The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)

PG-13   |    |  Adventure, Fantasy


The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013) Poster

The dwarves, along with Bilbo Baggins and Gandalf the Grey, continue their quest to reclaim Erebor, their homeland, from Smaug. Bilbo Baggins is in possession of a mysterious and magical ring.


7.8/10
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  • Benedict Cumberbatch at an event for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)
  • Orlando Bloom and Evangeline Lilly in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)
  • Evangeline Lilly at an event for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)
  • Sean Astin at an event for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)
  • Benedict Cumberbatch in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)
  • Luke Evans and John Bell in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)

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10 December 2013 | cadillac20
8
| A Fantastic, Exciting Adventure
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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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Weta designers, Smaug's fire is not magical, but "fuel-based".


Quotes

Balin: It never ceases to amaze me, the courage of Hobbits...


Goofs

When Legolas is shown in close-up when speaking to Tauriel after he goes out looking for her, Orlando Bloom's left ear piercing hole can be seen.


Alternate Versions

The Extended Edition that was made for the home theater market adds 25 minutes of additional footage. These include the following new or extended scenes:

  • At the Prancing Pony, Gandalf asks Thorin about his business in Bree. Thorin tells him that he is searching for Thrain, his father who was presumed dead after the Battle of Moria; Thrain has supposedly been seen again. Thorin also mentions that Thrain was wearing one of the seven Dwarf Lord rings when he disappeared.
  • After having spent the night in Beorn's house, the Dwarves are discussing how they can get past Beorn unseen; however, Gandalf assures them they will need Beorn's help. Gandalf goes with Bilbo to carefully introduce the group to Beorn, but the Dwarves mistake his gestures for a sign that they should come out of the house, much to Beorn's unpleasant surprise.
  • Upon leaving with Beorn's ponies, Beorn makes the group swear to free the horses before entering the forest. He then has a talk with Gandalf about Azog, the Necromancer at Dol Guldur, the tombs in the mountains (featuring a flashback with a voiceover by Galadriel) and a possible return of Sauron.
  • Gandalf warns the Dwarves not to disturb the water in Mirkwood, use only bridges, and be wary of illusions.
  • The Dwarves find the bridge in Mirkwood destroyed, so they cross the river with the use of vines hanging above the water. Bombur falls in the water and is asleep, so the other Dwarves need to carry him. They see a white stag, which Thorin tries to shoot unsuccessfully. Bilbo states this will bring bad luck.
  • The Master of Laketown and his aid Alfrid talk about Bard and their desire to get rid of his influence on the people of the town. As Alfrid serves the Master a plate of goat and ram's testicles to eat, they discuss a possibility to silence Bard.
  • While being smuggled into Laketown, the Dwarves are discovered. They fight off the guards with the help of the townsfolk. Braga, the captain of the guards, enters, and Bard bribes him into leaving by offering him a fancy piece of underwear for his wife.
  • Master and Alfrid are discussing an old prophecy that when the king of the mountain returns, the streets will run with gold.
  • Alfrid asks whether Thorin can be trusted to keep his word, prompting Bilbo to vouch for him.
  • The remaining Dwarves ask Alfrid to help the wounded Kili, but he coldly dismisses them.
  • Balin describes how the desolation of Smaug was once a lush woodland.
  • While at Dol Guldur, Gandalf is suddenly attacked by a Dwarf. After a brief scuffle, Gandalf recognizes his assailant as Thrain, and uses an enchantment to give him his memory back. Thrain mentions how he lost his finger and the Dwarf Lord ring during the Battle of Moria. He also warns Gandalf that no one should get into Erebor.
  • Gandalf and Thrain are attacked by Azog at Dol Guldur. Gandalf fights him off and they run away, only to be caught by the Necromancer, who uses black smoke tendrils to grab and kill Thrain.


Soundtracks

I See Fire
Written by
Ed Sheeran
Performed by Ed Sheeran
Courtesy of Atlantic Records
Ed Sheeran appears courtesy of Asylum Records UK

Storyline

Plot Summary


Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Genres

Adventure | Fantasy

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