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The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug Reviews

Page 1 of 460

Super Reviewer

December 15, 2013
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.
Dan S

Super Reviewer

June 7, 2014
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.
Cynthia S

Super Reviewer

May 12, 2014
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? :)
Phil H

Super Reviewer

March 27, 2014
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.

Super Reviewer

March 17, 2014
'The Hobbit : The Desolation of Smaug' is no more than an extension to a movie that should be just 2 movies, no more no less.. Even though a lot of critics and audiences like it, for me Smaug win my heart better than Unexpected Journey but I really saw that Jackson try to write a story that will make this movie existed.. But the effects are undoubtedly another masterpiece with a stronger performance from Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins.. Overall, it's better than the first movie and now I'm expecting to see the death of Smaug in There and Back Again..

Super Reviewer

January 28, 2014
Back to another three-hour trip to Middle Earth. While the second Hobbit film is an improvement in just about every way, it's still a clear example of a franchise stretching to the breaking point. Peter Jackson gets the second installment moving a lot quicker, and there are several standout action sequences that are glorious on the big screen. Unfortunately it still takes almost two full hours to get to the dragon of the title, but when it does, oh does the movie become that much grander. Benedict Cumberbatch gives frightful life to Smaug (pronounced, for whatever reason, as "Smaa-oog"), and the special effects are top-notch. The last forty minutes of the movie are solid gold, as Bilbo and the dwarves work together to battle Smaug in a virtuoso development of imaginative action; it's wonderful how many moving parts are involved in this action set piece. However, Hobbit 2 still feels needlessly padded to meet out a trilogy. Does Gandalf (Ian McKellen) need to just disappear on his own mission that accomplishes what? Do I care at all about the people of Lake Town let alone their populist revolts? Do I need a parallel storyline about an injured dwarf? And for that matter, do I need a budding lady elf-dwarf romance? J.R.R. Tolkien fans will be in heaven (though maybe just purgatory with all the changes) to gawk at the realm of Middle Earth, but I always feel antsy ("get on with it already"). Still, The Desolation of Smaug is an entertaining and at times majestic fantasy epic, I just wish Jackson and company didn't take so many pit stops. Well at least we won't have to wait so long for the dragon in Hobbit 3.

Nate's Grade: B
Al S

Super Reviewer

May 10, 2013
Another glorious and tremendously entertaining adventure masterpiece that shines with pure magic and proves to be better than its predecessor. Director, Peter Jackson ignites the screen with all the adventure, thrilling action, humor and explosive special effects that you come to expect of it and also continues to bring strong character development and real heart. A wonderfully captivating and frequently enjoyable thrill-ride loaded with outstanding action sequences and chilling monsters. The cast continues to shine with their brilliant chemistry and adding some more characters to the story who all bring something special to the table. Martin Freeman and Richard Armitage are excellent. Ian McKellen is brilliant as always. Luke Evans is fantastic. Orlando Bloom is tremendously badass, showing a little more depth to his popular character and shinning in more than one dramatic scene and action sequence. Evangeline Lilly is wonderful, especially in her scenes with Aidan Turner, they have a lot of charm and playfulness. Then their is the extraordinary Benedict Cumberbatch as the voice of Smaug, his performance is spellbinding and truly thrilling. A powerful, unforgettable and must-see action-packed adventure that is a real treat at the movies and leaves an awesome cliffhanger that will have you dying to see part three.

Super Reviewer

January 11, 2014
Bilbo and his band walk some more.
I am over this film franchise. It started with the tree walking in Two Towers, and my exasperation has grown ever since. I understand that the achievement of Tolkien's writing is breadth of the world he has created, and while it's true that director Peter Jackson has successfully communicated and adapted that world, the film is more about environment than it is about characters, and environment was enough to carry only one three-hour film. Some of the action sequences, particularly the one by the river, were fun eye-candy, but the thinness of the characterization - especially the too-quick love triangle between elves and hobbits - plagues the other 165 minutes. Even the climactic sequence requires so much denial of simple physics - a character surfing on a metal shield over molten gold with the metal conducting no heat - that I finally rolled my eyes and waited for the whole experience to end. Packed with gimmick 3D and lush scenery, the film is full of sound and fury but signifies nothing.
Overall, I know this is popular film among its fan base, but I'm not one of them.

Super Reviewer

November 27, 2013
A vast improvement from the first, makes me relive the reasons as to why i love LOTR trilogy! Can't ask more from a movie, great cast, great acting, amusing ,suspenseful jumpy ! A must see!
Mark W

Super Reviewer

January 9, 2014
Now a year down the line, the residing question of wether Peter Jackson's decision to adapt "The Hobbit" into a trilogy was a wise choice or not, has now become a little easier to answer. I'd have to say, that he can probably feel somewhat vindicated as his vision seems to be working. That being said, there's still an abundance of padding and repetition going on in this second instalment - just as there was in the first - but Jackson has definitely improved here by ironing out the creases a little more.

Now fully on their journey to Erabor and the Kingdom under the mountain, Bilbo (Martin Freeman) and the dwarves must find their way through a dark, arachnid filled, forest before escaping the clutches of Elfin King Thranduil (Lee Pace) and a horde of rampaging Orcs. All this before they've even faced their biggest adversary yet... "the serpent of the north".

With all the character building already established in "The Unexpected Journey" and the omission of the drawn out and, frankly, tedious songs, Jackson finds his feet on more solid ground here. These aforementioned hang-up's are what hindered the pace of the first instalment but with them now put to the side, we are allowed to enter the fray from the outset which benefits the film immeasurably. Once again, Jackson shows his highly creative abilities in staging an action set-piece and that's where most of the enjoyment comes from. He introduces some new and old characters that really kick things up a gear, especially the inclusion (or invention) of Evangeline Lilly's elfin warrior Thariel, who adds a much needed strong female character to the proceedings and Orlando Bloom's Legolas makes a welcome return. Both of whom, find themselves in the midst of a high speed river chase that's one of the film's most impressive and exciting action sequences. Speaking of which, there are many moments that are marvellously and thrillingly handled; the giant spiders in the forest to Gandalf's confrontation with the Necromancer and the showdown with Smaug as Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) storms the mountain to reclaim his throne. Although exceptionally handled they, once again, have a tendency to feel relentless and leave very little room for actual storytelling or characterisation.

Martin Freeman is still perfectly suited for Bilbo but there's so much going on around him that he seems like a side character in his own story. Much of the focus is on the dwarves and even then, very few of them actually get to really bring their characters forth, with the exception of Armitage's Thorin and the fragility of his strong facade. The absence of Andy Serkis' Gollum is also a major drawback but Jackson does have an ace up his sleeve with the astounding motion capture of Benedict Cumberbatch as the fearsome dragon, Smaug.

It's through exploring the darker territory of Smaug or the Necromancer that Jackson's willingness to gain momentum is apparent. The laborious nature of the first is tightened up and there's no denying this one's energy or it's ability to entertain. Things are kept very exciting and Jackson maintains your interest right up until the final moment where we close on a blank screen... frustratingly, awaiting part three.

Despite some of the criticisms I heard (and shared) about "The Unexpected Journey", I still thoroughly enjoyed the film and, ultimately, that's the whole point. It's escapism of the highest kind. With this being an improvement on that, it still boasts well for the trilogy to go out with a bang, in the way "The Lord of the Rings" done so brilliantly.

Mark Walker

Super Reviewer

January 5, 2014
Peter Jackson continues his fantasy storytelling with The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.Well over 2 and a half hours, the story is definitely stretched, but at the same time, it never seems to drag, as it moves from place to place and character to character at a decent enough pace. The ending is a bit abrupt, making it feel like a piece of a puzzle rather than a movie able to stand on its own.The high use of CG is hit and miss. For the most part, the film looks and feels fantastic, but there are a few sequences where the CG and green screen are obvious.The cast definitely get the job done. Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, and the like reprise their roles. Benedict Cumberbatch's voice works wonders for Smaug while Evangeline Lilly and Luke Evans are welcome additions.The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug delivers everything as expected. It is a fantasy gem.

Super Reviewer

December 28, 2013
Second part of The Hobbit trilogy directed by Peter Jackson is a very good adaptation of Tolkien's classic book. Considering that the book is fairly short, I wonder why they stretched out the material into three films. The Hobbit could easily have been one film. The Desolation of Smaug has plenty going for it, and I did enjoy it for I have read Tolkien's work, and found him to be a wonderful imaginative author. This sequel is a much more action packed affair than the first film, which of course took its time to unfold its story and action. The film also has a bit more depth to the story, which can really grab the viewers' attention. Desolation of Smaug relies on its action, and well structured story to really get you involved in the film. However, I thought that the first film was far better because it set the tone, and told the humble beginnings of Bilbo Baggins. Additionally, there were quite a few exciting scenes that this follow up couldn't duplicate. But the plot here just adds on to the first, but quite honestly, it's unnecessary because like I've stated before, The Hobbit as a whole could have been made into one movie. I just felt that it was an excuse for the studio to try and make more money and add much more unnecessary material to an already entertaining film. Nonetheless, I can't deny that this film is well crafted, directed and acted, and it's always a joy to see a Peter Jackson film because he can tell a stunning story with memorable moments. The run time on the other is really what makes it an average sequel, I think they could have done without a few scenes here and there, as they already had a highly engaging picture, but adding to much, sometimes is not a good idea. Enjoyable, action packed, and riveting Desolation of Smaug is a flawed follow up, and for me it wasn't as good as the original, but nonetheless, this is rousing, exhilarating adventure that is certain to appeal to Tolkien and Jackson Fans alike. The Hobbit and this sequel, are very good films, but to me, Peter Jackson greatest achievement in cinema will always be The Lord of the Rings trilogy, which of course is far superior to what we're seeing in both films so far. With that being said, the third part should be very good as well, and a fine prequel to the LOTR. Despite its imperfections, this prequel trilogy is far better that Lucas' Star Wars prequels
Everett J

Super Reviewer

December 29, 2013
"Hobbit: the Desolation of Smaug" is the second chapter in the Hobbit trilogy and it's an improvement over the first movie. Here Bilbo(Martin Freeman), Gandalf(Ian McKellan) and the Dwaves continue their quest to reclaim the lost kingdom of Erebor. The encounter Elves(with Legolas), a dark forest, and much more until they finally get to Erebor and must battle Smaug, a giant dragon. Smaug is absolutely amazing and probably the best dragon in a movie ever. The action in this movie is non stop, which is awesome for the wow effect, but the storyline does suffer some. It is pretty amazing that this is being dragged out into another movie, but hey, it's more Middle Earth action so I can't complain too much. The first movie was a little slower compared to this, but this keeps a great pace for being 2 hours and 45 minutes long. Can't wait to get this on blu ray and watch in 3D, as I'm sure it's an amazing 3D movie. Next December can't get here quick enough for the finale. Great thrill ride of a movie.

Super Reviewer

December 26, 2013
Some fantastic sequences aside, like its predecessor, Desolation fails to be a movie in and of itself rather than a piece in a larger puzzle which leaves a smaller impact than it needs to. Full review later.
Drake T

Super Reviewer

December 23, 2013
Like its predecessor the sequel suffers from an excess of sprawling subplots but this time around things feel a little more cohesive thanks to an established premise from the first movie.

Also where the first film suffered a middle ground between childlike and dark, TDOS has a definitive tone through and through, again making the entire production a little less scattered.

But where the real marvel lies in these movies are the beautiful cinematography, great cast of actors old and new, plus some of the best action choreography I've seen in film. This undeniable accomplishment in visual prowess really brings Tolkien's fantasy world to life. The attention payed to the lore and details truly pushes back any misgivings one may have with the overall narrative.

Super Reviewer

December 22, 2013
'The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug'. Two huge, best-in-class choreographed sequences and a most memorable villain in Smaug! The grand introduction and creature design was a thing of beauty.

An improvement over the first to be sure. Still too much filler.
Sanjay R

Super Reviewer

December 20, 2013
The typical snags of a fantasy/sci-fi/action film are completely balanced out by the stunning visuals and amazing use of HFR 3D. The story is nothing to ride home about, and neither is the acting, although Freeman plays a very likable Bilbo and Cumberbatch really comes through as Smaug. In the end, see this in Imax/3D and just sit back and enjoy the view. The "meh" story may drag you down, but the visuals keep you high.
Carlos M

Super Reviewer

December 18, 2013
Jackson continues to stretch this paper thin story to a very massive length that never really justifies such measure, and its splitting into parallel plots dilutes some of its focus while the excessive use of dei ex machinis reduces the urgency it so desperately aims for.
Ross C

Super Reviewer

December 18, 2013
Another overly long Hobbit film filled with pointless chase sequences, but the plot does start to develop nicely getting you hooked towards the end where it just abruptly stops in the most annoying cliffhanger ending ever.
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