The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013) Poster

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The Hobbit
MR_Heraclius14 February 2020
The second entry in the Hobbit franchise improves on everything he first film got wrong. It doesn't waste any time and gets right into the action packed sequences. My only problem was the setting change at the end of the film. I felt like it didn't suit the climax. Overall, The Hobbit the Desalation of Smaug is a solid follow up to the first film building on the ideas the first film started.
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Improves upon the first one just about enough to cover the weaknesses it shares with it
bob the moo28 December 2013
After seeing the first Hobbit film I must admit that I could have cared less about seeing the second and indeed it took me a minute to get back into it and I was grateful for the film giving me a "12 months earlier" scene to sum up what I am supposed to be following. It wasn't that the first film was bad (it is too expensive to be bad) but more than constant action and movement with no consequences or realism to engage me, really left me looking at a video game that I had no investment in (and I say this as a gamer). I didn't hope for much better when I went to see this sequel and, as Theo Robertson has said, perhaps this helped me enjoy the Desolation of Smaug more.

The plot has more to it than one encounter after another and connecting it to the later films was a good move that made me feel there was more content here – although I think that was artificial, I will not deny that it worked. The action sequences retain the same problems as the first film, which is that nobody ever feels like they are in real danger no matter how long the fall, how low the odds or what is happening. The good thing is that because the film isn't one escape sequence after another, I didn't feel this so often – although it is undeniably still a problem in these films. The characters were a little better than before although perhaps I was just more interested in them. Smaug in particular is a great creation – visually and stylishly; just like the first film where my favorite parts were the still and tense sequences with Gollum, so too here the high point of the whole film is where Smaug is toying with his potential victims and it is such a shame that this was not done longer.

Visually the film remains a feast – although, befitting the time of year, it is a Christmas feast where everything is good but it is endless and eventually just feels indulgent and gluttonous. This remains the case because the film almost never feels like it was shot wholly on a location. I remember the LotR films impressing me with their natural beauty but here even a shot of people walking across a field seems to have been digitally enhanced and, as good as it looks, it does remove me from the film somewhat. Visual effects are impressive but it does really hurt to see Jackson leaning towards the George Lucas "if we can do it then we should do it" school of effects management. The cast do solid jobs – I liked Freeman and McKellan when they were allowed to be more than just special effects The dwarfs made more of an impression on me this time but the elves not so much – Bloom remains stiff while Lilly sports the only unconvincing effect in the film in the shape of her ears. Cumberbatch was strong as the voice of Smaug and I enjoyed Fry and McCoy in supporting roles (shame the latter missed out on more time due to his Doctor Who efforts during the 50th anniversary year!).

The Desolation of Smaug is a solid blockbuster; lots of action, a decent story and strong special effects – this is not the same as saying it is a great film though, but it does still entertain. The story remain distant due to the invincible characters and consequence free (but very seriously presented) action, which does prevent one being drawn into it. Of course I'll be there for the final film, but I really do hope than they focus on danger rather than spectacle and build the tension instead of just increasing the noise.
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The Hobbit The Desolation of Smaug: Alike the first, impressive but not ground breaking
Platypuschow30 November 2017
The Lord Of The Rings trilogy blew me away, they were truly outstanding masterpieces that deserved every bit of recognition they got.

The Hobbit I delayed due to a laundry list of concerns, all of which are being confirmed now I'm finally getting around to them.

They look beautiful, they are a lot of fun, but compared to LOTR they are alike Mythica movies.

The whole franchise has become a cash grab, the Hobbit should have been one single movie and without all the excessive alterations. Yes I know LOTR had changes, but not to this devastating extent.

Desolation Of Smaug certainly has it's moments, I especially enjoyed the spiders and the not so jolly romp through the cursed forest. Thankfully the film isn't as goofy as the first either which was a welcome relief.

Alas it's no better, it still feels lackluster. This is The Hobbit, one of the greatest tales ever put to paper! So why do these movies feel so underwhelming? I enjoyed this I truly did, but not as much as I should have and that right there is the problem.

The Good:

Forest scene was great

Looks stunning

The Bad:

As neat as the barrels scene is it's about as realistic as Tara Reeds boobs

Second movie, second stock scream

Things I Learnt From This Movie:

Bilbo Baggins has never seen Arachnophobia (1990), don't.....pluck.....the web

Walnuts make great pillows

Whatever Cumberbatch was paid it was FAR too much
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A Mile a Minute
Hitchcoc7 January 2014
After reading some of the previous reviews, I wonder what it takes to engage the modern viewer. It seems we have become so jaded that we see the necessity of giving a one star review to something as phenomenal as this film is. It is filled with action, sets of remarkable creativity, amazing characters, in a complex plot that made me long for the conclusion. I know it doesn't follow the book religiously. Get over that. Even a fifteen hour miniseries based on a novel fails miserably. Of course, every English teacher on the planet knows that we are working in two entirely different mediums. Books and movies are different! What Peter Jackson has done is taken the primary plot and allowed his script writers to take what is given and supplement it with their own creativity. The first film, though imperfect, does set the stage for this superior second effort. What we get is nonstop action, moving the characters toward the object of their quest. Tolkien's rules are followed if not the letter of the plot. The first film was criticized for being too talky. Now this one is being criticized for not being talky enough. For me, the scene where the gang must escape an elven prison and face the orcs is one of the most delightful fifteen minutes I've ever spent in a movie theater. I don't expect an action film based on a book with voluminous characters to have character development like "Driving Miss Daisy." See the film for what it is and count yourselves lucky to have the luxury of being able to see the amazing accomplishments of the Peter Jackson's of the world.
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Great fun, but forget the book
neil-47619 December 2013
Bilbo Baggins and assorted dwarfs continue their journey to Erebor, overcoming various obstacles on the way (including hostile elves) before Bilbo has to try to fulfil his engagement as burglar under the fiery snout of antisocial dragon Smaug.

The second Lord Of The Rings movie suffered from Middle Film Syndrome: Hobbit 2, despite occupying the same position in a trilogy, does not suffer to the same extent, and perhaps this is because it is exciting all the way through, yet follows on from a film which was pretty slow throughout its first half.

It also contains large chunks which do not come from the novel - I'm pretty sure Legolas wasn't in the book. He is great fun here, as a much angrier soldier in the Elf Army. And new creation Tauriel is hugely enjoyable, resembling nothing so much as Uma Thurman's character from Kill Bill, albeit attractively played with the hint of a smile by Evangeline Lilly.

Apart from being a more engaging movie than part 1, pretty much everything I thought about that movie still holds. I still have reservations about the dwarfs - their faces and hair feel obviously prosthetic and wigged, and it's still pretty difficult to tell them apart from each other except for the old one, the one wounded by the orc arrow, Thorin, and James Nesbitt's Irish one. I still have reservations about CGI orc faces - the prosthetic orc faces work noticeably better. I still have reservations about some of the action sequences, where more is not necessarily better (one sequence, in particular had the audience laughing because of the extent to which the Elvish derring-do was over-derring-done). And there are times when Bilbo looks cut out and pasted into a scene. And, once again, the 3D is indifferent.

Otherwise, this was great fun. Loads of action, some nice character work, an excellent and nasty spider fight, a well-voiced and visually realised Smaug, and not the slightest yen to look at my watch.

And a cliff-hanger. You swine, Jackson.
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A Fantastic, Exciting Adventure
cadillac2010 December 2013
While I enjoyed the first Hobbit film, it did feel like it left a bit to be desired. This was no surprise, as everything that I loved about the book was in the second half. I knew that I would be waiting for all the good stuff with the second and third films. And sure enough, the second film delivers where the first film didn't quite excite as much as I had wanted. While it isn't perfect and does unnecessarily deviate a bit, this is easily better than the first film, giving us a bigger, bolder adventure and a more interesting Bilbo Baggins this time around.

Before I get to the good stuff, let me get my complaints out of the way. My biggest complaint are the unnecessary plot threads. There seems to be a big need for this series of films to tie into LotR, and I really don't understand why. A great deal of time is taken in this film to introduce us to things we already know the outcome of. We're, at points, taken away from the dwarfs and Bilbo to follow Gandalf as he goes off on his own adventure to uncover the growing evil of Sauron and his armies. Like the first film, it's completely unnecessary, but unlike that film, it's jarring. We're ripped from a fantastic adventure to a story that we don't really need to know and has no real relation to the dwarfs and their adventure. In fact, any time we're taken out of the company of the dwarfs, it almost feels cheap. The almost romance between Evangeline Lily's elf and the dwarf Kili feels something of the same, the whole lot of these stories coming off as filler in an effort to make time for three movies instead of just two. It feels like a stretch and brings a screeching halt to the momentum of the main story.

That said, the rest of the film is an excellent and expertly crafted adaptation. There is a definite sense of character growth, especially from Bilbo, who seems to struggle with the power of the ring and it's greed. We already know where this goes, but it is none the less fascinating considering who he was when we first met him. The dwarfs seem to almost take a back seat here. They are less prominent, with the exception of Thorin and Balin, who take front and center. That isn't to say they aren't entertaining, as they usually are every time they are on screen. Thorin is the real standout though, as he goes through similar changes as Bilbo, which lends them an interesting comparison in their mutual struggles. The actors are all excellent once again in their respective roles, with Freeman once again being the standout. Evangeline Lily is also a pleasant surprise in an original role as an elf created for the film. She adds a much needed feminine touch to an otherwise predominantly male cast. She proves herself to be a fine silver screen presence and hopefully this will net her some further film roles.

While the film does an excellent job of not simply being the middle film, something The Two Towers struggled with in the LotR trilogy, it is the action, set pieces, and effects which are the true stars. This may not be a LotR movie, but it's close. We almost immediately start out with a bang and it rarely lets up. Of course, much of what happens early on, as exciting as it may be, pales in comparison to it's explosive and lengthy climax. Smaug is quite possibly the best creation of any of the film, Hobbit or LotR. He is as awesome as you could have hoped for and Benedict Cumberbatch is excellent in the role. While effects have been applied to his voice to give it more boom, he does a fantastic job as the sneering, wise, and boastful dragon. Watching and listening to him face off against Bilbo is a delightful treat, and that is before we get to any fire breathing and chasing. What follows is a lengthy conclusion to the film that will excite and delight all. I have no qualms in saying that Smaug makes the entire film worth the admission of price. But don't go in expecting a solid conclusion. This is, after all, the second of a trilogy, so you can surely expect the film to leave you salivating for the next one.

While this new Hobbit film still doesn't reach LotR heights, it is superior to the previous film, especially when it comes to being an enjoyable adventure. It feels like it matters to the trilogy and delivers on being an epic. And I simply can't rave enough about Smaug. If you didn't enjoy the first film, you may find yourself feeling about the same here. But at least this one has a cool dragon.
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A Fun Film, Particularly in 3D
RealDuality9 December 2013
The second Hobbit film connects you better to the characters than the first in an entertaining ride with more danger, excitement, and humor. The action is well done, and the 3D adds to it, especially in the "whitewater rafting" scene. That part and the whole movie has good editing. In this one, two of the non-King dwarfs' presence is stronger (Balin and Kili). The she-elf warrior Tauriel and what comes with her works, adding some heart to the film.

Besides Richard Armitage leading the way as the King under the Mountain with his great chemistry with fellow castmates, there are three actors who give specially noteworthy live-action performances. Lee Pace is one of the true highlights as Thranduil, who is an Elf King that deals with foreboding in a way that is different from Elrond. Ian McKellen's acting is comparable to him in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, as he takes advantage of Gandalf getting his own storyline and heart-pounding action scene. Martin Freeman is good once again as the brave titular character, and actually slightly better.

The confrontation with Smaug is very enjoyable. It is a long movie, but the finale is the high point. Benedict Cumberbatch does an excellent job with the arrogant beast's voice, and the dragon looks really cool in 3D. I personally think that they ended it at the perfect place. When they divide a book up, it will inevitably result in a cliffhanger feeling. But, I am satisfied with how they handled it.
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The Destruction Of A Classic Story
djstevenson88827 December 2013
I honestly can't believe how well received this film has been! I am a huge fan of Tolkien and his books including The Hobbit. I was quite shocked when I heard they were making this into 3 movies when the whole book is not even as long as the first LOTR book.

However I accepted it and went to see the first film which was better than I thought it would be but still not that accurate to the book. The Desolation Of Smaug however is a disaster. I came out of the cinema in shock at how they have destroyed such a beautiful story. I wonder if they have even read the book as this was just so different.

Sure they added certain things in from the book but overall it was a completely new take on the book. It is like they said to hell with the brilliant story lets just make this into an over the top special effects extravaganza.

I was very excited for this film, as a huge fan of LOTR and The Hobbit but now I kind of feel very angry and upset that this was allowed to be made. The only people who will like this Film are people who have not had a chance to read the book. Fans of Tolkien will be upset I am sure. The barrel escape was embarrassing and well so was the whole film.

I can't believe I am saying this but I am certainly not looking forward to the third and final part. I already know it won't be accurate to the book and it will just be another 'Lets see how huge we can make this look'
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No desolations here!
addietomic7 December 2013
Even though I formally thought "An Unexpected Journey" was a bit chipped off by quality from the original "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, due to its certain lack of seriousness the former Jackson Middle-Earth films had, I wasn't really disappointed by it. It was a different, more softer storyline, and under it had to have a different directorial approach. Going to see the second one, I had my worries if it's going to be on a dose less of action and excitement and more centered on the characters, which I always kind of felt myself, was a mistake for a purely adventure film, a road that many movies have taken on in sequels. Fortunately, it was nothing of a sort. "Desolation" gives a stronger adventure and enjoyment than the original Hobbit movie. Faster pace, beautiful sets, lovely score, costumes and most impressive CGI than ever before, with the comeback of one of the most beloved character of the original series, Legolas, will surely win over the audiences both fans of Tolkien's book and not, over the globe again this Christmas season. If anything, I'll definitely go catch it again. Thumbs up!
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The Hobbit: all Hollywood filler, no substance.
smithofwoottonmajor3 February 2014
As a lover of all things Tolkien, I'm vastly disappointed with the 2nd installment of The Hobbit. It seemed like "filler" and thankfully my ticket was only $8.00. In fact it had very little substance from the actual book. Apparently the film relies on special effects, characters, and scenes that are entirely superfluous. It's a pity that producers are more concerned with box office returns than actually making a true work of art. No attempt was made to be true to the written word of the literary master that was J.R.R.Tolkien.

That said, one thing I must say in Peter Jackson's favor; introduction of materials from the appendices can be pertinent and interesting. I don't mind him doing this at the time of his choosing either.

The earlier installments of The Lord of the Rings had their detriments as well but taken as a whole, they far surpass the first and definitely the second installment of The Hobbit.

Basicsally The Desolation of Smaug is a romp for an ADHD modern audience. I'll stick to the book.
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The sounds of Tolkien shouting "Fool of a Took!" from his grave won't be worrying Jackson
tomgillespie200211 January 2014
When we finally get to meet the magnificent dragon Smaug, voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch, at the climax of Peter Jackson's second instalment of his The Hobbit trilogy, we find him curled up beneath an enormous stash of gold coins and jewels, blissfully in the land of nod. After sitting through over two hours of this slog of a film, it's precisely where I wished I was. The Desolation of Smaug is yet further evidence that 9 hours worth of movies is not needed for Tolkien's delightful - and slim - novel. It feels like - to quote Ian Holm's Bilbo Baggins from The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) - thin, like butter scraped over too much bread.

The story picks up as the dwarfs evade capture from the orc general Azog (Manu Bennett) and seek refuge in the home of Beorn (Mikael Persbrandt), a skin-changer who often takes the form of a giant bear. Setting of again towards Erebor to reclaim the dwarfs homeland, Bilbo (Martin Freeman), Thorin (Richard Armitage), Gandalf (Ian McKellen) et al reach the Elven forest of Mirkwood. Gandalf departs to further investigate the strange goings-on at Dol Gondur, where the mysterious necromancer (Benedict Cumberbatch) seems to be building an army of sorts. In Mirkwood, the dwarfs meet the Elvenking Thranduil (Lee Pace) and his son Legolas (Orlando Bloom), who imprison the dwarfs following an altercation.

The Desolation of Smaug is simply a collection of things that happen - not much has a relevant impact on the story, nor does it develop any of the characters or make much of the film particularly interesting to watch. It's a near-3 hour film that barely has any time for its characters, preferring instead to repeatedly throw them into situations that apparently call for an extended, CGI-laden action sequence. It felt very much like a Middle Earth Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (2002) - vacant and almost soulless. The Lord of the Rings trilogy used CGI when it had to, and chose instead to welcome the natural beauty of the New Zealand landscape. And thanks to some gorgeous set design for the interiors, it felt like you could reach out and touch Middle Earth. Here, everything feels digital.

There's also too much padding. When the dwarfs arrive in Lake Town, smuggled in by the revolutionary-type Bard (Luke Evans), it develops a strange love-triangle between dwarf Kili (Aidan Turner), elf-warrior Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly) and Legolas. This can be argued as character development for one of the much underdeveloped dwarfs, but its portrayed so blandly that it's nothing more of a distraction to Bilbo and Thorin finally encountering Smaug. Bard himself is also relatively one-dimensional, not much more than a rugged face that has been spawned by destiny - a reluctant hero that has chosen a different path to the one that seems lined up for him. Sound familiar?

It's not all bad of course, so although Peter Jackson has been caught up in the special-effects machine, he still shows his talent for the spectacle with one action scene that sees the dwarfs escape Mirkwood and a micro army of rampant orcs in barrels down a river. It is a silly, overblown set-piece, but it proves funny and thrilling, a genuinely exciting highlight within one of the film's most drawn-out chapters. Also, Smaug himself doesn't disappoint. Although he's entirely CGI, the giant beast is entirely real and, thanks to Benedict Cumberbatch, uncomfortably menacing. His exchanges with Bilbo are the movie's best moments, as they both try and outsmart each other with words and tricks. Which makes it all the more disappointing when the film movies into yet another overwrought action scene.

I'm sure the obvious lack of heart and storytelling quality won't worry the producers (the film is already the 49th highest-grossing film of all time), nor will it Peter Jackson. This adaptation is now so far removed from the book's original vision that I don't think the sounds of Tolkien shouting "Fool of a Took!" in his grave will be giving Jackson sleepless nights. I remember in 2003, when The Return of the King (2003) was reaching its first climax at three hours, my bum was glued to the seat and my palms were sweaty, hit with the tragic realisation that this film trilogy would soon be over and all I had to look forward to was the Extended Edition DVD. At the 2 hour mark of The Desolation of Smaug, my bum was numb, I was shifting in my seat, and I was wondering what food I had in the fridge for later. Says it all really.
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A very good movie, slightly reminiscent of the Hobbit
ayoreinf16 December 2013
Peter Jackson's ego that was held at bay all through the previous installment breaks free in this one. The lighthearted atmosphere from the book, that shone so brightly over the 1st part of the his version of the Hobbit, is no longer here, the strange story lines that were added to tie every thing together so no loose end is left and everyone watching the film knows that Peter Jackson did tell us all there was to know. An exact opposite of Tolkien's original who kept always saying (or implying) that middle earth has much more to it than he could ever cover with his stories. It's a difference in egos that doesn't always work for Jackson. Even though he did create a magnificent fantasy epic. Much darker than the first part, much more action packed very high quality of acting performances by all involved. The sins against the original book aren't as grave as those he committed with his LoTR trilogy, mainly because the Hobbit as I already said is a simpler story that doesn't allow for miss representations of the author's intentions. Jackson simply had to invent all these from scratch.

I'm all for re-imagining a story, but if you do so at least be honest and tell us that's what you did, like Tim Burton did when he made his version of Alice. Jackson never said any such thing, if he did it was kept a secret from most of the viewers, which is plain shame as far as I'm concern. I know everyone is going to hate this review to pieces, so many "Jacksoners" are following every bit of film he creates trampling in their wake over all those who dare oppose him. But I personally think that had he kept himself closer to the original, he would've ended with a better movie. It was so with the first part, but I feel like his ego couldn't share the credit with the original author anymore, so that's what we got. It's fun to watch - it's just a different story we're watching than the one we were promised.
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chapy0047 December 2013
In the words of J.R. Tolkien - "Things that are good to have and days that are good to spend are soon told about, and not much to listen to; while things that are uncomfortable, palpitating and even gruesome, may make a good tale, and take a deal of telling anyway"(The Hobbit, Chapter 3, paragraph 26).

"The Desolation of Smaug" is sure to satisfy those who thought the first installment dragged its feet. From the first frame to the last, the movie is a thrilling achievement of Peter's. The action is none like we've seen in any middle-earth installment. The visual effects are much improved, the pace is seamless, and the danger is ever more present. Yet through it all, Bilbo and the company's journey to reclaim the Lonely Mountain is not forgotten as the driving force of this tale.
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"big" CGI movie with technical issues, lack of central character
maxastree10 November 2014
Peter Jackson, now referred to as "Sir Peter Jackson" initially didn't want to do the Hobbit story idea, but later proposed "the Hobbit" as a three picture story arc. Incidentally, at the first film opening he stated that he hadn't actually seen a finished edit of the picture and as people found out in following months, the movie was a massive disappointment compared to the New Line franchise he directed a decade earlier.

This sequel is intended to a be a return to form, but it's still a disappointing movie, largely for two reasons; firstly because Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and the other main players here just don't seem to know who, or what the main character is about very much, and because they don't the audience doesn't feel terribly involved either. Bilbo Baggins, the central character, never feels pivotal to the story, doesn't feel either like a leader or a hero or even much like a pitiable victim in the movies numerous set pieces.

The second reason is because the film is fundamentally flawed in the way its produced and distributed. Audiences wearing grey 3D glasses lose color value, and an attempt to restore the proper luminance in 3D theaters led the film company to release the movie at twice the standard frame rate; as a result, makeup, costume detail, and background elements look obviously fake, instead of the magical, poetic sequences that made the original films such great entertainment.

The script feels like well-combed fan fiction, which suggests that, really, "the Hobbit" should have been one powerful, lyrical sort of movie that recreates the vibe from the original Lord of the Rings environment, and remains faithful to the source material. It feels a bit pointless explaining this but the idea of a dragon guarding gold under a mountain has been a staple of European folklore mythology long before Tolkien created 'the Hobbit'.

If you get to the end of this movie, as suggested in the trailers, the dragon is a massive and spectacular beast, but doesn't save this picture from the feeling that its illogical, over-padded and overproduced.

I guess the best you can say about the trilogy is that it actually got completed, despite the fact that it's clearly impossible to create a worthwhile product with zero pre-production schedule. The film system and the projects handlers are to blame for it's poor quality as much as Jackson's bloated ideas about "running length" . . .
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A usual Hollywood film of today
Honkmeister8328 December 2013
Like many other creations coming out of Hollywood today, with over the top special effects and cheesy love stories, so is the movie "the desolation of Smaug" a poor attempt to make a good film, trying to dazzle the audience with cheesy triangle-dramas, ridiculous special effects and silly additions to the original story. A book that's fantastic by the way.

The first one was disappointing and the second one was horrible. And i do compare the books of Tolkien in real life so i will compare this movie to LOTR. And i really like the LOTR adaptations from the books, but Bilbo don't even come close to Peters first adventure. He has walked trough the door to plastic Hollywood world on these Bilbo movies, when he only had his foot in the last time he created the LOTR movies.

The new(and old) characters are poorly written in, and takes away light from the dwarfs and Bilbos journey. So you kinda loose interest in what is happening to Bilbo because they're cutting fourth and back between these many add-ons to the story and Bilbo.

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A different kind of "desolation" happened here.
IDontRideBarrels22 February 2014
The first three Lord of the Rings movies were excellent. Gorgeous scenery, solid acting, wonderful soundtrack, and a decent script true to the books. The trilogy really brought Tolkien's world to life.

Then we had The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in 2012. It introduced some new elements Tolkien never thought of and elaborated on some things he merely alluded to. This was a mistake, and many parts of the movie suffered from these artistic liberties brought it. There was potential though, so I hoped the next film would do more. Unfortunately, it didn't do anything good.

Desolation of Smaug continues what An Unexpected Journey began, sinking a fantastic series of movies even deeper into pathetic mire of misery that will make most Tolkien fans wince. This film is just terrible and 80% or more of it can be skipped over with no real loss.

Suspension of disbelief is out the window. Some scenes are BREATHTAKINGLY awful. I can't even begin to describe how utterly ridiculous and campy they are. Particularly the barrel-riding sequence. Desolation of Smaug devolves into something so unbearable, calling it "typical Hollywood" would be a compliment. It's trite. Banal. Hackneyed. Clichéd. Vapid.

I would rather watch The Room (2003) or Rubber (2010) every day for the rest of my life than sit through the entirety of this film again. I only give it a 4/10 because some of the scenery is decent, the actors did alright, and there's Lee Pace + Benedict Cumberbatch.

Script: 1/10. Acting: 8/10 if you consider how they acted instead of what they acted. Special effects: 6/10. Music: good, but not used appropriately in most spots, so 6/10. Amount of clichés: unbearably high.
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The Peter Jackson team, triumphantly wielding the Ring of commercial success, miss their footing and plunge headlong into the fiery depths of Mount Doom artistic fraud.
anderalexx12820 January 2014
One of the central themes of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings is the manner in which different personalities are affected by the corrupting effects of wealth and power. Some, like Bilbo, are completely able to retain their integrity. At the end of Tolkien's novel he accepts only a small parcel of treasure for his part in the quest, such as one pony can carry. When he finds the Arkenstone he does not claim it for himself but bestows it in a manner that he deems morally fit. Thorin Oakenshield has a fatal attraction to the dragon's hoard of gold, but on his deathbed is able to retrace and find himself again. Smaug the dragon is hugely greedy, use his great powers aggressively, and is undone by his vanity (believing himself invulnerable).

It's quite clear, and ironic, that the makers of this trilogy were similarly blinded by the lure of gold.

Tolkien's novel is a literary classic, written in beautiful prose, and illustrated by himself. His special gift was to depict a magical world where characters are nevertheless wholly believable and realistic, and their actions faultlessly motivated. My question to the filmmakers is: why change anything? Why was it necessary to change the story in so many, many, many ways? And whence the presumption that they are entitled to do this? Overweening arrogance ... And embarrassing, actually.

The makers evidently felt they needed to pad out the original, but in the process they have lost so much. I'm still waiting for a definitive version. I imagine something animated, and faithful to Tolkien's original illustrations.
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Very Low Expectations Helped Greatly
Theo Robertson17 December 2013
After seeing the first part of THE HOBBIT I thought about catching the rest of the trilogy on DVD but having sometime off work and some money to spend I thought I'd treat myself to a visit to the cinema as a very special treat . I paid my money if only to escape the drudgery of a tough working week followed by a couple of lonely nights in my flat but didn't expect much from Peter Jackson whose creative stock seems to have utterly collapsed since RETURN OF THE KING

To be fair Jackson has made a darker and much better paced film to the first instalment that often manages to disguise how over extended the narrative is . Instead of the painfully repetitive story structure of being captured , escaping , being captured , escaping for the entire movie we actually often have engaging storytelling . I've never read the source novel and Tolkien junkies might hate any embellishment brought to the silver screen but the quest aspects are well done for the most part . The production have now concentrated on making THE HOBBIT a proper prequel to LORD OF THE RINGS as the Necromancer's power starts expanding planning extermination for Middle Earth . This subplot is developed via dual plotting where Gandalf leaves Bilbo's entourage and finds himself in danger . Bilbo and his comrades find they have problems of their own with constant danger all around them

The problem these dangers are often undermined by the production team who concentrate on spectacle rather than developing drama . A good example is where Bilbo and the dwarfs are cocooned by giant spiders which is a terrifying fate but is totally undermined by the arachnids being killed far too easily . This happens several times throughout the set pieces in the film where the good guys constantly defeat the bad guys so easily the audience quickly lose any sense of danger and adventure being involved . There's also a bit too much of the laws of physics being constantly broken . For example a fireball in a confined space would burn up all the surrounding oxygen and anyone nearby would suffocate but this fact is ignored and other implausible things involving science don't make the slightest sense . I know this features in many fantasy films , not least the original LOTR trilogy but it's been done to death and is very distracting . Compare the spectacular set pieces seen here to the battle scene seen in the departure of Boromir in FELLOWSHIP and you'll notice how overblown everything is in comparison here .

In summary this is fairly good film that is better than part one of THE HOBBIT . I say " fairly good " but when you compare it to LORD OF THE RINGS in general and FELLOWSHIP in particular ii is something of a backward step from the production team who brought us the original trilogy . That said I will probably pay money at the cinema to see the finale though more in hope rather than expectation
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Jackson's a kid in a candy store -- and we get the diabetes
Barky4416 December 2013
Peter Jackson's 3-episode interpretation of The Hobbit is turning into a sticky, gooey mess. What a horrid series of films.

This isn't about book purism or Tolkien loyalty or any of that. I understand the difference between writing and filmmaking, and why one can never translate directly into the other (especially when the latter occurs 75 years after the former). My contempt for the Desolation of Smaug concerns filmmaking itself: storytelling, dramatic tension, character development. Even the framing, action and stuntwork do not work in this film.

The root of the problem is PJ does not have an internal filter. He dreams up ideas of increasing ridiculousness, and throws them on the screen whether the story benefits or not. He dreams up wonderful elvish combat maneuvers: they're in the film. He dreams up various orc prosthetics: they're in the film. He dreams up goofy, hammy character appearances: they're in the film. He dreams up immense set pieces and constructs unbelievable battles in the midst: they're in the film. But you can't do filmmaking that way! Good films, even good action films, need to be built on a solid core of character and story.

In fairness, the Hobbit itself is not particularly meaty in those areas: it's a bit goofy, a bit sparse. It was a children's book, after all. But that's what a good screenplay needs to reinforce in such cases. It's what PJ and his writing team did in LOTR! They beefed up the story and added emotional context to the characters to make the audience care about what was happening. When Frodo was confronted by the Witchking in the Two Towers, you were afraid for the guy because the film, up to that point, made you care!

In the Hobbit, however, they are not shoring up the character and story in this three-layer cake at all. Instead, they are slathering on such a heavy coating of empty frosting in the form of goofy action sequences, sticking on gumdrops of forced slapstick comedy, and pouring on a thin crust of chocolate sprinkles in the form of CGI (much of which is poorly done and pulls you out of the film). In the end, you have a cake that's inedible because of all the sugary crud slathered on top. All this "stuff" totally overwhelms the cake in the center, completely obscuring the overall storyline, and smothering the characters of Gandalf, Bilbo, Thorin, and the rest of the poor dwarfs (who mumble along in complete obscurity for the duration of the film). Even Smaug gets short-shrift (he is a marvel of visual magnificence, but is also reduced to a slapstick fool before too long).

What PJ does not have is a filter. You can tell he's gained so much power as a filmmaker that no one is challenging his decisions. He gets away with everything no matter how ridiculous, no matter how distracting, no matter how smothering. He has no sanity check, no capacity to self-edit. And the film suffers for it: it's so overdone in action and set pieces, you become bored with it. I was praying for the movie to be over by the end.

When you engage in any creative endeavor, it's important you get all your ideas on the table, no matter how outlandish. But then you ALSO need to learn how to edit, how to scrape away everything that is not helping you tell your story or portray the vision. It can be a hard thing, giving up that great idea, but if it helps you reach your goal, you drop it by the wayside, and focus on what's important.

PJ did not do that, and as a result, we have a sticky, gooey, sickly-sweet mess of a cake that will surely give us all diabetes.
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The Hobbit Suited Best for Video game Enthusiasts, not Tolkien Fans
guy-faulkes201217 December 2013
This is not a movie for devoted Tolkien fans. Or even for true fans of "The Hobbit." This is Peter Jackson's fan-fiction "re-imagining" of Tolkien's first book. He's known for taking liberties with the source material. It worked well 90% of the time in the extended editions of the LOTR films. But the reverse is true with this prequel series (so far.) His changes and additions are jarring, annoying, and pointless.

Like Lucas with his digital tools at ILM, Jackson has taken the Weta CGI SpFX and turned Middle Earth into a cheesy theme park full of action rides for adolescents. The overuse of 3D computer graphics in place of actual real-life sets and characters resembles a Pixar cartoon more than a fantasy-adventure epic. The orcs and villains in LOTR looked solid and believable. They were played by actors on-set. In The Hobbit, the goblins, trolls and orcs are video game characters with no substance. It's a shame what can happen when directors like Jackson, Lucas and Shyamalan, who held such promise, are given carte-blanche and huge budgets to feed their inflated egos. They lose all restraint and the ability to edit themselves. Every crazy idea is implemented. Nothing is too far-fetched or ridiculous.

If you thought some action sequences in King Kong (2005) went overboard and on screen for too long – the dinosaur stampede being an example – that's nothing compared to what Desolation of Smaug has in store. It's mostly one implausible, dizzying roller-coaster ride after another. I'm all for thrill-rides, but enough is enough. At some point you need a break from the constant camera shots weaving in and out, up and down ad infinitum. Loses its impact after the first 4 minutes, then proceeds to make you nauseated or bored, or both. Whatever happened to story, character development, and emotional involvement? Marginalized in favor of Saturday morning cartoon fare. Battle sequences galore.

By now, my initial joy at hearing that PJ had taken the reins of The Hobbit has been replaced with a regret that it wasn't directed by the first choice, Guillermo del Toro. He could not possibly have ruined it any worse than Jackson. Did somebody pull a switcheroo on us – exchange the fat, talented PJ for this new thin hack masquerading as the guy who gave us the beautiful LOTR trilogy?
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Bilbo meet Mr. Smaug
ycare5917 December 2013
This must be the best movie of 2013. There is no movie that comes close to it recently. I must say, if you enjoyed the first one, you will enjoy the second one by far. I had the experience of seeing it early, and man, I made the right decision.

Even if you haven't seen the first Hobbit movie, I suggest you see this. The action, the story line, the scenes, nothing comes close to it. If you enjoyed the Lord of The Rings trilogy, you will enjoy this.

I recommend everyone to go by yourself or with a friend and see this movie worth a life-time. It been a while since I seen a good movie, and this movie will not be beat. I can't wait till the third one comes out.

Go see the movie. 10/10
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Peter Jackson goes all in!
trygve_9311 December 2013
This movie takes a big step up from the first movie. The movie is intense from the start to the end, in a very good way! The story is following the book very well. The dragon may have more lives than in the book, but the scenes are fantastic anyway. . The film gets a big lift by more characters to follow. Peter jackson does the sequel superb by telling the story with a lot of exiting action throughout the movie. Martin freeman plays the role as Bilbo Baggins extremely well yet again. I can't wait to for the final chapter in the hobbit masterpiece by Peter Jackson who blows you in to middle earth yet again! The hobbit and the lord of the rings will be the greatest master piece of all time! In a 100 years these films will be the Mona Lisa of films! I would recommend you go see this movie over and over again!
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The Desolation of Smaug (Spoiler Free)
sajunrude23 December 2013
I got back from seeing the midnight premiere of The Desolation of Smaug. In all honesty, I thought the movie, down to its core, was bad.

I came into it with pretty subdued expectations, having not taken well to the previous installment An Unexpected Journey (2012), but TDOS reached a new low. This is probably Peter Jackson's weakest directorial effort, even more so than the disastrous Lovely Bones.

The movie is essentially a CGI cartoon, implementing laugh out loud action sequences and special effects. The pacing is sluggish and disjointed. About 30 minutes in, I found myself taken out of the experience completely, trying to guess where the movie would end.

Martin Freeman gives another wonderful performance as Bilbo Baggins, but is severely underused, being more or less shuffled into the fold of events.

Aesthetically, it is hard to believe that this movie is grounded in the same Middle Earth seen in Jackson's Lord of The Rings trilogy. This interpretation of Middle Earth is bright, and lacks physical depth and any sort of fantasy realism. Visually, it looks like a very unfortunate mixture of the film adaptations of Eragon and Narnia.

Like the last time around, the 48 frame rate is hyper-realistic, looking like an uncanny set piece or a feverish soap opera. Most of the CGI effects are pretty poor, I don't want to give anything away, but there is a sequence with molten liquid that looks like Nintendo water.

This movie amplified everything I didn't like about the previous installment: poor pacing, fabricated and exaggerated content, cheesy imagery, and a lack of practical effects (particularly with creatures and miniatures).

It seems that this Hobbit trilogy is being executed as an artificial prequel to The Lord of The Rings, full of ominous forebodings that amount to little more than painful nods and familiar musical cues. The events of The Hobbit are almost incidental to the story, which is a real shame, particularly for people just being introduced to Tolkien and Middle Earth, it's a gross misrepresentation.

There were some good things, like the design and performance of Smaug, but overall, this movie was a real bummer.
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Easiest 10 I've given in a long time
tommygunfeth11 December 2013
The Hobbit the Desolation of Smaug

Just a heads up: I loved the LOTR Trilogy, and I had/have some insane high hopes about The Hobbit Trilogy. And I really enjoyed the first film. I admit I was first a bit confused after viewing the first one, but after a second viewing (plus having watched all the behind the scenes material) I was convinced.

Now... The Desolation of Smaug is a heck of a ride.

I was worried when I read reviews that talked about a "fast paced" film, and it being a good thing. But now I know what they meant.

You get introduced to so many new places and people. And you'd think that would be bad since it's already hard to keep track of the dwarfs. But the pace of the film keeps the viewer interested at all times.

When the new characters come in, we're given just enough time with them to fall in love with the characters. Thranduil, Tauriel, Bard, Beorn... They shine on screen, but again not more than they have to. We get much time with Bilbo and his journey, and of course with the dwarfs.

It's just intensely exciting, with great drama, great acting, thrilling action... I seriously lack words...

And the ending... You want more...

Now I never thought I'd say this... But this film is better than Return of the King... I NEVER thought those words would leave my mouth...

Enjoy it..


Easiest 10 I've ever given...
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A sad schlocking of a subtle tale.
Pete_Starr15 January 2014
They stripped the book to it's basic plot, subtracted a whole lot of the actual story, then added comic-violence, action scenes and hokey new characters. What they've added never rises above nonsense on it's own right and coupled with what they extracted, wholly detracts from the true tale of courage and friendship that Tolkien wrote.

Who is this one armed Ork? Where did this Elf woman come from? Why does Radagast get more than a mention? What the hell is Orlando Bloom doing there?

Why isn't it Bilbo, getting them out of everything, all on his own after Gandalf leaves? Wasn't that the whole point of the book? Why Tolkien called it "The Hobbit" and not something else?

The slapstick action scenes even seem designed to become future theme rides in whatever amusement park the studio is connected to.

Beyond the visual candy, this is a wretched and whorish adaptation of a wonderful story.

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