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.
Didn't really desolate anything. by kliamcole
Nothing really spectacular about this movie. The whole point was to desolate Smaug. Well no desolation until you go see yet another 3 hour movie..yes, there will be yet another. Only went because the wife wanted to.
Great Movie by rachelanne989
Great 2nd installment of the The Hobbit, but they really shouldn't split it into 3, they could have easily made this 2 movies. There are great graphics and the storyline is beyond that of just the Hobbit book.
Could've been much better... by parrishhut
The second installment of the Hobbit Trilogy was better than the first with a faster pace and the introduction of more interesting array of characters. Martin Freeman remains excellent, givng Bilbo a complexity that the majority of the characters lack. This problem stems from the first installment, the result of a confusing choice of how to physically create the dwarf characters. Some of the makeup and prosthetics create believable, credible characters from the time when the earth had an array of humanoid people. Other dwarves suffer from a cartoon character quality in their makeup and prosthetics. All this adds up to a confusing dissonance between the dwarves that are compelling and, well, believable, and the ridiculously made up cartoon characters with which they share the adventure. It is not the fault of the actors, but of the director's and his staff's vision of these characters. The LOTR trilogy created, and sustained throughout, believable characters one cared about.
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug by daylilydaze.key
Great movie and the special effects were great!! The Dragon is so realistic and the spiders wanted to make me scream. I hate spiders so those really just about did me in. The sceanery and the actors are amazing. These movies just get better and better but I wish it wouldn't take a whole year for the next installment, it is just too long to wait.
I'm a fan by ROBIJOHN
It was done really well, the acting the cinematography were exceptional. I believe this is great for audiences from teen to adult - I not only will be seeing this again, maybe even purchasing it when it comes out on video, but I cannot wait until the next installment is ready.!
It's not over yet! by cartee
This movie is an excellent continuation of the Hobbit series, and even though it is quite long, it didn't seem as such. The movie developed in the usual flair and excitement, gave a great preview to the character's backgrounds from the Lord of the Rings trilogy and developed to a expected climax only to be CONTINUED!!!
Oh well, must wait until the second edition to see how this all comes to a conclusion.
The continuing saga by joyjoyhd
Obviously, if you go to the Hobbit series movies you expect a 3 hour long movie. The storyline can be predictable and similar to the one before it, however, it was still very enjoyable. The graphics were meticulously done and it was a beautiful movie to watch -- especially on an IMAX screen in 3D.
It is frustrating when a movie ends on a cliffhanger though!! UGH! There could've been a little bit more resolution. Now we all sit for a year to see "what happens next."
The Hobbit: the Desolation of Smaug by cyndi6262
This was pretty good. Had good graphics and fight scenes. Sometimes moved too fast. Didn't like the ending cause now I have to wait for the next installment to come out. I know when it comes out on TV, I'll have to watch again cause it was alot to take in for the first time. Keeping in line with all the Hobbit and Lord of the Ring movies.
Not enough like the book-Semi Spoiler by friedmanrosec
My entire family loved The Hobbit book. I personally haven't read it recently, but the movie was still enough to get me to go to theaters. I was disappointed by the overdone CGI and the whole white orc subplot that was nowhere to be found in the book. Also all the near misses were overused and overdone. The final fight scene in the mountain was so overdone that I actually laughed. But once you get past the overdone-ness and the dwarves coming out of toilets, it really is worth seeing. Just go in with the expectation that it won't be the same as the books, and if you are a realist, you will laugh by some of the scenes. For me, seeing Smaug covered in molten gold was worth my money!