Eventually I may go back to try to figure out why The Lord of the Rings trilogy works so well and this one doesn’t. Desolation of Smaug, like last year’s An Unexpected Journey, gets the job done well enough. I’m not mad at it. But by the time “The Two Towers” was over more than a decade ago I was fully enthralled. Not so much here.
Dir. Peter Jackson
(2012, PG-13, 169 minutes)
I was late to the Lord of the Rings party. While most critics and audiences seemed to be immediately smitten, I left the first film, The Fellowship of the Ring slightly disappointed – absorbed but not enthralled. So I was shocked by how overwhelmed I was by The Two Towers the next year, and then The Return of the King the year after that. If I consider the trilogy one long nine-hour film, I guess I’d say it just took three hours to get good.