The Desolation of Smaug: A Treasure or a Travesty?

The Desolation of Smaug: A Treasure or a Travesty?

Over the weekend, the much anticipated “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” was released. It is the second installment in the trilogy, and is part of the prequel to “The Lord of the Rings” movies. The following are two reviews from opposite ends of the spectrum: the first positive and the second negative. However, you will have to see the movie for yourself to draw your own opinion.


The Positive – By Sam Urschel

“The Desolation of Smaug” was a thrilling sequel to the first Hobbit film. What the first movie lacked in plot development, the second made up for it. Some might say that dividing a 300-page book into three movies is just a scheme to garner more money, but I believe that director Peter Jackson felt that every single scene was necessary to the story. He even had to cut down areas that were too elaborate. It was a much darker film, as the Necromancer built up his forces to launch an all out attack on Middle Earth and the ring began to tempt Bilbo. Young master Baggins, along with Thorin Oakenshield and his band of dwarves reached the Lonely Mountain to reclaim their homeland only to release a terrible beast: Smaug the dragon. The scene where Bilbo and Smaug are face to face under the mountain is truly epic. There were a few intricate and astonishing fight scenes, filled with point blank arrow shots to the head and awe-inspiring multi-kills. Jackson stated in an interview that there would be even more fighting and all conflicts would be resolved in the third movie “There and Back Again,” and I, for one, am looking forward to this time next year for its release.


The Negative – By Matthew Hoskins

“The Desolation of Smaug” should have been called “The Desolation of American Cinema.” If “The Lord of the Rings” was a gentle ride through beautiful landscapes and engaging characters, “The Hobbit” was a CGI roller coaster that violently and carelessly sped through one absurd scenario to the next that left me feeling nauseated. The shallow character development left me unconnected and indifferent to these emotionally distant wayfarers. As if this wasn’t enough, Peter Jackson made additions to the plot that were clearly meant to attract a broader audience, and the lack of thought behind them almost offended me. J.R.R. Tolkien’s masterpiece should not have been mutilated in such an obnoxious and pointless manner. The cartoonish and childish portrayal of orcs in this movie is a sharp contrast to the meticulously detailed and time consuming way they were shown in “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy. Clearly Jackson thought he could pump money, instead of time, into this movie and still make something worth watching. He was woefully mistaken.

Of course this somewhat harsh opinion comes from a devout “Lord of the Rings” fan and someone who has read “The Hobbit” several times. If all you are looking for is a movie with good visuals that you can fill a Friday night with, you will most likely not share in these opinions. If, however, you are craving a beautiful and well-thought-out adaptation to a classic book, you will be utterly disappointed. I can only hope that Jackson will redeem himself with the third installment, “There and Back Again,” and hopefully create a vastly less childish film.