OK for kids 11+
Sequel bolstered by brave elves, scary dragon, big spiders.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Desolation of Smaug is the second installment in director Peter Jackson's three-part adaptation of The Hobbit. Unlike the streamlined adaptations of each of the three Lord of the Rings novels, The Hobbit is expanded beyond the source material with additional characters and story lines. While this series remains more tween-friendly than the more violent Lord of the Rings, there are still a few jump-worthy and frightening scenes, mostly dealing with the orcs, the dragon Smaug, and that most evil of beings, Sauron. Viewers with a fear of spiders may find some scenes difficult to watch. Bows are the weapons of choice, but hammers, swords, and other forged weapons are also used in the fight scenes (in addition to the dragon's built-in weapon of all-consuming fire).
Families can talk about how The Hobbit compares to The Lord of the Rings. How are the stories similar (a hobbit continues on a dangerous quest, deals with the precious ring), and how are they different? Which adventure do you prefer and why?
For those familiar with the book, how does this movie adaptation differ? If you haven't read the book yet, does the movie make you want to start Tolkien's classic?
Why do you think the filmmaker decided to insert a little bit of a romance/love triangle into the story? How about the reintroduction of Legolas?
The good stuff
Messages: The story continues with its message that even the smallest and seemingly weakest can be brave when it counts. Dwarves are small but strong warriors. Bilbo gains his confidence even as he cultivates his attachment to his secret ring. The importance of helping others is paramount to the story: two elves defy their leaders to help creatures they don't even particularly care about; a man helps the dwarves in a moment of need.
Role models: Many of the characters face difficult decisions. Bilbo must use his stolen ring to be invisible and help the dwarves. Thorin wants to lead his fellow dwarves to their homeland, but he's willing to sacrifice Bilbo's life if necessary; Tauriel disobeys the elvenking's orders in order to help the dwarves and fight the orcs; Bard helps the dwarves but doesn't want them to awaken the dragon that could lead to his lake town's destruction. Tauriel, a captain of the guard, is even more skilled than Eowyn and Arwen from the LOTR trilogy.
What to watch for
Violence: There a few jumpworthy moments courtesy of the orcs and the dragon Smaug. Audiences of all ages will be on the edge of their seats at least three times when dangerous, scary characters pop up on the screen. While it's not as violent as The Lord of the Rings trilogy, there are deadly confrontations between the dwarves and the orcs, the elves and the orcs, and the dragon and the dwarves. Orcs are killed (one is decapitated); one dwarf is pierced with a poisoned arrow and nearly dies; Smaug spews fire toward Bilbo and the dwarves and is buried in a sea of molten gold. Sauron is very frightening and smothers Galdalf with his evil darkness. Beorn is a skinchanger that changes from a giant man into a terrifying bear-like beast. Giant spiders are sure to creep out sensitive viewers.
Sex: Both Legolas and Kili are smitten with the beautiful elf Tauriel. Kili asks her if she isn't going to check down his trousers for weapons, because she might find something; she responds "or nothing." Kili and Tauriel hold hands.
Language: Some insults including "coward," "rabble rousers," "shirkers," "usurper," "thief," "burglar," and a couple of humorous insults about Gloin's wife and son looking like a man or beast, respectively. One joking insult that seems like a curse word, but is in Dwarf language.
Consumerism: There aren't any product placements in the film, but the Tolkien books and Peter Jackson film adaptations have launched a huge amount of merchandise: clothes, video games, LEGO toys and board games, role-playing games, special movie tie-in editions of the books, electronics accessories, and more.
Drinking, drugs and smoking: The dwarves have even bigger appetites than the hobbits. They drink on several occasions. There's a scene at a pub where there's drinking, and another where elves steal wine from the Mirkwood's cellar. In one scene elves appear passed out from drinking.
Fan Reviews provided by
Where's the story? by Hooterville_Mayor
Lots of action. And more action. Frankly, I was waiting for the car chase scene.
The ending was another expected non-surprise and disappointment.
All in all, not up to expectations.
Great experience by fjmg2003
The movie was fantastic. It had great acting and amazing special effects. I recommend this movie to everybody who wants to have a good time :)
pretty good by ceprn
Like the book, drahs in some places, but in some places, the scenes shift too much - would cayse a seizure in those prone to getting them from visual stimuli.
HOWEVER, it left me sitting with a Meh. It was kind of like the second Back to the Future - not a real conclusion o the story line, but just a half fulfilled bridge to the final movie.
I can hardly wait for the blu ray extended version boxed set.
Great book depiction by bettylaz
If you liked the book you will love the vivid portrayal of Bilbo and Gandolf in the highly. Entertaining, although lengthy film, as my 8 and 10 year old grandsons did!
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug by mikepen4985
Although I am told the movie is true to the book, I found it long and mostly boring.
Great special effects to be sure, however there are too many scenes that could have been shortened or left out.
Great special effects, but........ by TexasLorie
The Hobbit was full of great special effects, but my husband and I would the story lacking and several of the scenes way too long. Perhaps, if they had taken out about 30 minutes we would have enjoyed it better, but at over 2 1/2 hours, it didn't keep our interest. Acting was fine and it is appropriate for pretty much any age group.
Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug by manzojj
A remarkable piece of film making by Peter Jackson. The movie is enthralling for the first two hours and would rank up there with Return of the King. My only issue if that the end of the move spends to much time with special effects and Smaug...indulgent and too long like the first Hobbit movie.
Too Long by halesdi
I think a mistake was made when it was decided to take this book and give it three long movie segments. It's dragging for me. Yes, I will watch the third and final part when it comes out but I am somewhat disappointed. BTW: The Lord of the Rings Trilogy is in my top 10 of all time movie favorites. Too bad the Hobbit didn't live up.
They should have said it was a 2 PART MOVIE !!! by fieldway40
They should have said it was part 1 of 2. Also too LONG 2hrs 40min and it was a 2 part movie. I'M sure the 2nd part will be as long. They have to deal with 2-3 major plot developments.
EXCELLENT MOVIE by georgiasunflower
I did enjoy the first Hobbit, but I wasn't ovewhelmed by it. In truth, the first time I saw it, I fell asleep. Just wasn't into it I guess. But this one was Outstanding. I was worried it would be a repeat of sleeping for me because the movie started late, and it was very warm in the theater. But it was beautifully done, and kept my attention! While it was 2 hr 4 min, it didn't feel that long. I adored RIchard Armitage (Thorin), Martin Freeman (Bilbo) and all of the Dwarfs! And of course Evangline and Orlando were awesome! This time the characters felt real and they mattered to me. In the first one that didn't happen, at least not for me.
I do have to complain about one thing however - It ended upbruptly! I am certain it is so they can make yet another movie, but it felt like it just Stopped. All in all I highly recommend it and will probably see it again!