THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG - What Are The Critics Saying?

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey wasn't loved by everyone, but it did still go on to earn over $1 billion at the worldwide box office. Does similar success lie in store for Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug? Hit the jump to find out what critics are saying!

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By Josh Wilding - 12/7/2013

While An Unexpected Journey had plenty of bucolic charm, it did, for a Middle-earth film, feel oddly inconsequential. The Desolation Of Smaug remedies that. Moody, urgent and, for want of a better word, Ringsier, it’s a much more satisfying film. If anything, it dispenses with early events with something approaching impatience: Beorn (Mikael Persbrandt), the aforementioned bear-man, is left behind before we’ve really had a chance to savour his peculiar brand of beastly intensity (though no doubt he’ll be back to claw up baddies in the Battle Of Five Armies), and the same goes for Mirkwood’s hallucinatory boughs, which have the company tripping balls in a variety of amusing ways. Middle-earth's got its mojo back. A huge improvement on the previous instalment, this takes our adventurers into uncharted territory and delivers spectacle by the ton. And in case you were wondering, yes, someone manages to say the title as dialogue.


SOURCE: Empire


The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is a rollicking piece of epic entertainment, superior to its predecessor technically and dramatically. It atones for the rather lackluster first film, and generates excitement for next year's concluding chapter of the trilogy, The Hobbit: There And Back Again. If you were disappointed with The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey then The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is the film you've been waiting for. It's a breathlessly told, action-packed crowd-pleaser that restores the luster of the saga for those underwhelmed by its predecessor and leaves you excited for the final chapter in the trilogy.


SOURCE: IGN


The Desolation of Smaug is a cheerfully entertaining and exhilarating adventure tale, a supercharged Saturday morning picture: it's mysterious and strange and yet Jackson also effortlessly conjures up that genial quality that distinguishes The Hobbit from the more solemn Rings stories. The absurdity is winning: you're laughing with, not laughing at. For me, it never sagged once in its mighty two hour 40 minutes running time and the high-frame-rate projection for this film somehow looks richer and denser than it did the last time around. Maybe I'm just getting used to it. Jackson has shown that he is an expert in big-league popular movie-making to rival Lucas and Spielberg. His Smaug, with its fight scenes, chase spectaculars, creepy creatures and secret stone doors opening with a grinding noise, is something to set alongside the Indiana Jones films.


SOURCE: The Guardian


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. Beginning with the blessing of not being stuck with a bunch of hungry and thirsty dwarves in Bilbo Baggins' hut for a half-hour at the outset, 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. The “unexpected journey” launched in last Christmas' box-office behemoth becomes the heart of the matter this time around, making for plenty of peril, warfare, theme-park-ride-style escapes and little-guy courage. For Jackson and Warner Bros., it's another movie, another billion.


SOURCE: The Hollywood Reporter


The tone is one hundred percent Jackson – a kind of thundering gloominess, cut with the occasional glint of Discworld mischief. Jackson and his co-writers, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, have decapitated bodies twitching on the ground, and a captured dwarf leering at a female elf: “Aren’t you going to search me? I could have anything down my trousers.” Maybe this really is what a lot of people want to see from a film version of The Hobbit, but let’s at least accept that Tolkien would probably not have been among them.


SOURCE: The Telegraph


Clearer and more engaging than its predecessor, this second installation in the “Hobbit” trilogy deftly brings out the human side of dwarves and elves while upping the action quotient. If “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” was a single-serving tribute to the fans of the J.R.R. Tolkien book that inspired it, its follow up, “The Desolation of Smaug,” offers a nod to the uninitiated moviegoing audiences that made a prequel trilogy possible. Eschewing the kitchen-sink THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUGminutiae of the first installment (or maybe just having used all of it up) Peter Jackson creates a rousing, immersive sequel that offers the same sort of sweeping action — and more crucially, emotional engagement — that helped the “Rings” films become a cultural phenomenon, regardless whether or not you were familiar with the source material.


SOURCE: The Wrap


Fans of the book will be awaiting several key episodes that serve as highlights: a brief stop-off for breakfast with skin-changing bear-man Beorn, a run-in with the spiders of Mirkwood, the rollercoaster barrel escape (which was originally intended to close the first act). Jackson’s eye for inventive action is undiminished, and when he gets a set-piece in full flow, there are few who can match him for breathless originality. Despite suffering from middle-act wobbles, The Desolation Of Smaug nevertheless delivers rousing action, incredible visuals and one stupendous dragon.


SOURCE: Total Film


If “An Unexpected Journey” felt like nearly three hours’ worth of throat clearing and beard stroking, the saga gets fully under way at last in “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” the similarly massive but far more purposeful second chapter in Peter Jackson’s latest Tolkien enterprise. Actually shorter than the first film by nine minutes, this robust, action-packed adventure benefits from a headier sense of forward momentum and a steady stream of 3D-enhanced thrills — culminating in a lengthy confrontation with a fire-breathing, scenery-chewing dragon — even as our heroes’ quest splits into three strands that are left dangling in classic middle-film fashion. Jackson’s gargantuan undertaking can still feel like completist overkill at times, but that won’t keep the Middle-earth enthusiasts who pushed the first “Hobbit” film past the $1 billion mark worldwide from doing the same with this Dec. 13 release, which should see Warners’ and MGM’s coffers overflow like Erebor’s.


SOURCE: Variety







The second in a trilogy of films adapting the enduringly popular masterpiece The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien, "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" continues the adventure of the title character Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) as he journeys with the Wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and thirteen Dwarves, led by Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) on an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor.

STARRING:

Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins
Ian McKellen as Gandalf the Grey
Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield
Graham McTavish as Dwalin
Ken Stott as Balin
Aidan Turner as Kíli
Dean O'Gorman as Fíli
Mark Hadlow as Dori
Jed Brophy as Nori
Adam Brown as Ori
John Callen as Óin
Peter Hambleton as Glóin
William Kircher as Bifur
James Nesbitt as Bofur
Stephen Hunter as Bombur
Luke Evans as Bard the Bowman
Hugo Weaving as Elrond
Cate Blanchett as Galadriel
Orlando Bloom as Legolas
Evangeline Lilly as Tauriel
Benedict Cumberbatch as Smaug

RELEASE DATE: December 11th, 2013.
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Omarvls - 12/7/2013, 9:06 AM
Can't wait to see it and with trailers
for Interstellar & Dawn of the Apes
DCMarvelFreshman - 12/7/2013, 9:07 AM
This is probably the first movie that reviews have persuaded me to go see in theaters. Didn't plan on going to the theater for the rest of the year, but I'll be seeing this Friday. I enjoyed the first one, so it sounds I'll love this one.
DCMarvelFreshman - 12/7/2013, 9:07 AM
And plus, the description of the Godzilla trailer I've read is a must see on the big-screen
JoeMomma29 - 12/7/2013, 9:09 AM
I am so excited to see this movie.
Facade - 12/7/2013, 9:14 AM
I might break my "no opening weekend" rule and see it Friday!
ALegendaryPanda - 12/7/2013, 9:15 AM
I can't wait to see this in IMAX on friday!
Brainiac13 - 12/7/2013, 9:15 AM
Had no doubts........another blockbuster.
InfiniteMonkey - 12/7/2013, 9:17 AM
I want to see the trailer for Interstellar.

Peter Jackson's coffers must be overflowing with each outing of these series. WOW.
Looks like another Billion in the bank.
TheRealistStarLord - 12/7/2013, 9:18 AM
so many positive reviews..
DudeGuyMan - 12/7/2013, 9:22 AM
General consensus:

Rhysno1 - 12/7/2013, 9:23 AM
Can't wait to see this
giannis - 12/7/2013, 9:27 AM
5 more days!
ALegendaryPanda - 12/7/2013, 9:28 AM
Smaug will be the most epic and intense dragon ever put to screen!
jcfrommars9 - 12/7/2013, 9:29 AM
I was going to see this anyway but it's always good to read positive reviews.
AlienRobotZombieOverlord - 12/7/2013, 9:30 AM
What's telling is that these sources don't usually all agree on CBMs. I'm there.
Ryguy88 - 12/7/2013, 9:31 AM
I see only the good reviews have been rounded up in this piece. I hope its great but I've read quite a bit of bad things already:(
charlie2094 - 12/7/2013, 9:34 AM
Can't wait for this film! All the big films this year (bar Catching Fire) have disappointed so am hoping this doesn't too, really enjoyed An Unexpected Journey and this looks even better, think Smaug will look incredible on screen
MrCBM56 - 12/7/2013, 9:34 AM
Cannot wait! I don't understand though, at my Imax theater they don't show previews, they go straight to the movie. Wish they did. Anyone know why? Is this only at my theater?

Anyways, SO EXCITED! Got my tickets booked!
MrCBM56 - 12/7/2013, 9:35 AM
I don't get why people think the first Hobbit was a bore. It was [frick]ing awesome!
mdwilliamson24 - 12/7/2013, 9:39 AM
I really enjoyed the first Hobbit. Yes, it wasn't as good as the first trilogy, but few movies are.

But I always told the people who hated the first part that the second would be even better and remedy their thoughts on Middle-Earth films, and of course all they could do is gripe and say: "its ruined forever! The Horror this has caused my life to become!!"
It sounds like I was actually right(for once-Ha!) and this movie will own it.
How could it not, its got Smaug in it.
mdwilliamson24 - 12/7/2013, 9:41 AM
@ CBM56 - I saw Thor at my local IMAX, and they showed previews for The Hobbit DOS, X-Men DOFP and Cap:TWS all in 3D. So it must be your local theater...
rabid - 12/7/2013, 9:59 AM
I preferred The Hobbit over the first trilogy, which I found boring. My ass will be in a seat for this one for sure.
UltimateWarrior - 12/7/2013, 10:04 AM
I don't care to read what the "critics" say. These days, they're mostly a joke, especially the online ones.
Tempo - 12/7/2013, 10:27 AM
Epic win...

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Witcher - 12/7/2013, 10:38 AM
antoineflemming - 12/7/2013, 11:07 AM
Hope this is as good as the LOTR movies.
Arrowhead77 - 12/7/2013, 11:22 AM
Opening night Must See for me!
wilderfox2 - 12/7/2013, 11:22 AM
THEYVE SAID ITS AWESOME THATS WHAT THEYVE SAIDD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
wilderfox2 - 12/7/2013, 11:27 AM
Oh my goodness the fact that everyone is loving a ME movie again, gives me the feels man. I mean I loved the first one because its the hobbit and more middle earth. But this is making me over the top excited. And it sounds like we might get so KILLER TRAILERS! Interstellar, Godzilla, Apes sequel, YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!
Equivocal - 12/7/2013, 11:33 AM
in this case;
FCUK THE CRITICS

I'll be watching this;
"an stupendous Dragon" ???

That's what I wanted to hear !!!
hartley07 - 12/7/2013, 11:38 AM
i dont know what everyones problem was with the first one. its the first third of ONE BOOK. It would be like watching the first third of fellowship of the ring. frodo wouldnt have even gotten to the council yet. people would be bored to tears. what did you expect? If you read the books, you knew the first movie would consist of a party, a hike, some games with gollum, and the heroes run away from some goblins. Thats what you got. It was just fine for what it was.
WhiteBolt - 12/7/2013, 11:52 AM
Movie of the year, no doubt! One more week, baby!
ComradeGrey - 12/7/2013, 12:48 PM
What the [frick] is with Discworld fans bringing it up at every possible, forced opportunity?
Wolf38 - 12/7/2013, 1:35 PM
@hartley07

The first third of a short book, turned into a long movie, to be fair. Fellowship is a much longer book/volume, and it was made into a single film, not three.

I'm not saying that An Unexpected Journey was or wasn't unenjoyable, but I would think it very easy to see what some people's problem with it is.

It was not a straight adaption of the book, either, for whatever that is worth.
Kyos - 12/7/2013, 1:45 PM
They pretty much managed to kill the movie for me with their ridiculous Beorn re-design alone. So bad, and so unneccessary. :(

Guess I'll love the Bilbo/Smaug scenes, just like the Riddles in the Dark sequence was my single favourite thing in AUJ. But aside from that they're just going too crazy with the changing/adding stuff. [frick]ing elves...
Bailkurn44 - 12/7/2013, 1:47 PM
CAN'T WAIT!!!
ATrueHero1987 - 12/7/2013, 1:55 PM
Godzilla trailer?! =)
SauronsBANE1 - 12/7/2013, 2:31 PM
Yeah, I'll never understand people who actually prefer the Hobbit movies to the original trilogy. To me, that's the same as liking Episodes I-III of Star Wars better than the originals. Absolutely ridiculous, IMO. What'd you like more about it, the goofy, weed-smoking characters? The childish attempts at humor? The complete disregard of simple physics? The endless cliche's and slo-mo action shots? The pretty colors? Ugh.

That said, the Desolation of Smaug looks much, much better than the mess of a 1st movie. Still not sold on it, but beggars can't be choosers I guess.
fettastic - 12/7/2013, 2:45 PM
Although the additional scenes in the extended An Unexpected Journey are [frick]ing ridiculous, the film as a whole is fantastic and I never understood why people attacked it.

Ok, wizard-with-bird-shit-on-his-face is one of the most bewildering decisions I've ever seen by a director, I'll give you that. But people were actually BITCHING about the stone giants scene. Yeah, I don't get that at all.
batcheeks8 - 12/7/2013, 3:06 PM
Not bad! So excited to see it..
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