Movie-goer review of The Desolation of Smaug

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I’m going to do my best not to be a Debbie Downer, but I am really struggling here.

I recognize that hard core Tolkien fans likely have one opinion, while regular movie-goers have another. That said, I am going to give two separate reviews: one for the Tolkien fans and one for the movie goers.

As with any movie review, spoilers ahead.

For the Movie-Goers:
This review if for those who haven’t read the book and who are aren’t concerned about the Tolkien canon or whether it strayed from the book.

I am not a movie reviewer, so I will not attempt to analyze the pacing or the cinematography. What the heck is cinematography, anyway?

I have previously written about my frustration with the sensationalism that plagues a great many films.

My biggest frustration with the The Desolation of Smaug was cartoon-like battle scenes whereby none of the combatants were affected by the laws of physics.

Some of you will undoubtedly argue that this is a fantasy film and we shouldn’t expect any sort of realism.

Not true.

If there are no rules, then why didn’t Thorin and company pull out their wands and say ‘Accio broom stick.’ They could have flown to the Lonely Mountain. A better idea would be for Bilbo to have crept up on Smaug, pulled out his light saber, and taken off his head.

There are rules in fantasy worlds, and they are generally governed by the world itself. For example, Batman is fully human and must be governed by what is possible for a rich, athletic man, using technology.

Captain America is human, but his DNA has been augmented.

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He is several times more powerful than a regular man. But if Captain America suddenly jumped to the top of a 400’ building, it would seem silly.

Another might argue, it’s just a movie. Don’t over analyze it. Sorry, but the believability of a movie is what makes it seems real. When The Hunt for Red October came out, it was so realistic that our government wondered if the author had revealed classified information.

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No, movie goers aren’t going to ignore it when a movie’s action sequences devolve into a cartoon-like session of Kung-Fu pandas who regularly ignore the laws of physics.

If you are not a Tolkienite, and can get over the ridiculousness of the actions scenes, you will probably be impressed by several things:

  • The way the film connects itself to the LOTR trilogy.
  • The story line of the rise of Sauron.
  • The beautiful CG that is Smaug the dragon.
  • Howard Shore’s musical score. (The soundtrack is on my Christmas list.)

In the end, if you are not burdened by my frustrations, you might just enjoy the film.

I give it 4/5 stars for being a grand, breathe-taking adventure–but with some Pokemon fight scenes.


If you are interested in Howard Shore’s soundtrack, check out this affiliate link:


Movie-goer Review:
Tolkien Fan Review:


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