman  R.

Norman Radcliffe

Considering the definition of the word "desolation," that title makes no sense.

Dec 13 - 08:53 PM

Vincent

Cutler the Witch Doctor

Yes. Your wallet will be void of money. Get a clue.

Dec 13 - 10:47 PM

Joseph Westwater

Joseph Westwater

10$ is so much money

Dec 14 - 01:48 AM

WS S.

WS Shannon

Don't insult him! He obviously doesn't make much if a 10$ loss is considered a desolation.

Dec 14 - 12:22 PM

Vincent

Cutler the Witch Doctor

Yes. Unlike you pampered white boys, the economy has struck me hard. But go on, enjoy daddy and mommy's money.

Dec 14 - 12:26 PM

Kenneth Higginbotham

Kenneth Higginbotham

To each their own. I enjoyed it, so it wasn't any desolation to my wallet. Time and money well spent.

Dec 15 - 11:44 AM

Typhon

Typhon Q

Desolation definitely looks like an improvement over Unexpected Jounrey (not that I didn't enjoy it). Seeing Smaug on the big screen is more than enough justification for an Imax ticket.

Dec 12 - 05:28 PM

lovinthelook411

marlon robalino

midnight showing here I come!!!

Dec 12 - 05:44 PM

Tino Pecchia

Tino Pecchia

Can't wait for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, American Hustle, Saving Mr. Banks and the Golden Globes nominees I have to catch up on.

Dec 12 - 05:52 PM

Andrew Milito

Andrew Milito

Will check out Desolation of Smaug for 2 reasons:
1) I'm a fan of LotR and the first film, so I'm naturally interested in Part 2.
2) There's so many trailers attached to this thing! If I remember correctly, Amazing Spider-Man 2, Interstellar, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Godzilla, and X-Men: Days of Future Past will be attached to it. I NEED to see this on a huge screen with surround sound!

Dec 12 - 06:12 PM

Vits

Vicente Torres

WHAT'S IN A NAME already came out here a few weeks ago. It's much, much better than the similar CARNAGE. Although, the ending is dissapointing.

I want to believe the critics that say that THE HOBBIT 2 is better than the 1st one, which I thought was just decent. But the critics also rated all the LORD OF THE RINGS movies the same, and I hated THE 2 TOWERS. So I might hate this one too as a middle chapter.

David O. Russell is on a roll! That's why I want to see AMERICAN HUSTLE, because the premise doesn't sound so interesting.

Dec 12 - 06:19 PM

Mike Smith

Mike Smith

5% for Madea.

Dec 12 - 06:53 PM

Brad and Netflix

Bradly Martin

I can wait for the the DVD of the Hobbit. Stretching out Tolkiens simple story even more. Fans demanding people say its from Tolkiens notes? Aint no Notes about an Elf warrior falling in love with one of the Dwarves and assisting in there escape?thats just typical hollywood Crap. Since I've already seen The Riddles in the Dark Sequence I don't know what's left to see. SO yeah long rant short I'd rather be a buzzkill at home than in a movie theater with people who actually paid to enjoy it.

Saving Mr. Banks looks fun and American Hustle looks great.

Dec 12 - 06:58 PM

crusader151

Peter Marsh

23% for Madea.

Dec 12 - 07:15 PM

Jon Cox

Jon Cox

nothing else to see this weekend
I'm going to wait to see 'Desolation of Smaug' with my sister after X-Mas
the good news is that more stuff will open around then to keep myself busy

Dec 12 - 09:21 PM

Shritan Varma

Shritan Varma

nice oneliner but dont agree with the comment

Dec 12 - 11:23 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

I'll see Smaug and American Hustle soon enough, probably over the week between Christmas and New Years. Also want to see Liv & Ingmar and Here Comes the Devil, and, who knows, Hours sounds like a good obituary for Paul Walker.

Dec 13 - 12:16 AM

Jeff DeWitt

Jeff DeWitt

Then why are you looking at a review of a movie you aren't interested in and commenting on it?

Dec 13 - 07:27 AM

Vincent

Cutler the Witch Doctor

What review? This is just a consensus of the films that came out this weekend.

Dec 13 - 03:12 PM

Matt Dunn

Matt Dunn

I went to The Hobbit last night. Fun as hell! It's been years since I've heard that much cheering in a theater, even at a midnight release! The first hobbit had some of my friends dozing off, but this movie left me energized and wide awake. It was fantastic, and features the best on-screen dragon ever. Period.

Dec 13 - 10:31 AM

Dave J

Dave J

I'll see it for the dragon!

Dec 13 - 12:15 PM

Infernal D.

Infernal Dude 2.0

It pleases me to see you use exclamation points properly.

Dec 13 - 04:24 PM

William Munoz

William Munoz

Am going to see The Hobbit, but 2 hours & 41 minutes seems very long...will have to avoid a big drink...so I can keep my mind on the film

Dec 13 - 11:18 AM

Dave J

Dave J

I'll see it for the dragon!

Dec 13 - 12:15 PM

Infernal D.

Infernal Dude 2.0

It pleases me to see you use exclamation points properly.

Dec 13 - 04:24 PM

marys1000

mary shotz

So basically more commercial, less true to the book. Pandering to the younger crowd. Mostly I wanted to fast forward thru the too long action scenes in the first movie, and some of the green scene stuff looked pretty fake in 1 too. I liked The Hobbit ok, better than LofTR which I actually haven't watched except in bits and pieces because I cant stand the Hobbit casting. In that sense The Hobbit is better. But it sounds like 2 will not be better for some us older, original fans of the book. We don't need action action action.

Dec 13 - 01:38 PM

King  S.

King Simba

How exactly is the film pandering to the young crowd when the book itself was aimed at them? It was also pretty action packed as I recall, with Bilbo and the Dwarves going from one peril to the next.

Dec 14 - 11:57 PM

Kenneth Higginbotham

Kenneth Higginbotham

...The Hobbit was a children's book, so it's "pandering" to the right audience.

Dec 15 - 11:46 AM

Philip Frey

Philip Frey

I'll watch "The Hobbit" when they produce the "book material only" version, which should run no more than two and a half hours in total. That way, at least the poor casting will be easier to take and we won't be subjected to characters from other books and nonsensical plot-points and characters created by Peter Jackson. (I almost typed "Hackson" there. Accurate, but I fixed it anyway.)

Dec 13 - 01:51 PM

Mohd Syafiq Bin Jabaruddin

Mohd Syafiq Bin Jabaruddin

I doubt using material only from the books can get you a good 150 minute movie. It'll be a surreal viewing experience, I admit, with plot points and events being introduced and resolved before people even realise it's happening. Perhaps they can use the Gilmore Girls technique to save time on the dialogue! An actual Hobbit movie using only materials from the book will likely need at least 4 hours.

Dec 14 - 05:14 AM

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