However much you liked the first Hobbit film, you will probably like THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG a little bit more. If the first movie did it, the second does it more, and with a bit more payoff. Unfortunately, if the first movie did something poorly, it did more of that too.
Among the film positive qualities: generally excellent acting, phenomenal cinematography, fun fight choreography, Smaug’s design and animation, and realizing that Legolas is basically the elven equivalent of a racist redneck jerk.
Sadly as THE HOBBIT tries to out-epic LORD OF THE RINGS, it continually fails to capture the heart of its predecessor. Conflicts are forced and drawn out ad nauseam to justify the trilogy’s bloated run time. Additional characters are introduced to compete for the role of protagonist as each story thread distracts from Bilbo’s primary conflict. The film also has the most awkward stopping point of either trilogy, with action basically going non-stop until suddenly credits start rolling with no real resolution to the conflict at hand. (I half expected a notice to insert the next blu-ray to continue the film.)
But then again, you probably already know if you’re going to enjoy this film or not. If you think you’ll enjoy it you definitely will. If you think it’s probably a bloated mess that you should save your time and money on… well it’s that too.
3D Recommendation: Meh. Not distracting but seldom used to positive effect, with numerous technical issues despite being filmed in native stereo.