Box art for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

  The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

action & adventure, children & family

The Hobbit Bilbo Baggins continues his adventure with Gandalf and Thorin Oakenshield, encountering the vicious dragon Smaug.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

ON for kids age 11
3 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
2 out of 5
1 out of 5
Positive messages
3 out of 5
Positive role models
3 out of 5
1 out of 5
3 out of 5

Sequel bolstered by brave elves, scary dragon, big spiders.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Desolation of Smaug is the second installment in director Peter Jackson's three-part adaptation of The Hobbit. Unlike the streamlined adaptations of each of the three Lord of the Rings novels, The Hobbit is expanded beyond the source material with additional characters and story lines. While this series remains more tween-friendly than the more violent Lord of the Rings, there are still a few jump-worthy and frightening scenes, mostly dealing with the orcs, the dragon Smaug, and that most evil of beings, Sauron. Viewers with a fear of spiders may find some scenes difficult to watch. Bows are the weapons of choice, but hammers, swords, and other forged weapons are also used in the fight scenes (in addition to the dragon's built-in weapon of all-consuming fire).

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about how The Hobbit compares to The Lord of the Rings. How are the stories similar (a hobbit continues on a dangerous quest, deals with the precious ring), and how are they different? Which adventure do you prefer and why?
  • For those familiar with the book, how does this movie adaptation differ? If you haven't read the book yet, does the movie make you want to start Tolkien's classic?
  • Why do you think the filmmaker decided to insert a little bit of a romance/love triangle into the story? How about the reintroduction of Legolas?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

Top Critic Reviews

Rotten: The chaotic action, amped-up sound effects, and needlessly intricate CGI landscapes (which are less convincing than traditional sets or even the hand-drawn backdrops of Disney classics) wore me out well before the movie was over.

- Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader, Thursday, December 12, 2013

Fresh: Peter Jackson's newest installment of the Tolkien trilogy is set afire by the scorching roar of a dragon.

- Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times, Thursday, December 12, 2013

Rotten: The tale has no emotional resonance, and the thinness of the plot (only five of the book's chapters are adapted here) and the colorless depictions of the leading characters do it no favors.

- Bruce Diones, New Yorker, Monday, December 30, 2013