“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” suffers from many of the problems of Part 1, the biggest of which is that it is way too long. Other issues it shares with its predecessor: it is CGI heavy; it comes across as a children’s movie; though it is slightly darker than the first (having a PG-13 rating to the PG rating of Part 1) some scenes seem straight from a Disney movie (e.g. Legolas barrel and dwarf head hopping as he chases the orcs down the river).
Right off the bat, I want to make it clear that I am a huge fan of all of Tolkien’s written works related to the Lord of the Rings (LOTR) cycle. Yes, I’ve read the “Silmarillion” and even “The Book of Lost Tales”. But the magic started when my 5th-grade teacher, Mrs. Riegel, read The Hobbit to our class waaaay back in 1987. We were enthralled and spellbound as Bilbo was co-opted on the mission to reclaim the dwarves’ home by Gandalf the wizard. Each chapter introduced new creatures, new parts of Middle Earth and new adventures. Through each, the affable hobbit is transformed from someone who only thinks about the food in his larder to someone with true ingenuity, grit, and spine who cares deeply about his friends.
Needless to say, when it was announced that Peter Jackson would follow up his brilliant LOTR trilogy with The Hobbit I was thrilled. Immediately, I was taken back to my childhood, looked forward to reliving Bilbo’s journey once again.
Unfortunately, following the end of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey I was left with mixed feelings and a fair amount of bitterness that Peter Jackson had tainted this idyllic memory of mine by making a bloated big budget blockbuster instead of an enchanting hero’s story focused on the character development of Bilbo.