The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Reviews

Top Critic
Bruce Diones
New Yorker
December 30, 2013
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.
Top Critic
Christopher Orr
The Atlantic
December 13, 2013
Be forewarned: Whether through ego, avarice, or unchecked enthusiasm, Jackson has wandered deep into the realm of fan fiction.
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Liam Lacey
Globe and Mail
December 13, 2013
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
December 13, 2013
For the casual but compelled moviegoer, The Desolation of Smaug is a fine improvement over the first offering. Tolkien aficionados may feel otherwise.
Read More | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Wesley Morris
Grantland
December 13, 2013
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.
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Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
December 13, 2013
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.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Top Critic
Richard Roeper
Richard Roeper.com
December 13, 2013
A wickedly entertaining, sometimes thrilling adventure.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
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Sheila O'Malley
RogerEbert.com
December 13, 2013
The thematic elements are in place, the emotional tension is highly strung, and the action unfolds in a wave like the fire erupting from the dragon's mouth, overtaking all in its path.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Betsy Sharkey
Los Angeles Times
December 12, 2013
Peter Jackson's newest installment of the Tolkien trilogy is set afire by the scorching roar of a dragon.
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Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
December 12, 2013
The latest lap of their journey is far more focused and much more exciting than the last one.
Top Critic
Manohla Dargis
New York Times
December 12, 2013
A relentless adventure tale, teaming with rowdy action, slavering enemies and Elven gymnastics.
Top Critic
December 12, 2013
It often feels like the movie's title character is marginalized in his own story.
Full Review | Original Score: 5.5/10
Top Critic
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
December 12, 2013
Director Peter Jackson performs the same kind of miracles with the digital Smaug that he did with Gollum in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
December 12, 2013
Jackson's direction is spiky and majestic ...
Full Review | Original Score: A-
Top Critic
Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
December 12, 2013
The Desolation of Smaug is not only eight minutes shorter than its forebear, it's at least eight minutes better - less twee, less chatty, more action, more Elvish.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
December 12, 2013
"The Desolation of Smaug" is a rip-roaring wizards and lizards escapade that delivers a full quota of thrills while remaining true to the lighthearted spirit of the source material.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Chris Vognar
Dallas Morning News
December 12, 2013
Peter Jackson, take a fire-breathing bow.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
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Joe Williams
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
December 12, 2013
We were promised desolation, but "The Hobbit" just keeps dragon on.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Ben Sachs
Chicago Reader
December 12, 2013
The chaotic action, amped-up sound effects, and needlessly intricate CGI landscapes (which are less convincing than traditional sets or even the hand-drawn backdrops of Disney classics) wore me out well before the movie was over.
Top Critic
Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
December 12, 2013
Tolkien is barely there, and Middle-earth lies in ruins.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Kerry Lengel
Arizona Republic
December 12, 2013
For many, Jackson's "Hobbit" will look like an overly long amusement-park attraction. But for fantasy fans who have dreamed all their lives of spending time inside Tolkien's dazzling alternative reality, it's a ride well worth taking.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
Top Critic
Michael O'Sullivan
Washington Post
December 12, 2013
Much of this has all the gluteus-clenching intensity of a good video game, but there's also a thematic subtext here - as there was in the "LOTR" films - of good vs. evil and honor vs. treachery.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
December 12, 2013
A bloated, dawdling and distended adventure that throws in so many extraneous characters and subplots, the eponymous hero - Bilbo Baggins - is edged off the screen for large chunks of time.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
December 12, 2013
Our heroes trudge on a bit, have a furious fight, escape. They trudge on some more, have an even more furious fight, and escape again. It just feels overstuffed, like some dwarfish banquet, course after course after course without any clear end.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Tom Long
Detroit News
December 12, 2013
This film could lose an hour and be much better for the cutting. But then again, it never really needed to be made in the first place.
Full Review | Original Score: D+
Top Critic
A.A. Dowd
AV Club
December 12, 2013
There's nothing like a fire-breathing dragon to inject some heat back into a franchise gone lukewarm.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
Top Critic
Mary Ann Gwinn
Seattle Times
December 12, 2013
The moviemakers create a world that you just want to jump in to, even if it means facing down the King of the Orcs.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Claudia Puig
USA Today
December 11, 2013
Like its predecessor, it features way too much trudging through forests.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Elizabeth Weitzman
New York Daily News
December 11, 2013
If you liked "An Unexpected Journey" last year, you'll like "The Desolation of Smaug" because, really, it's more of the same.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
December 11, 2013
It's livelier and better than its predecessor. The first movie's harrumphing throat-clearing has given way to a swift, imposing adventure boasting several wing-ding action sequences.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Lou Lumenick
New York Post
December 11, 2013
A space-holding, empty-headed epic filled with characters and places (digital and otherwise) that are hard to keep straight, much less care about.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
Top Critic
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
December 11, 2013
It's epic fantasy for those who thinks the term means monsters, chases, fights, and little else.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Peter Howell
Toronto Star
December 11, 2013
Jackson's audacity and folly both come to the fore in this picture, which is much more than a placeholder but something less than a fully satisfying saga in its own right.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Bilge Ebiri
New York Magazine/Vulture
December 11, 2013
Everything is better this time around, but you still can't help but notice all the filler, the clumsy exposition, and graceless myth-making.
Top Critic
Richard Corliss
TIME Magazine
December 10, 2013
The Desolation of Smaug satisfies both as a Saturday-matinee serial and as a tempting fanfare for the climactic There and Back Again, due next December.
Top Critic
Rafer Guzman
Newsday
December 10, 2013
Romance may not be what fans of this fantasy franchise want, but it's a blessing for the rest of us. In a movie driven mostly by kabillion-dollar special effects, it's nice to feel a human emotion.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Andrew O'Hehir
Salon.com
December 10, 2013
Well, that's more like it!
Top Critic
Randy Myers
San Jose Mercury News
December 10, 2013
Even though "Smaug" clocks in at a seat-squirming length -- more than 2 1/2 hours -- it rarely feels padded.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Keith Uhlich
Time Out
December 10, 2013
Exhaustion has set in by the time Bilbo and his friends encounter Smaug around the two-hour mark, so it's a good thing that that's when Jackson goes full bore with the adrenalizing, digitally augmented braggadocio.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Eric D. Snider
Film.com
December 10, 2013
Somewhat better than last year's meandering dud - a slight improvement on a movie that should have been pretty easy to improve upon.
Full Review | Original Score: 6.0/10
Top Critic
Jocelyn Noveck
Associated Press
December 9, 2013
Onward to the third installment. Jackson is back on track.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Alan Scherstuhl
Village Voice
December 9, 2013
Sure, all the studios offer anymore are big, dumb adventure spectacles, but that's not a knock against the achievement of this one, which at least parades wonders before us, not the least being the greatest dragon in the history of movies.
Top Critic
Todd Gilchrist
TheWrap
December 6, 2013
Eschewing the kitchen-sink minutiae of the first installment, Peter Jackson creates a rousing, immersive sequel that offers the same sort of sweeping action - and emotional engagement - that helped the "Rings" films become a cultural phenomenon.
Top Critic
Todd McCarthy
Hollywood Reporter
December 6, 2013
Nearly everything about The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug represents an improvement over the first installment of Peter Jackson's three-part adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's beloved creation.
Top Critic
Justin Chang
Variety
December 6, 2013
After a bumpy beginning with 'An Unexpected Journey,' Peter Jackson's 'Hobbit' trilogy finds its footing in this much more exciting and purposeful second chapter.