Excerpt: The Desolation of Smaug feels so well-worn that, for the first time in Jackson’s custody of these revered texts, the final product barely seems new. More troubling is that, also a first, the story feels a little thin, suggesting what many Jackson naysayers have said: The Hobbit could have been wrapped up in two films or (*gulp*) perhaps one.
Excerpt: In essence, “The Desolation of Smaug” is nothing more than connective tissue – a bridge between “An Unexpected Journey” and “There and Back Again,” due out next Christmas. But I’m okay with that.
Excerpt: The short tale of The Hobbit has become bloated with filler. Now if we were talking about a mattress or a bra, then padding would be a selling point perhaps, but in a movie it leads to diminishing returns.
Excerpt: Often perks up with a show-stopping set-piece or two, and an imposing CG dragon is no mean feat, but The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug spins its wheels, as if our heroes are trudging through quicksand and their destination just keeps getting farther and farther.
Excerpt: As a signature blockbuster that boasts Jackson’s signature flourishes in excess and wonderment, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug has its compelling moments as a cinematic Tolkien adventure-land entertainment tapping into the sensationalistic senses of its menacing Make Believe World of miscreants and magic.
Excerpt: Desolation of Smaug provides something of a response to critics of the first film: opening and closing with two enormous – and lengthy – action setpieces, and containing a good deal of running, chasing, and fighting in-between, this is an exciting, action-packed middle installment in the trilogy that never feels as long as its 161-minute running time.
Jerry Roberts @ Armchair Cinema
Excerpt: A wobbly second-leg of a three chapter trilogy with a cool looking dragon at its center.