December 13, 2013, - 4:20 pm

Weekend Box Office: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

By Debbie Schlussel

I do not get the popularity of the Hobbit movies, including and especially, “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” in theaters today. Clocking in at nearly three hours(!)–161 minutes, to be exact–I was getting stir crazy sitting in my seat at the screening I attended.


The movie is long, boring, repetitive, and silly. And the plot is confusing. It has the same villains–the Orcs–as in the last Hobbit movie, “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” (read my review), which was just as long and just as boring (and just came out a year ago!). Had I left to go to the bathroom and/or get refreshments, I would not have missed a thing. And even if I had, I’d see it again, as the movie had the same things happening over and over and over again. Don’t get me wrong. I like actor Benedict Cumberbatch. But how many times do I need to see the computer-generated image of the dragon he voices writhing around in obviously computer-generated gold coins, and how many times do I need to hear him ranting. Once would be enough. It seemed like geometric multiples of ten.

Yeah, yeah, I know, I know–these movies aren’t sexual and their violence is the good guys against the bad and it’s good for kids (is it?) as opposed to the usual garbage at the movies that I decry on this site almost every week. And I know the Bilbo Baggins and Gandalf characters are morally good. But if this is the best they can do in the non-sexual, non-garbage, kids movies category, our country is sunk. Well, we already know Hollywood is sunk, morally and politically. And we already know it’s braindead, idea-wise. And that’s why all they can serve up for kids are endless sequel movies to the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. Is that all there is?


The “story”: the Hobbit dude is fleeing the Orcs and trying to fight off a dragon, named Smaug, who lives among a giant treasure of gold coins and wants to destroy the city under which he lives (and maybe mankind–I was unsure). But elves save and help him. That’s a story you could have told in 20 minutes or less–yes, quicker than formerly guaranteed pizza delivery. But, instead, it took as long as a Superbowl to rehash the same old stuff I basically saw in that other Hobbit movie I reviewed.

One other thing: the movie is something of a women’s lib, feminist re-imagining of the Hobbit books. There are no female elves in them. But a sympathetic female elf–who is really the hero of the movie–was created and inserted into this movie for grrrl power reasons! So said Evangeline Lilly (though not in those words) who plays the elf-ette.

These directors who make three-hour-long movies are egomaniacs and narcissists. They actually think something they made is worthy of three hours of my life and they don’t, therefore, need to do any editing. Um, wrong. And, to make matters worse, after three hours of sitting there subjected to this boredom and sleep-inducement extraordinaire, they don’t tell you what happens at the end of this movie. They leave you hanging and force you to see the next movie to see what happens. What a rip-off of three hours of time and ten-plus bucks. Life really is too short for this.

But, hey, if you wanna be an absentee parent and dump your kids for three hours . . . .

I had to create a new rating for this one:


Watch the trailer . . .

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28 Responses

“I had to create a new rating for this one:



DS_ROCKS! on December 14, 2013 at 4:31 am

It is recycling.

Worry01 on December 14, 2013 at 8:04 am

LOL, I remember loving the book as a kid so I was prepared to give the first installment the benefit of the doubt.
Unfortunately I should have listened to Debbie
These movies are now just cash cows. I won’t bother with this one.

Frankz on December 14, 2013 at 10:09 am

though maybe I’m being too hasty, there could be something here

Frankz on December 14, 2013 at 10:16 am

Debbie, I read maybe the first three sentences of your review, and looked at a couple others. I can’t be bothered, because as you know, I can’t be bothered with movies. I have read other reviews all the way through. But I CAN answer the one thing you mentioned in your very first sentence.

It is America’s propensity to seek out ANYTHING but reality to inject in to their lives. That’s why these movies are so popular. You wanna know how many people I personally know my age who are so in to Harry Potter they spend hours discussing the stuff? Ridiculous.

Alfredo from Puerto Rico on December 14, 2013 at 11:14 am

Heaven’s above, I thought this was the first one? I didn’t even know there was one out already (or perhaps I forgot!)! Pity such a great title is attached to a soporific film. I got a great kick out of the “No Doz” ratings system! πŸ˜€

I’m convinced I was forever saved from “fanboy” sci-fi geek-hood when I loved “The Hobbit” in 4th grade (our teacher read a few chapters to us) and when I tried to read it on my own I lost total interest. The only Sci-Fi things that kept my interest was the 1st 2 Star Wars films and the original Battlestar Galactica. If I had found something compelling beyond that I just know I’d be a super-geek. Rock and roll came and saved me from that! πŸ˜€

Skunky on December 14, 2013 at 11:47 am

Skunky, I saw the first one at the movies back in 1978. That’s how long this particular madness has been going on.

Alfredo from Puerto Rico on December 14, 2013 at 12:27 pm

” Rock and roll came and saved me from that! :D”

Amen to that. But I do confess to going to a teen disco, “Roma’s”, in some suburb of Detroit when I was 16 back in ’78 every Saturday night – Angel’s Flight pants, platform shoes, feathered and blown hair, Qiana shirts and a leather jacket: just like Tony Manero – lol.

And I had a job as a busboy in a disco the year before that near Philly that was called “Carlos & Charlies”, but then they changed their name to “C.C. Charlies.” People would often give us Quaaludes and amphetimines for a tip. Ah, the bad old days!

DS_ROCKS! on December 14, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    Oh, you are a bit older than me DSR. I love disco. I love both rock and disco but during that year you stated, I remember going to a Catholic Camp where the opened a disco for us during the day…but we were still single digits (no drugs 4 us, LOL)! I loved it. The 70s are my favourite decade and I love rock & disco! πŸ˜€

    Good stuff!

    Skunky on December 14, 2013 at 1:56 pm

      I know EXACTLY how long DS_ROCKS! has been rockin’ the planet. We hashed it out one night, and I got him to admit it without me asking. Ha!!! I interrogated a tough young Army guy and got him to fess up without him even, . . .

      hmmmmmmmmm, actually he knew full well, . . .

      oh, well, doesn’t matter. He’s still a young whippersnapper to me, Skunky, because he’s young enough to be my—–, . . .

      uhhhhhh, younger brother, that’s it, my younger brother. LOL!!!

      And you Skunky, are a bit younger than him, but just a bit. LOL!!!

      Alfredo from Puerto Rico on December 14, 2013 at 7:49 pm

You bring back memories, DS_ROCKS! I LOVED Qiana shirts. They were so comfortable. I’m very particular about the fabrics I wear, because my skin has always been sensitive to “scratchy” materials. I remember people telling me about Carlos and Charlie’s. And as for ludes and uppers, didn’t like those heads, but I knew plenty of people who did. Guys liked to give ludes to chicks, because they would always have a wild time with chicks if they were on ludes.

Alfredo from Puerto Rico on December 14, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    Yeah, ‘Fredo, what a great era. I just read an article about disco and the author was pointing out that people had to get dressed up and go out to discos to dance and actually meet people.

    Oh, (keeping it on topic)and I couldn’t get past the first page of “Hobit” let alone, as Debbie points out, waste three irreplaceable hours of my life watching pretentious crap.

    I did see “Bad Grandpa” at the discount theater and it had at least a dozen laugh-out-loud moments.

    DS_ROCKS! on December 14, 2013 at 12:50 pm

Disagree. I’m rather surprised at this Review.

Jack on December 14, 2013 at 12:40 pm

DS_ROCKS!, ever hear of Club 82? Quite an interesting basement club on East 5th Street, used to go there back in ’74, ’75. Mobsters, gays, freaks, straight, all colors, bull dyke bartenders, great music, everyone got along. Those were great days, the 70’s. People got along a LOT better. It’s not like I could go walking down any street I wanted to in any neighborhood. It was NOT peace and love for all, but for a lot more, it was. Some of the good aspects of the 60’s did rub off on us for a while.

Then along came the late 70’s and things started to get skewed. I recognized this when Elvis died, and made the analogy to America. But as usual, no one was listening or caring. Then, as if to signal the warped nature the culture was beginning to take on, the first of these “Hobbit” movies came along in ’78. So did Orson Welles “The Late Great Planet Earth.” People SHOULD have paid more attention to that than “Lord Of The Rings.”

They didn’t, and America got warped in to a constant fantasy of bringing the party to work, and bringing work everywhere, then turning the whole mess in to a big unending party. Here we are, poised on the brink of our destruction. All because nonsense like “Hobbit” movies and Harry Potter books are more important that reality and GOD ALMIGHTY!!!

Alfredo from Puerto Rico on December 14, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    “DS_ROCKS!, ever hear of Club 82? Quite an interesting basement club on East 5th Street, used to go there back in ’74, ’75. Mobsters, gays, freaks, straight, all colors, bull dyke bartenders, great music, everyone got along. ”

    No, I didn’t get up to NYC to party – just business when I had an antique store in PA and would take my surplus goods and sell them out of a truck on a Sunday once in a while.

    A buddy and I did inadvertently wander into a dyke bar off South St. in Philly, once, though. We didn’t put 2+2 together until midway through my first drink when it finally dawned on me.

    Oh, and being forced to watch the Hobbit would be torture to me. Like the scene in “Clockwork Orange” when they de-program Malcolm McDowell.

    DS_ROCKS! on December 15, 2013 at 1:06 am

      DSR, “A Clockwork Orange” has all I love in a film (except the end and the brutal rape scene) but I always avoided watching it. The eyeball scene being something that skeeves me out even thinking about it. I could never even like Malcolm McDowell because he seemed so convincing as that yob “Alex” (and this was before I had seen the film).

      In college I had to watch it in a film class. I was correct all those years trying to avoid it. I really resented having to watch it for a college course. I admire what the film was presenting and how avant garde it was but it’s one of the few I don’t like because it’s too much for me.

      Skunky on December 15, 2013 at 11:16 am

        Skunky, do read Clockwork Orange. It is superb.

        skzion on December 15, 2013 at 7:40 pm

          Oh, I did Skzion & I agree. I found I understood the weird vocab used in the book without having to go back and forth like I thought I would. I enjoyed that and thought it was so weird because I usually get annoyed with stuff like that. But I liked the book a lot just as you did.

          Skunky on December 15, 2013 at 7:56 pm

          I remember reading it about 45 years ago. Forgot where or how I got it. Found it fascinating, and it made quite an impression, in a number of ways. And in 2000, I began calling it Clockwork Orange time in the USA. I could see it all around us.

          Alfredo from Puerto Rico on December 15, 2013 at 10:32 pm

I really liked the Lord of the Rings movies, and the simple story of good vs. evil and the consequences of not destroying the ring (i.e. tyranny) is compelling within those films. The movies got me to read the books, which I thoroughly enjoy as well. While I liked the first Hobbit movie ok, and I’ll be going to see this one as well, the story of retrieving wealth from a dragon isn’t really all that involving. But there is a lot to like, I think – the beautiful cinematography of New Zealand as Middle Earth, the Howard Shore score, the chap that plays Bilbo. That makes it worth the price of admission and a large popcorn and soda for me.

And even after spending three hours at this movie, I’ll still be able to remember the country is falling apart.

Matt on December 14, 2013 at 3:34 pm

The dill weeds in Hollywood don’t even know what a real Hobbit is. For starters, they are no more than 6″ tall and they typically live at the base of a tree which they have hollowed out. The have it all comfy in their for the winter with little fireplaces, rocking chair, and warm little beds.

I did like the stories of the original Hobbits but these new ones are mote annoying than anything else.

dogpile on December 14, 2013 at 4:21 pm

The book is very good and never slows down at all. Yet the first movie took a long time to get along and made changes to the story (adding Saruman, Lady Galadriel, and Elrond) in so many ways. While there are female elves (as shown in Lord of the Rings) none are in this book. The book was about a couple of things. The finding of the One Ring by Bilbo (though he did not know it at the time), the Dwarves trying to take back their old home from a very vicious dragon, the growing evil in Mirkwood (tied in with the Necromancer/Sauron), and defeating a large force of goblin,orcs and other nasties by uniting to stop them. It set the tone with what came later in Lord of the Rings. Only very good movies can chance 3 hours (like The Godfather) and make it. One understands why they split Lord of The Rings (they are three separate books) into three movies. The Hobbit is a short book and could be told in either a miniseries or one three hour movie, not three. Sounds to me like they are trying to squeeze out every last possible bit of coin from people. Save your self the trouble and read the book.

Mark Taylor on December 14, 2013 at 7:23 pm

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.
You can’t put an Anglo-Saxon epic on film! It’s hard enough to get them on paper. Tolkien based his stories on tales from Anglo-Saxon oral histories. Can’t be filmed.

Michelle on December 14, 2013 at 7:32 pm

    “You can’t put an Anglo-Saxon epic on film!”

    I’m assuredly not well-read enough to know what Anglo classics there are that have been put to film, but “Game Of Thrones” is pretty impressive to put it mildly. Also, “Braveheart”, although following Mel Gibson’s formula to a tee, was pretty good. Actually, Mel Gibson’s formula (revenge plots) is pretty good because revenge is always fun to watch.

    DS_ROCKS! on December 15, 2013 at 3:52 am

Whew!!! Characters with names like Dildo, necrophilia, people practicing all kinds of bad Habbits, sounds like a great world, LOL!!!

Alfredo from Puerto Rico on December 14, 2013 at 7:45 pm

WOW – a whole film about KIM!!!”

Nick Fury on December 15, 2013 at 4:14 am

The Hobbit is a comparatively simple novel for kids. No way could it sustain two looong movies. Good grief, it’s shorter than any of the three Lord of the Rings books.

I’m surprised that anyone who cared about the Rings books could have made these Hobbity movies. I saw the first one on a flight recently. Boring is right–and not charming.

skzion on December 15, 2013 at 7:43 pm

love Debbie

but girls should not review this movie

shaun on December 19, 2013 at 3:30 pm

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