The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Reviews

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October 4, 2015
Much like the Lord of the Rings trilogy, I didn't have high hopes for the second installment after finding the first one merely good, not great. Also like that first trilogy, I was blown away by the second film. This one is action packed, the special effects are incredible (particularly Smaug) and you actually start giving a damn about these characters. Finally, just like the end of The Two Towers, I didn't want to leave - I wanted more. I know the third film is in my Netflix queue near the top...will be moving it to #1 so I can a) see how this trilogy ends and b) see if it compares to the greatness of The Return of the King. Have my doubts, because few movies can, but we'll see. Stay tuned...
½ October 4, 2015
It's largely a good movie, but it does feel too long. Some scenes felt way too stretched out.
½ September 2, 2014
It's more structurally uneven than the first film, and even more distracted from the source material, but The Desolation of Smaug ups the pace and keeps a consistent tone, and Peter Jackson's craftsmanship is admirable.
September 29, 2015
I don't remember too much from the book, but I really enjoyed this movie! I thought it was a lot better than "An Unexpected Journey". The effects were great (though I do wish there were more practical effects) and all the actors did a fantastic job in their roles. Definitely a must watch.
½ September 21, 2015
A passable film the stalls for time as you wait for the real payoff. Feels 20 minutes too long but will tide you over if you are a die-hard fan of middle earth.
July 17, 2013
My favorite of the Hobbit trilogy and by far the best cliffhanger ending.
September 16, 2015
It is hard to be too critical of "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug", the second leg of Peter Jackson's three-legged trilogy. Without the final piece in place, it's hard to know where you stand with this movie. Like any other "Part 2 of 3", it suffers from middle child syndrome. Last year's underrated opening chapter "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," was a bright and cheery red-blooded adventure so entertaining that it made my 10 best list (I was alone in that). This second chapter is not as interesting. It meanders and stumbles. It has some wonderful action pieces, but you get the feeling that Tolkien's world is lost in a morass of long fight scenes and special effects.

The major difference between the first chapter and the second one is that the focus has shifted. In the earlier film Jackson maintained a nicely modulated subtext in which Bilbo learns a lesson in personal responsibility. Given a mission by Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellan) Bilbo rides along with a company of Dwarves on an all-important mission. This film moves the focus of the story to the Dwarves themselves. The pint-sized baker's dozen are on a mission to reclaim their old homeland of Erebor which is seated in an area called The Lonely Mountain. Long ago, the dwarves were driven out and the place is now inhabited by a fearsome dragon.

The first two-thirds of the movie involve the journey getting to the Lonely Mountain and picking up allies and enemies along the way. One thing that Jackson is able to accomplish with this second chapter is the sense that things are growing darker. Bilbo's earlier journey was cheery and sunny where this one is dark and overcast. The world seems to be converging on Bilbo and his traveling companions. Mighty Orcs are asserting their dominance and the dark forces of the world seem to be gathering. To defend against these forces, the party is joined by a boatman named Bard (Luke Evans); trusty old Legolas (Orlando Bloom) and an elf guard named Turiel (Evangeline Lily) - a creation of Jackson, not Tolkien - whose presence is welcome because it doesn't impede on the story's forward momentum. She's there to give this male dominated story some much needed Girl Power, and she doesn't disappoint.

Where the movie comes alive is in its third act, when Bilbo's true purpose for being on this mission is put into action. He is recruited to walk into The Lonely Mountain and retrieve The Arkenstone, a mystical jewel that is the stone of power for the Dwarves. The interiors of Erebor are a marvel of art direction. Darkened, once glorious, cavernous walls of the castle chambers are packed almost to the ceiling with mountains of gold over which Scrooge McDuck might have wept. Here Bilbo's mettle is tested, as he must outwit a particularly ill-tempered dragon named Smaug - voiced with slithery charm by Benedict Cumberbatch. The sight of Smaug is astonishing. The special effects team has done a wonderful job of creating a realistic three-dimensional dragon that actually looks flesh and blood. Even better, he has a personality. Smaug understands clearly the weight of his own power and influence and he gloats happily. His movements are reptilian but also somewhat balletic. Credit must also go to Cumberbatch whose distinctive voice gives the character its snake-like demeanor.

You could only wish that the rest of the movie were that magical. It isn't a bad movie, just a very busy and unfocused one. Jackson is a very busy bee getting the knots untied from the last movie so he can get busy tying new knots for the next one. The result an extraordinarily busy movie with so much plot that the grandeur and wonderment of Tolkien's world is only glimpsed in fleeting glances. When it is all over, you're left with the feeling that the movie will possibly play better when viewed as a whole with the other two parts. Standing alone, it's kind of a mess.
January 1, 2014
Much better than the first. There wasn't a single moment that felt like filler; everything added to the plot, and developed the characters right. Plus, it created a villain for the ages in the dragon Smaug.
September 14, 2015
Just as disappointing as the 1st one
August 30, 2014
Mah. Again, as in the first part of this trilogy, I had the impression for all the lasting of the movie that I was watching a parody of the Lord of the Rings. Everything seems fake, or not believable. It's then too clear that this trilogy shouldn't be a trilogy. A total of 7 hours and a half of film are absolutely too much for something that could easily go in 5.
September 8, 2015
I Love this Movie it is my favorite movie in the whole wide WORLD! it is so realistic and Awesome!
<3 (=
½ August 29, 2015
It does get a little slow in some parts, but it's still great! Smaug is the coolest dragon I've ever seen!
December 4, 2013
Aunque no es la mejor segunda parte, y no respeta el libro original sino que además lo expande, pues es bastante buena película. Tiene acción y drama al puro estilo de la tierra media creada por Peter Jackson y ya no tanto de Tolkien.
Su fuerte como siempre sigue siendo la relación de personajes, especialmente aquellos que fueron agregados para esta película.
Es una buena cinta y esencial para entender la trama general que incluso enlaza la historia con su trilogía secuela de esta misma.
December 31, 2013
A gripping second installment, leading up to a second sequel with high expectations. A film with action sequences that are exhilarating, as well as abundant. Desolation of Smaug has wonderful visuals and setting, along with a gang of quirky Middle-Earth characters. Not to mention, Smaug is one of the best portrayed dragons in cinema. Ending on a ripping cliff hanger, this movie will amuse and amaze.
½ March 8, 2015
Way more confident than the first part of the trilogy, with more evenly edited action scenes and fantastic vision, though still slightly over-violent.
January 1, 2014
Plot happens out of the original order in the book, could have done without watching.
½ December 1, 2013
best of "the Hobbit" trilogy.
November 26, 2013
Very excited for this sequel coming on December. I bet this is fun to watch.
½ December 30, 2013
It's a vast improvement over the first Hobbit, but it falls far short of the LOTR trilogy. That's about what I expected, and it delivers a few hours of some fun entertainment. It's worth a watch if you're a fan of these Tolkien epic films.
July 13, 2015
First look of the dragon. GREAT!
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