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.
Loved the movie by dvsrbt
While I can sympathize the opinions with some of the naysayers, I think they are overall being overly critical. The movie does take considerable liberties with the original published story which was essentially an adventure tale aimed at teenagers and young adults. However, since J. R. R. Tolkien had been working out the Middle Earth universe since his time in the Army during World War I and the Hobbit was published about twenty years before Lord of the Rings, I think we can forgive Peter Jackson for filling in details and interpretations based on Tolkien's LOTR/ Silmarillion (1950s) perspective rather from vision of Middle Earth in his 1937 novel because it really is the same story. Though I have some qualms with changes in story sequence and ending, overall I loved the movie. As far as character development, most of that happened in the first movie.
Fun with the Hobbit by jgbrooksjr
This was just a MUST SEE for me and I will see it again. I'm a senior but I love the whole Hobbit thing and I enjoyed the way it was presented on the screen. So entertaining and magical for me. Gotta read the book though. Can't wait for the next (final ?) segment Jim Brooks Jr.
Annoying by lovelops
I really wish it was one awesome movie on the book. I loved reading the book. To break the book into three movies and add a bunch of stuff, taking away parts of the book I enjoyed is sad.
I saw the movie in the big IMAX 3D theater.
The cinematography in this second film is really annoying. It made me want to walk out on the film, half-way through the movie. It hurt my eyes and gave me a headache.
Just as you start enjoying a great fight scene - ZOOOM! The camera zooms into something and zooms out. It was annyoying, ackward, and downright frustrating.
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.
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.
excellent by intuition73
excellent movie i am so hooked on all lord or rongs and all hobbits lol what can i say i am a fan of the movies and actors but even my mom and few other people tat know nothing of these movies still loved this movie and now they want to see the ones they havent lol
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.
My opinion of The Desolation of Smaug by AriaHopeIsaac
When I saw An Unexpected Journey back in early 2013 It was a slow start to what is turning out to be a fantastic trilogy. The Desolation of Smaug is a movie for longtime fans of Tolkien or people discovering his work for the first time. This movie has action, comedy, not to mention a little romance. I give this film my highest recommendation.
Entertaining, non-stop action. by belanger
Entertaining, non-stop action, with lots of license taken by the creators to deviate from the original story. Many of the additions serve to unify The Hobbit more closely with LOTR, so I'm OK with them, but purists will be horrified.