What other critics are saying about “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug”:
“Instead of wasting half the movie, as the first one did, stuck in a claustrophobic hobbit-hole with a bunch of drunken dwarves, ‘Smaug’ opens with a pulse-pounding – and yes, photogenic – chase scene. Mere seconds in, we watch a pack of bloodthirsty orcs pursue our hobbit hero and his dwarf companions over the Misty Mountains – where, as you will recall, we last left them – to the home of Beorn (Mikael Persbrandt), a shape-shifter who first appears in the form of a giant bear.
“This is good stuff.”
The Washington Post
“ ‘The Desolation of Smaug’ builds and builds to a confrontation between the heroes and the enormous fire-breathing beast, which sleeps on mountains of gold coins and jewels and treasure. As usual, Peter Jackson doesn’t disappoint on a visual level – the dragon looks wonderful – but man, does Smaug like the sound of its own voice. Acted by Benedict Cumberbatch, Smaug talks and talks and talks and talks – he’s like all the James Bond and Dr. Evil villains rolled into one – and despite his impossible size and fearsome appearance, he’s never all that quite imposing (he’s certainly not very bright, either).”
The Miami Herald
“If you see it, notice the transparent effort made to render dramatic and full of import the minor pulse beats of . . . not even a story, but a thin sliver of a story. ... Everything is emphasized, and so nothing has emphasis. Everything is pumped full of importance, and so nothing has importance. Meanwhile, the balance between action and character, found in the book, is lost.”
The San Francisco Chronicle