The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Rated 3.0

The action picks up from where we left off in part one of director Peter Jackson’s three-film adaptation of The Hobbit, with Gandolf (Ian McKellen), Bilbo (Martin Freeman) and the dwarf posse setting off to the evil woods of Mirkwood and a confrontation with the foul dragon Smaug in the hall of the former mountain king. But first they have to confront giant spiders, rampaging orcs and cranky elves before barrel-riding on down into the degraded village of Laketown. As the second entry in the sprawling narrative, it’s mostly setting up the characters who will serve their function in the conclusion next year. When Bilbo and crew arrive to confront Smaug, the film settles down into a fine-tuned hum. Obviously, as an epic, it’s not as subtextually satisfying as the The Lord of the Rings trilogy, because it wasn’t intended to be an epic. But one feels that when this trilogy is completed, it’ll serve nicely as the run-up to Jackson’s true masterwork. Cinemark 14, Feather River Cinemas and Paradise Cinema 7. Rated PG-13