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Parents' Guide to

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 11+

Sequel bolstered by brave elves, scary dragon, big spiders.

Movie PG-13 2013 161 minutes
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 11+

Based on 20 parent reviews

age 11+

Bored with the Non-Stop Action & Violence

I was disappointed with the constant action and violence in this movie. Although I had not read the books, I enjoyed the story in the first Hobbit movie and was looking forward to being drawn into the fantasy. Instead I became bored with the constant special effects and grotesque characters that pushed the story along with a pile-up of facts but no depth. The special effects are well done but are mostly violent and depict demonic looking and sounding creatures. The most redeeming quality of the movie is that it has no bad language or sexual content. The loyalty and bravery of the dwarfs and elves were also positive.
age 12+

Fun and entertaining movie.

A little bit scary but not to much blood.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (20 ):
Kids say (126 ):

This second installment is a slight improvement over the first, even if some of the reasons it's better will upset Tolkien purists; some new characters were nowhere to be found in the book. But let's just say this and move on: The Hobbit three-parter is not The Lord of the Rings, and it will forever confound some critics as to why it a standalone book was divided into three nearly three-hour films, when one would've done just fine. One of the fundamental problems with The Hobbit is that there is a lot of traveling and not enough relationship building. There's not a sense of camaraderie and friendship the way there was in the nine-member Fellowship of the Ring.

But what does work in this film is the stopover at the Mirkwood, where the startlingly beautiful but cold elvenking Thranduil (Lee Pace) is a lovely foil to his hot-headed son Legolas (Orlando Bloom), who has an obvious crush on the gorgeous (and completely new to the world of Tolkien) captain of the guard Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly). Laketown's heroic everyman Bard the Bowman (Luke Evans) is well cast. The fight scenes (particularly those with Legolas and Tauriel) are, as always, one of Jackson's specialties, as are the middle-earth landscapes by his long-time cinematographer Andrew Lesnie, who knows how to immerse audiences into the beloved universe. Lastly, one cannot write a review of this movie without mentioning Cumberbatch's motion-capture performance as Smaug. With his resonant baritone (reminiscent of James Earl Jones), Cumberbatch imbues Smaug with an imperious, psychopathic rage and arrogance. It's fascinating and chilling and proof that these sorts of performances demand the finest of actors.

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