The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Rated 1.0

Peter Jackson's decision to shoot his latest Tolkien trilogy in High Frame Rate 3-D is a tragic, disastrous choice. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, like its predecessor, An Unexpected Journey, is a task to watch. The look of the movie simply doesn't jibe with the technology, resulting in a visual nightmare. As a middle chapter in The Hobbit saga, Smaug is guilty of the same flaws that marred the first film. It's overstuffed, the dwarves are severely uninteresting, and the action scenes lack any kind of urgency. It's just a big, boring stunt film with people looking silly in their getups. As Bilbo, Martin Freeman labors to make things interesting during action scenes that feel redundant. (Hey, it's another giant icky spider attack!) He definitely stands out amongst a cast of bland actors playing bland dwarves. Oh Gimli, how you are missed! Jackson finds a way to bring back Orlando Bloom as Legolas. Bloom's scenes are a bunch of sorry minutes that could be cut from the film's running time. Too many scenes in this movie feel padded and bloated. With each passing minute, Jackson is doing further damage to his directing legacy. His original Lord of the Rings trilogy was a major triumph. These Hobbit films feel and look like parody. Smaug the dragon (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch) finally shows up, and he is easily the best thing in the Hobbit films thus far. He should've arrived in the second half of the first film, and the whole damn thing should've been over in three hours.