Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug is on Solid Ground

Plus, Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas wasn't screened for critics, and American Hustle and Saving Mr. Banks are Certified Fresh.

by | December 13, 2013 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got a journey through Middle-earth (The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug, starring Martin Freeman and Ian McKellen) and some yuletide shenanigans (Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas, starring Tyler Perry and Kathy Najimy). What do the critics have to say?

The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug


OK, so here’s the bad news: critics say The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug is overlong and overstuffed with characters and subplots that are likely to mean little to all but the most devoted of Tolkien fans. The good news? They also say it’s a step up from An Unexpected Journey, in that it’s better paced and more action-packed. This time, our heroes Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) and Gandalf (Ian McKellen) are on a journey to Lonely Mountain, encountering giant spiders, elves, and a human/bear hybrid as part of their mission to wrest control of a lost Dwarf kingdom from Smaug, a terrifying dragon. The pundits say the first two Hobbit movies have yet to approach the depth and sweep of the Lord of the Rings films, but Smaug mostly succeeds as both a middle chapter and a rousing fantasy adventure in its own right. (For lots more on The Desolation Of Smaug and the LOTR films, check out Hobbit Headquarters.)

Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas


A Madea Christmas, like most of Tyler Perry’s output, was not screened for critics prior to its release in theaters. When an old friend decides to pay a surprise visit to her daughter, she talks Madea (Perry) into tagging along; soon our irrepressible heroine is shaking up a small town’s Christmas carnival. Time to guess the Tomatometer!

Also opening this week in limited release:

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