Welcome back to Jezebel's Advent Calendar of Crap. As a longtime Lord of the Rings fan, I very much regret the necessity of what I'm about to do. But there is no earthly reason for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. Why, Peter Jackson? Why?
The Hobbit is a fun little story, and there's nothing wrong with the idea of making a movie. Plus, you can't beat the casting of Martin Freeman as Bilbo. But three movies? Three movies in the high-falutin' sword-and-sorcery tone of Lord of the Rings, no less? Maybe you could stretch it to two, if you really lavish a lot of time on Mirkwood, but the book isn't even 300 pages long.
And yet here we are, on the second movie. Legolas has been shoehorned in, along with a bunch of other random elves. Who invited the elves? Why are they here? It's nice to see an additional female character in the form of Kate from Lost, but if he'd wanted to jam in a bunch of elves Peter Jackson should've just made the Silmarillion.
Plus, what's with all the action? While The Hobbit sets up for the Lord of the Rings, the moods of the two are totally different. Until you get to Smaug, there's not a whole bunch of titanic battles. It's mostly a series of weird escapades and relatively minor challenges, like a Middle Earth edition of Road Rules. Despite what the Internet might lead you to believe, not everything has to be epic all the time.
Early reviews say this chapter is better executed, but I just can't manage to muster the enthusiasm. This line from the Hollywood Reporter perhaps sums the whole thing up: "For Jackson and Warner Bros., it's another movie, another billion." No big thing. Whatever.
We would be remiss, however, not to mention that something good did come from this (for Sherlock fans, at least): the sight of Benedict Cumberbatch (the voice of Smaug) pinching Martin Freeman on the bum, then flipping him the bird. That should keep us going until season three starts.