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The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug (2013)

tomatometer

74

Average Rating: 6.8/10
Reviews Counted: 214
Fresh: 159 | Rotten: 55

While still slightly hamstrung by "middle chapter" narrative problems and its formidable length, The Desolation of Smaug represents a more confident, exciting second chapter for the Hobbit series.

66

Average Rating: 6.5/10
Critic Reviews: 44
Fresh: 29 | Rotten: 15

While still slightly hamstrung by "middle chapter" narrative problems and its formidable length, The Desolation of Smaug represents a more confident, exciting second chapter for the Hobbit series.

audience

86

liked it
Average Rating: 4.1/5
User Ratings: 246,690

My Rating

Movie Info

The second in a trilogy of films adapting the enduringly popular masterpiece The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug continues the adventure of the title character Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) as he journeys with the Wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellan) and thirteen Dwarves, led by Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) on an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor.(c) WB

Apr 8, 2014

$258.4M

Warner Bros. - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (214) | Top Critics (44) | Fresh (159) | Rotten (55) | DVD (2)

The tale has no emotional resonance, and the thinness of the plot (only five of the book's chapters are adapted here) and the colorless depictions of the leading characters do it no favors.

December 30, 2013 Full Review Source: New Yorker
New Yorker
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Be forewarned: Whether through ego, avarice, or unchecked enthusiasm, Jackson has wandered deep into the realm of fan fiction.

December 13, 2013 Full Review Source: The Atlantic
The Atlantic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

With the introductions and bag-packing out of the way from the first film, the new movie jumps straight into the action and doesn't relent until the cliffhanger ending almost three hours later.

December 13, 2013 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

For the casual but compelled moviegoer, The Desolation of Smaug is a fine improvement over the first offering. Tolkien aficionados may feel otherwise.

December 13, 2013 Full Review Source: Denver Post
Denver Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Desolation of Smaug looks as dreary as the title would lead you to believe. The whole thing lingers in the memory as piles of sludge and ash.

December 13, 2013 Full Review Source: Grantland
Grantland
Top Critic IconTop Critic

I'm not an aficionado of J.R.R. Tolkien's wonderworlds and I was bored with the first Hobbit movie. All this is by way of saying I quite liked its sequel and the second in the trilogy.

December 13, 2013 Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor
Christian Science Monitor
Top Critic IconTop Critic

"(There) seems to be more action this time around. It's much more thrilling and is, again, pertinent, necessary action. And the character moments just work better in this installment."

May 12, 2014 Full Review Source: Cinephiled
Cinephiled

Smaug slept through the first Hobbit film, and boy was I jealous.

April 18, 2014 Full Review Source: Movie Chambers
Movie Chambers

For all the great effects it garners, [it] is a cold, and monotonous epic that borders on fan fiction.

April 8, 2014 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

The dragon is battled by dwarf, elf and Hobbit in a semi-decipherable battle of industrial de-evolution. Gold seethes down like the sweetest Caramelo candy bars passed down from the Gods. Oh, the beauty of the fallen, fiscal world.

April 7, 2014 Full Review Source: Newcity
Newcity

It's these impulses of Jackson (amped up action and crass disrespect for the text) that spoiled the film; there's no let up, no pause for breath, no pause even for meals.

February 7, 2014 Full Review Source: Future Movies UK

As usual, the dialogue includes certain important-seeming nouns which bushy beards and thick theatrical accents make difficult to discern.

February 4, 2014 Full Review Source: SF Weekly
SF Weekly

A terrific middle chapter with plenty of action, excitement and fun.

February 3, 2014 Full Review Source: Cinema Sight
Cinema Sight

An entertaining adventure with some truly masterful moments, but they still fail to justify the nearly three-hour running time.

January 22, 2014 Full Review Source: The Verge
The Verge

Whatever hiccups there are, Freeman continues to be note-perfect, and Jackson does deliver on the action and builds a great deal of momentum in the final stretch.

January 15, 2014 Full Review Source: TheMovieReport.com
TheMovieReport.com

Nearly everyone in the film is creaking under the weight of the past.

January 14, 2014 Full Review Source: Film Comment Magazine
Film Comment Magazine

It's natural to be repelled by Jackson's commercial- and franchise-minded motives ... but, ultimately, he delivers escapist entertainment that functions as the cinematic equivalent of comfort food.

January 13, 2014 Full Review Source: Cinema Writer
Cinema Writer

For as much as Smaug is a technical improvement over its predecessor, the screenplay is still disappointingly shallow.

January 8, 2014 Full Review Source: Impulse Gamer
Impulse Gamer

More tightly paced and action-oriented than its predecessor

January 8, 2014 Full Review Source: Q Network Film Desk
Q Network Film Desk

Even more entertaining than its predecessor, "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" continues J.R.R. Tolkien's journey with fleshed-out characters and action sequences that will bring fans back to their beloved Middle Earth.

January 7, 2014 Full Review Source: Quad City Times (Davenport, IA)
Quad City Times (Davenport, IA)

When Jackson sticks to the game plan Tolkien laid out for him, amazing happens. Yet when Jackson strays like he has during key moments here, you can be forgiven if thought this chapter was titled "The Desolation of Tolkien".

January 5, 2014 Full Review Source: Matt's Movie Reviews
Matt's Movie Reviews

Finally, there is the great Smaug, menacingly voiced by Bennedict Cumberbatch with a mixture of menace and humor.

January 3, 2014 Full Review Source: MediaMikes
MediaMikes

Serves as the transitional movie between the introduction and the conclusion, but the ending to this movie is too abrupt.

January 3, 2014 Full Review Source: jackiekcooper.com
jackiekcooper.com

I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of watching the movie, but I felt a bit disengaged with the story, as if it only existed as a device to hold the big pretty visuals together.

January 3, 2014 Full Review Source: The Mercury
The Mercury

It is epic; it is packed with action; it is a delight of detail and design to the most critical eyes; and, as a movie, it is too long. But, that's how things go in the kingdom of moviemaking these days.

January 3, 2014 Full Review Source: Cinema Signals
Cinema Signals

Maybe the series will go on forever. Would that be such a bad thing?

January 3, 2014 Full Review Source: East Bay Express
East Bay Express

Audience Reviews for The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug

another average and disappointing hobbit film, but for opposite reasons to the last installment. like the last film the acting was split and the effects no more than passable, and the film was entertaining and the action sequences fun to watch. however, whereas the last one slumped along and failed to gain any momentum by way of dragging from one scene to the next, this film failed to capitalize on momentum by moving far too quickly once it started to gain any. each time i felt a great moment coming, like those so often found in LOTR, the scene was dropped for yet another unnecessary story development that served to do little more than clutter the film. overall, good but found wanting.
June 26, 2014
sanjurosamurai
danny d

Super Reviewer

An action-packed, improved second chapter of "The Hobbit" trilogy, chronicling the journey Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), Gandalf (Ian McKellan), and a group of dwarves undertake in trying to take back a city from a ruthless dragon named Smaug (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch). Where the first chapter felt like a lot of "filler" material thrown into place at a rather scattered rate, this film actually does a great job pushing the story further and coloring its characters much better than the first movie did. Freeman continues to knock it out of the park as Bilbo, now surging with confidence, while Cumberbatch's voice lends a real villainous tone to the story. It still plods along at times, but the ending is downright fantastic, with a cliffhanger for the ages capped off in haunting fashion.
June 7, 2014
Dan Schultz

Super Reviewer

Fun movie, as usual! Great acting, lots of adventure, drama, tension, interesting characters, and fanciful creations. Unfortunately, a to-be-continued film. That part upset me a bit. However, I did really enjoy it, and I cannot wait until the next one. Wasn't that the point of it all, anyway? :)
May 12, 2014
itsjustme2004

Super Reviewer

Part two of the quest by 'Bilbo' and his party of dwarfs to pinch a jewel from within the lair of the well spoken aristocratic dragon 'Smaug', the adventure continues. Most definitely a controversial trilogy as we move through this second part which really should probably be the final chapter but as we all know it isn't. So do the liberties taken by Jackson and co work or do they stand out as easy filler?.

I really found myself enjoying the film as it starts out in Bree on a dark rainy night, a warm glow emanates from the dirty tavern windows and street lanterns. As the film continues we meet up with new characters and finally into the Mirkwood forest where we get the first bit of real action. I gotta be honest I loved the giant spider sequence in this film, I think its safe to say this whole idea is probably a popular phobia for many folk and its really creepy. The spiders are visually excellent and damn scary to boot! no kids innocence spared here!. I really like how we hear the arachnids talking to each other when Bilbo puts on the ring, even though they did all sound like 'Gollum'.

Up to this point I'm loving the film, the travelling band of heroes are a quirky fun bunch, Mirkwood forest is nicely realised and perfectly atmospheric, the spiders made my skin crawl and 'Beorn' the skin-changer was...hmmm OK I guess, bit 'Twilight-ish'. Everything falls apart in a reasonably big way when 'Legolas' and the newly created 'Tauriel' come along and save the group. Within seconds the film goes from being a really decent sensible fantasy to dumbed down superhero crapola just like the original trilogy, in places. Yes I dislike the way Legolas is portrayed in these films, as if he's some kind of invincible super God-like character who can do virtually anything such as defy gravity.

I've heard a lot about the infamous barrel sequence in this film and I was curious to see what it was all about. To my absolute horror it was...horrendous!. OK Bilbo and the dwarfs need to escape from the Wood Elf dungeons...even though I'm not entirely sure why they imprisoned our plucky team anyway truth be told. But hey I know, lets have the most ludicrous ridiculous videogame-like sequence we can think of just to pander to the lowest common denominator...sheesh!!. The whole idea starts off OK but it descends into such drivel I had to rewatch just to get my head around it. Yeah I know we had the same kind of nonsense in the first trilogy and first Hobbit film, but I hated that kind of stuff then too. It totally takes me out of the film every time watching Legolas leap around like Spider-Man using his bow and arrow like some kind of automatic weapon, hate every second of it.

To make matters worse Jackson felt the need to create a new character who is basically a female opposite to Legolas, this makes me think he's pandering to the female audience just to cover all the bases. Oh and that includes the annoying romance sub plot of course. Yes this female Elf is a solid character who is well portrayed within this universe but why the need to go down the Matrix route (again!) making her into another death defying, gravity defying, never misses her target super Elf overlord of justice. Why must we have this type of nonsense in an otherwise brilliant film!!.

To reach the Lonely Mountain this crack team of height restricted heroes must cross a large lake, enter this new trilogies 'Aragorn' in the form of 'Bard'. What I don't quite get is Bard takes them to the lake town of Esgaroth, but why? they wanted to cross the lake, why go to all that trouble to smuggle them into the town? just for weapons?!. Anyway the town does look really authentic, I really liked how it has this twisted kooky Monkey Island type of appearance plus you really feel the chill in the air watching. Excellent visuals and atmosphere for this old creaky wooden fishing port, and kudos on the casting of Stephen Fry as the Town Major or Master.

Finally we reach the pinnacle of the film, the part most have been waiting for, the dragon Smaug. OK I'm gonna be brutally honest here as I always am, I wasn't blown away by this giant reveal. I liked the look of the mountain interior with its hord of dwarf treasure, I think they got the scale of the dragon perfectly and I think Smaug looks good...but not great. I've been more impressed with other dragon films to be truthful, I think the dragons in 'Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire' and 'Reign of Fire' were far superior to this frankly, and the dragon in 'Dragonslayer' still impresses. The CGI just isn't quite as believable for me, it still has that shiny plastic thing going on, but I do like the Dungeons & Dragons look n feel about him. He's not suppose to be a dark savage blood curdling monster, more of a softer traditional fantasy beast, like a unicorn (I think). The other factor is that Smaug talks, I know Tolkien envisioned this but watching this dragons jaws move to speech doesn't really work. Its a creature, a beast, so its gonna be hard to make its mouth work in sync with its speech because its not a human mouth. Would it have worked if Smaug 'thought' his dialog and Bilbo was able to hear his thoughts? risky change but I reckon Smaug would have come across a bit more convincing.

Again the casting of Cumberbatch didn't thrill me as much as the masses, I still feel this guy is merely flavour of the month (for some reason I can't quite pin down). Yes he does a solid job as the voice of Smaug but anyone could of done it really, any actor with a well spoken British accent. Off the top of my head Tim Curry for one. Lets not forget his voice will have been lowered in tone to give that deep booming frequency, so I don't quite understand the overall fever pitch with this.

Despite me picking on bits I did actually enjoy this film a lot more than the first. In fact I enjoyed it a lot more than most of the original trilogy, although much of this is down to natural progression with special effects and much less hokey-ass CGI laden action sequences. Its another visual spectacle for sure with stunning locations, perfect continuity (I like my continuity) and solid acting. I still won't defend the decision to pad out the book into three films as we all know that is purely about the money, another shitsquillion to milk out of it. That being said this film doesn't feel too elongated or forced, its not dull and its not daft either, but I don't feel entirely comfortable with the newly created bits. You know the film is stalling for time but at least Jackson has managed to do it quite well, I was surprised.
March 27, 2014
phubbs1

Super Reviewer

    1. Bard the Bowman: Folk in this town are struggling. Times are hard. Food is scarce.
    2. Alfrid: It's not my problem.
    3. Bard the Bowman: And when the people hear that the Master is dumping fish back into the lake? When the rioting starts? Will it be your problem then?
    – Submitted by Jordan L (5 days ago)
    1. Gandalf: Where is your master? Where is he?
    – Submitted by Paul W (5 months ago)
    1. Thranduil: Do not speak to me of dragon fire for I have encountered it myself.
    – Submitted by Jill R (5 months ago)
    1. Thranduil: Fortunes of the world will rise and fall, but here in this kingdom we will endure.
    – Submitted by Dennis T (6 months ago)
    1. Bard the Bowman: The king beneath the mountains, the king of cavern stone, the lord of silver fountains, shall come onto his own!
    – Submitted by Jean-Philippe G (6 months ago)
    1. Smaug: Revenge? I will show you revenge!
    – Submitted by joseph j (6 months ago)
View all quotes (53)

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