I’m torn between feeling that Desolation of Smaug sometimes feels like a visit to an amusement park, where you spend all your time either riding a roller coaster or waiting in line for the next ride to start, or it feels like a fresh interpretation of a classic fantasy.
Note: One thing Desolation of Smaug definitely doesn’t do is make a faithful recreation of the original story. The introduction of a totally new character, Tauriel (the female warrior Elf), is hardly the only modification of the original story. If you’re a purist, you’re going to insist that the tag line for the movie should be, “Based on the characters and events in J.R.R. Tolkien’s *The Hobbit*.”
For example, Peter Jackson completely changed the way everything went down at Dol Guldur – home of the Necromancer. To quote my wife, “It didn’t happen like that. The White Council decided to throw down the walls of Dol Guldur together. It’s the last act they do as a team. Did Jackson even read Tolkien?”
Personally, I enjoy a retelling of a story. I’ve read *The Hobbit* a few times, and would like the movie to offer something fresh. Whether Peter Jackson goes too far is a topic of debate.
The movie is certainly not lacking for action scenes. Nothing much happens between spider attacks, barrel rides, fighting Orcs, and dragon antics. If you haven’t noticed, it’s fairly rare for us to have 5 minute-long peetimes, but there are two such events here, between escaping from the Elves and arriving at the hidden gate of Erebor. In fact the first 5 minute peetime could easily have stretched on for another minute or two, without sacrificing anything noteworthy.
Lack of plot development is the missing ingredient in Desolation of Smaug. The movie is essentially a quest to get into the Lonely Mountain, which we already knew from the first Hobbit movie. Desolation of Smaug offers little more than adventure – and spectacular, sometimes comical, fights along the way.