The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Reviews
Much of this has all the gluteus-clenching intensity of a good video game, but there's also a thematic subtext here - as there was in the "LOTR" films - of good vs. evil and honor vs. treachery.
Sure, all the studios offer anymore are big, dumb adventure spectacles, but that's not a knock against the achievement of this one, which at least parades wonders before us, not the least being the greatest dragon in the history of movies.
The tale has no emotional resonance, and the thinness of the plot (only five of the book's chapters are adapted here) and the colorless depictions of the leading characters do it no favors.
It's livelier and better than its predecessor. The first movie's harrumphing throat-clearing has given way to a swift, imposing adventure boasting several wing-ding action sequences.
The chaotic action, amped-up sound effects, and needlessly intricate CGI landscapes (which are less convincing than traditional sets or even the hand-drawn backdrops of Disney classics) wore me out well before the movie was over.
"The Desolation of Smaug" is a rip-roaring wizards and lizards escapade that delivers a full quota of thrills while remaining true to the lighthearted spirit of the source material.
For many, Jackson's "Hobbit" will look like an overly long amusement-park attraction. But for fantasy fans who have dreamed all their lives of spending time inside Tolkien's dazzling alternative reality, it's a ride well worth taking.