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The Hobbit:The Desolation of Smaug


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Nov 04, 2014

MPAA Rating:


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Peter Jackson


Richard Armitage

Martin Freeman

Ian McKellen

Elijah Wood


2013 Warner Brothers Pictures

Official Website >>

Still shot from the movie: The Hobbit:The Desolation of Smaug.

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Overall B+
Run Time161

Making the Grades

Ahh… the middle movie. The second installment of a trio offers both benefits and unavoidable problems. The plus is we have been introduced to the characters (okay, I admittedly haven’t read the book) so more time can be spent on developing the personalities of our legions of dwarves and elves… and a very important hobbit. But the downside is the conclusion, mainly because there isn’t one! Instead, think of this film as a big promotional piece leaving you wanting to see what happens next. And, indeed, creator Peter Jackson cuts to black at the very moment you are yearning for more.

In this film we pick up on the trail right where the first outing abandoned us. Our little burglar Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) is still trekking toward the Lonely Mountain with a band of dwarves, led by the once-and-future King Thorin (Richard Armitage). On their rear is an ugly Orc (perhaps he has a face his mother could love) named Azog (Manu Bennett) who wants to kill the would-be monarch.

Hoping to lose their enemy, the little band looks for a “safe” shortcut that will provide seclusion. Thus they enter Mirkwood forest, and that’s where they encounter something that may make the audience a little squeamish—giant spiders. Thankfully Mr. Baggins is beginning to come into his own and saves the day with a sharp blade. However, their victory is soon squelched after they are found by the elves Legolas and Tauriel (Orlando Bloom, Evangeline Lilly), who capture them and take them back to the elf kingdom.

It’s during their incarceration that this story starts to offer a little more meat than the first movie’s monotonous “battle, trek, battle, trek” pattern. Tauriel (a lone female character created by Jackson, due to Tolkien’s neglect of including anyone of the fairer sex) discovers dwarves are people too as she enjoys conversations through the prison bars with Kili (Aidan Turner). Yet there’s little time in this over two-and-a-half-hour flick for niceties. With the help of a golden souvenir from the previous movie, Bilbo manages to stage a jailbreak that leaves the elves, shall we say, over a barrel.

Now the dwarves can continue to their ultimate destination with the goal of reclaiming the kingdom of Erebor and putting King Thorin back on his throne. But first they must take a little detour to deal with a huge talking dragon named Smaug. This beast has stolen all of the dwarves’ treasures and also has possession of the Arkenstone—a special heirloom from Thorin’s family that the group is anxious to reclaim.

Parents wondering if Hobbit 2 is suitable for their family’s viewing need only take a look at the proceeding The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, because both contain the same style of violence and mayhem. That’s not to say either of these films are really children’s movies. Orcs, the ultimate bad guys, are prime targets for the most gruesome disposals. These include decapitations, impalements and arrows extending through both sides of their skulls. The giant spiders don’t fare much better and have the added possibility of inciting nightmares in young audiences. And booze appears to be a main food group of Middle Earth.

Still, for ‘tweens and teens looking for adventure in cinema-land, it’s hard to argue against this well executed film. Aside from the violence there are no profanities and only one instance of mild sexual innuendo (which I doubt was in the novel). There are the usual positive messages about working together, as well as a subtle nod toward seeing past ethnic differences. It felt more engaging due to a greater focus on a few key characters, like the aforementioned Tauriel, the dwarves Thorin and Kili, and our key protagonist Bilbo Baggins. In this outing the once timid shire-dweller shows a natural change of attitude towards the adventure, and demonstrates patience and the ability to use his intelligence to solve problems.

With enough popcorn and a visit to the “facilities” prior to sitting down for this epic, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug has the potential to keep both hobbitual and casual viewers engaged.


Discussion Ideas After The Movie

Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about The Hobbit:The Desolation of Smaug.

This movie is based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s book The Hobbit.

What is Bilbo Baggins learning about himself? Would he have made these discoveries had he stayed at home? Do we avoid “adventures” that could allow us to grow? Has the Internet and video games altered our perceived need to “experience life”?

What do the various “ethnic” groups in this movie discover about each other? Do you think they will ever be able to completely ignore their differences? What do they learn about working together?


Trailers & Clips

Canadian Movie Ratings

PG Violence, Frightening Scenes
AB PG Violence, Frightening Scenes. Not Recommended for Young Children.
MB 14A Violence, Frightening Scenes.
ON PG Violence, Some Scary Sceens.
QC G Not recommended for Young children

Canadian Home Video Rating: PG

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Details on home video releases of The Hobbit:The Desolation of Smaug...

Home Video Notes: The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug - Extended Edition
Release Date: 4 November 2014

The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug releases to home video (Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy) in an Extended Edition. (The movie has gone from 161 minutes to 186.) Supplements include:
-  Audio Commentary with Director/writer/producer Peter Jackson and writer/co-producer Philippa Boyens
- New Zealand: Home of Middle-Earth, Part 2
- The Appendices Part 9 & 10
- And more!

Home Video Notes: The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug
Release Date: 8 April 2014
The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug releases to home video in 3D (Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy) and Blu-ray (Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy). Both of theses packages include the following extras:
- Peter Jackson Invites You to the Set – Experience the film’s challenges and demands, and journey alongside the director into Mirkwood, Lake-town and Dale as the movie’s most intense, pivotal scenes are created.
- Production Videos
- New Zealand: Home of Middle-earth, Part 2 – Travel with Peter Jackson and his team across the stunning locations of New Zealand transformed by the filmmakers into Middle-earth
- Music Video
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug also releases in a 3D Limited Edition (Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy). This package features all of the above, plus:
- Limited Edition Gates of Erebor Guards Bookends

Home Video Notes: The Hobbit: The Motion Picture Trilogy
Release Date: 24 March 2015
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
- The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
- The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

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