The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug vs. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

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9 comments

In my opinion, The Desolation of Smaug is a vast improvement over The Unexpected Journey. It's far more thrilling and feels a lot closer to the LotR films than the first Hobbit movie. While it still has some unnecessarily lengthy action scenes and a couple of rather cheesy moments, The Desolation of Smaug also benefits from a much better pacing and superior CGI in comparison to its predecessor. If it didn't end with arguably the worst cliffhanger in movie history, I would have ranked it even higher.

I completely disagree. I loved An Unexpected Journey and I found Desolation of Smaug to be a slight let down. A lot of people have complained about the CGI in the first one, but I honestly didn't notice. In Desolation of Smaug it was pretty bad in parts. People also complain about AUJ being bloated. Once again I had no problem with it. In DOS there was so much packed in that it just felt like too much. Legolas and Tauriel are completely unnecessary as are the Orcs. I thought adding Azog into the first one actually helped the story become more interesting, but here he and his pack are completely disposable. Overall I still really liked The Desolation of Smaug, but I fell that An Unexpected Journey is much better. (Cumberbatch was fantastic as both Smaug and the Necromancer, and Smaug looked amazing)

I'm with CeeTee on this one. The pacing is better, it's darker, it's slightly funnier, the writing is better, the stakes are much higher, there's more going on and it's simply more entertaining. Still too long for its own good, the cliffhanger is both cool and disappointing at the same time and the love triangle was completely unnecessary, but at least shit hits the fan in The Desolation of Smaug while all they did in An Unexpected Journey was sitting around, eat and sing. And yeah, they were in trouble a couple of times, but that was absolutely nothing compared to what happens in the sequel. Luckily, The Desolation of Smaug gets rid of the kiddie tone of the first film and doesn't drag nearly as much.

Unexpected underwhelms. Smaug surprises. Simple as that.

Absolutely, without a doubt, the sequel. Unexpected journey was not good- a big mess of a film that was rarely entertaining. Smaug was thrilling, featured tighter editing and had greater character and world-building.

I'm with JC13 on this one. I don't understand why everyone is saying Desolation of Smaug was "a marked improvement" on An Unexpected Journey. Admittedly like it's predeccesor it coasts along for two hours going from set piece to set piece, but the set pieces in the first film seemed to flow into each other much better. Desolation of Smaug seems to adopt a "fire-and-forget" policy for a few of its set pieces (Beorn), whilst some feel like they've come from a completely different film (the Laketown sequence feels like the Vogons from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy as done by Game of Thrones) and the rest are entirely profunctory, padded out, and completely uninteresting (anything involving Legolas and Tauriel). The second film is also WAAAAYYYYYYY too liberal with its need to the reference the original LOTR trilogy; while the first film admittedly had its "nudge-nudge" moments, the opening shot of the DoS is a painfully forced copy of the Peter Jackson cameo from Fellowship of the Ring. In some ways this sets the tone for the rest of the film; it wanted to be more like LOTR so hard that there are times when it stops being The Hobbit entirely (Kili, Tauriel and the Morgul blade; the overly ponderous and entirely unsuspenseful with Sauron (spoiler alert, but if you hadn't figured it out by now, I envy your obliviousness). Again, the first film is guilty of the same crime to an extent, but it managed to strike a balance between LOTR-tone and Hobbit-tone in my opinion. The only thing which saves DoS from irrevocably plummeting into the "bad" section of my Flickchart is Smaug. Timing-wise, this is comparable to the first film in that the best bit of both films (Gollum and Smaug respectively) comes around the beginning of Act 3, at which point everything clicks into top gear. Everything from the company's arrival in Dale leading upto and including his reveal is paced beautifully, and the dragon himself is a wonderful creation; gigantic, fiersome, beautifully rendered and deliciously voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch in his second movie-saving role this year (see Star Trek). Unfortunately what follows is a fun but incredibly drawn out and ridiculously convuluted finale (incindentally, did anyone notice the similarity to the finale of Alien3; beardy/bauldy British-accented blokes running around dark underground corridors and halls trying to lead a giant fiersome beast into a molten metal mould, in a plan which, at a fundamental level, fails due to the beast escaping the initial trap?), which leads into an inevitable but horrible cliffhanger. To add insult to injury, we're played out to an Ed Sheeran song........... weak! I don't hate the film, and the stuff with the Dragon certainly saves it from being bad, but it's certainly no more than mediocre. At least the first film had a beginning, a climax, and a feeling of enthusiasm and heart to it; this one just feels like a reluctant "in hindsight we shouldn't have split this into three films, but were stuck with it now" profunctory apology in order to set us up for Smaug and the Battle of Five Armies. I have never been so disappointed with a Middle Earth franchise entry, and as of now I hold little to no hope for the final film redeeming this part of the franchise (and this is coming from someone who was initially open-minded about the prospect of splitting these films). I can say with absolutely no shame or doubt whatsoever that An Unexpected Journey wins.

The Desolation of Smaug is the total winner here.

I would pick Smaug normally...but I can't deny that smatticus above makes some pretty damn good points here.

Smaug was easily the better flick.

an unexpected journey never had any momentum while i still really like it the second one was better .

I still can't believe this is a trilogy, it would have worked so much better had it been contained in one movie. I liked The Desolation of Smaug more than An Unexpected Journey mainly because of Smaug himself. He was badass.

The Desolation of Smaug, like CeeTee said is a "vast improvement" on the tedious and drawn out Unexpected Journey. Not to say that The Hobbit 2 doesn't have its boring and bloated segments, but even less so than Unexpected Journey, and this is what makes it a much more entertaining film.

Desolation of Smaug improved on every aspect of what made the original great.

Can't lie, I don't care for either of these. But at least Smaug took itself a bit more seriously.

I love Lord of the Rings but I'm not really a fan of either of the Hobbit movies. The final act of Desolation of Smaug makes me prefer that one slightly more.

I'm with Jc 13, and Smaticus on this one. I think it would have been better if Jackson combined the first two, then go with The Battle of the five Aries. I don't get why people are crazy about the second Hobbit Movie.

The second Hobbit improved on nearly everything of the first Hobbit. Smaug>Gollum, this time.

Didn't like Laketown at all. Didn't like Legolas/Tauriel/Fili triangle. Didn't like Beorn. Didn't give a lick about any of the orcs. Didn't like Dol Goldur and the Quest to Add More Sauron. Smaug had Smaug, and more of that neato elf on a reindeer. Aside from that, there's not much here I care to see again.

^this guy right here.

^^These other guys right over...there...-ish. These Hobbit films aren't too great, though; Desolation of Smaug at least had stakes (and no singing).

Looking back on the last two films after seeing "Armies", I think all of these would be best served as a 4 hour movie. I wouldn't want to sit in the theater for this viewing, though. I don't think of "Journey" very favorably - noting the painfully long Shire dinner sequence. How long was that again? Reflecting on "Smaug" - I liked Tauriel. Maybe I like strong female elf characters that actually fight instead of scream (see Galadriel). Or, maybe I think Evangeline Lilly is a stone cold fox. Either way, I will always remember the river action sequence in the film. I've never seen anything like this in a movie. "Armies" is a pure action flick with a few good character moments thrown in. I didn't want to buy the first film after seeing it, but I think I will eventually get the bluray box set of all three after seeing the next two films. The excitement of the later two movies bring the first one up a bit - as I believe the trilogy as a whole is actually better than each movie individually. Like I said and others here have mentioned, this trilogy really feels like one film ripped apart into three.

I felt the length less with Smaug. And it's all about the dragon. I'll admit: I squirmed in my seat in the theater. I was really apprehensive around WETA and Cumberbatch's miraculous creation. Both movies are too long. The trilogy could have been good at 6 hours (whether 2 or still 3 movies); as it is, it's overstretched. But the mighty Smaug himself makes Desolation a better experience. #2 is the best third of this particular trilogy, though not really by much.

The Hobbit, without a doubt, is a flawed trilogy. But An Unexpected Journey is probably my favorite of the trilogy. It has Gollum!

The Desolation of Smaug easily.

Is there a "Neither" button?