Are audiences ready for yet another trip to Middle-Earth? That's the key question for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, the upcoming sequel to The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, which hit theaters less than a year ago. Though the first Hobbit film grossed over a billion dollars worldwide, it faced a relatively tepid reception from critics, earning just 65 percent positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes — a far cry from the three films in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, which all scored in the mid-90s.
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug picks up where An Unexpected Journey left off, as Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf the Grey, and a host of dwarves march toward the hideaway of the fire-breathing dragon Smaug, who has stolen the dwarves' gold. In addition to the returning faces from the first Hobbit film, The Desolation of Smaug introduces several new characters — including Lost's Evangeline Lilly as an Elven warrior named Tauriel.
Will the addition of new characters — and a storyline that promises some actual forward momentum — help The Desolation of Smaug earn back some of the critical goodwill that was lost with An Unexpected Journey? We'll find out when The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug hits theaters in December.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why I'm a pro-life liberal
- 31 TV shows to watch in 2014
- He said he was leaving. She ignored him.
- If a nuclear bomb exploded in downtown Washington, what should you do?
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Why we can't stop procrastinating, according to science
- How Ukraine can fend off the Russians, in 7 simple steps
- These stunning travel photos remind us that we're all just amateurs with iPhones
- The contentious policy at the heart of Cliven Bundy's armed standoff with the government
- How conservatives learned to hate Hollywood
Subscribe to the Week