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Monday, January 6, 2014

Movie Review - The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug  $$$  1/2


161 Minutes
Starring: Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage and Evangeline Lilly.
Director: Peter Jackson. 

            My family anxiously anticipated this film since we saw An Unexpected Journey last year. For the most part it was worth the long wait.  

            Bilbo (Martin Freeman) continues his journey with Thorin (Richard Armitage) and the rest of the dwarves as they seek to evict Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch) from their ancestral home. Along the way they run into a bit of trouble with the elves, but eventually send Bilbo into dragon-infested kingdom-under-the-mountain to retrieve a relic that will allow Thorin to reunite all of the dwarves.
            Watch for an unexpected romance between Kili (Aidan Turner), a dwarf, and Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly) an elf. It left me wondering what would you call the love-child of these two? A dwelf? Or an Elarf? I can tell that it’s got you wondering now too.
            I particularly like the scene where Bilbo and the gang are traveling down the river in barrels, but I am torn about which part of it is best. Is it the bouncing barrel of doom? Or is it the fantastic footwork Legolas (Orlando Bloom) shows as he runs across the tops of the dwarves’ heads. 

            This is how I rated it.  

            1. Fun – If you like action and adventure then this is sure to be a hit. There are enough orcs in the movie to ensure that everyone has a chance to kill a few. On top of that, Bilbo dispatches a few giant spiders along the way. The problem I had was that I expected more. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed every moment of the film, but it was not as entertaining as the first one. As tempted as I am to give it only half a MB because of my disappointment I don’t think that would be fair to this film. The Desolation of Smaug earns a full MB for sword-swishing adventure.  

            2. Story – The story is definitely not as strong as An Unexpected Journey. Character and plot development take the back seat to the action of the film. At the end of the first movie we had a satisfied feeling as the dwarves finally accepted Bilbo as one of them. That allowed viewers to walk out of the theater with a warm fuzzy in their hearts. Bilbo shows early signs of being taken over by the evil of the ring, but there is not nearly enough of it in the film. That could have been turned into a great emotional hook for the audience. Instead, we have an unlikely romance between Kili and Tauriel. I enjoyed it. In fact, it was my favorite part of the movie. But it was a distraction from the story that I came to see. I gave a half MB for storytelling. A little more focus on the story would really have helped this film.  

            3. Technical – Excellent. The scenes with Smaug are amazing. Elves, dwarves, orcs, giant spiders, and wizards all running around in sylvan cities, underground ruins, and a town built on top of a lake. This movie is a visual feast. I give it a full MB for the technical elements and it could easily be argued that it deserves more.  

            4. Acting. This is an excellent cast. I enjoyed all of the performances. I think the actors could have benefited from a script with more emotional range, but they did great with the lines they were given. I give it a full MB for acting.  

            Add all of that together and The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug rates 3 ½ Movie Bucks. Definitely, see it in the theaters, on a big screen, with big sound. I recommend this as a matinee showing, but doubt anyone will feel cheated if they pay full price to see it.

                        Randy’s Rating System 

$$$$   = Full Price    See this movie right away and pay full price, it’s worth it.
$$$     = Matinee      Catch this as a matinee or other discounted showing.
$$        = Discount     Wait until this movie reaches a discount theater near you.
$          = Rental         Wait until this movie reaches your local video rental outlet.
0          = No Sale       Don’t see this movie at any price.


  1. I really need to see this movie soon :-) Thanks so much for the review!

    1. You are most welcome. Good to hear from you too.