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.
Go See!! by funyface
Hard to believe it's been over 20 yrs since reading this book and I STILL remember the story's details. The movie definitely lives up to those fond memories! If you liked the Hobbit and Trilogy, you MUST see this movie! Director Peter Jackson is a master at recreating Tolkien's wonderfully, enchanted and delightful fantasy, while simultaneously replicating for us all the realism of "Adventure" our friend Bilbo Baggins experienced. Jackson certainly lives up to and even bests previous efforts!
The Hobbit by sibylbarnum
For an avid Tolkien fan I found this installment of The Hobbit very disappointing. In addition to straying significantly from the story, the special effects were trite and made specifically for 3-D "excitement". Doubt if I will see installment number 3.
Awe Inspiring as Always by Label1228
It was so awesome, Smaug was amazing. It was wonderful to see the family ties and where characters come from. There weren't any low points in this movie at all. The movie wasn't long enough I could have watched 3 more hours.
Visual eye candy! by colleen623
Assorted laugh out loud scenes and incredible fight scenes make this an enjoyable movie. The story line moves fast enough to make you forget the film is 2hrs and 40mins long.
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!
Over the top by mtv111
I enjoyed the movie overall, but the action scenes were way over the top and very hard to follow. I also didn't like the way he completely changed the spider scene versus the book. The dragon was well done and there were some other good special effects, but overall, my wife and I walked out giving this film a 'meh' rating. Left a lot to be desired, unfortunately.
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.
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
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.