"Restoring the Kingdom Takes Courage and Compassion"
What You Need To Know:
THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG is a stirring, enthralling adventure epic. Though some of the action is repetitious, the movie maintains its passionate heart throughout. SMAUG is a terrific moral tale of courage, restoration, sacrifice, and caring for others. These moral, redemptive themes are brilliantly mixed together. However, the action violence and fight scenes are a little over the top. There are also some scary images. So, strong caution is advised, especially for teenagers and other susceptible viewers.
(BBB, CC, CapCap, Pa, FR, VV, S, N, M) Very strong moral worldview extolling courage, helping others, compassion, heroism, and loving thy neighbor, with strong Christian, redemptive elements of sacrifice, symbolic images of the Cross, and restoring a lost or fallen kingdom, plus some free market ideals that also warn about greed and flaunting one’s wealth before others and some pagan magical thinking, combining magical powers with healing herbs, and supernatural powers, but these can be placed into the Christian context of the original source material, wherein God is the ultimate source of all power but fallen creatures can misuse or corrupt that power; no foul language; strong, intense action violence with little gore but a high body count that includes ugly decapitations of scary evil creatures, stabbings, sword fighting, arrows pierce bodies and the heads of scary evil creatures, giant scary spiders are stabbed and whacked, scary spiders wrap victims in webs and want to eat them, festering wound, dwarves in barrels ride rapids while being hunted, a humanoid creature can change into a scary bear, scary giant orcs, characters imprisoned, falling, large fire-breathing dragon chases characters, etc.; no sex scenes but there is one comment about checking a male dwarf’s pants for weapons and interspecies love interest; upper male nudity of one scary orc creature, a humanoid creature; no alcohol; no smoking or drugs; and, hero hides something from his companions, dwarves appeal to humans through their greed by promising to share wealth, and hero sneaks.
THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG is the second installment of filmmaker Peter Jackson’s version of Tolkien’s children’s classic, THE HOBBIT. As with the first installment, Jackson has inserted more of the mythic tone to Tolkien’s story, which ultimately links up to Tolkien’s more adult classic, THE LORD OF THE RINGS, as well as his magnum opus, THE SILMARILLION. THE LORD OF THE RINGS continues the tale of THE HOBBIT to show the resulting war that occurred when Bilbo Baggins, the title character, found the Ring of Power crafted by the demonic Lord Sauron to control the world through witchcraft.
THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG is a stirring epic adventure about courage. It’s about having the courage and perseverance to face your greatest fears, including your greatest adversary. It’s also about having the courage and perseverance to restore a lost kingdom destroyed by greed. Finally, it’s about helping others in need, even if that puts your own life and comfort at risk. SMAUG has a lot of strong, intense action violence, however, with a high body count, so strong caution is advised. The movie also has some really scary images.
The movie opens with a short prologue about how the wizard Gandalf joined Thorin Oakenshield, heir to the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor under the Lonely Mountain. Thorin desperately wants to unite the six other dwarf kingdoms in helping him reclaim Erebor from the evil dragon Smaug, who now sits on the great treasure Thorin’s greedy grandfather had accumulated. To do that, Thorin and his 12 dwarf companions must secretly enter the Lonely Mountain and take back from Smaug the Arkenstone, an heirloom that will show the other dwarves that Thorin has the right to rule. Gandalf advises Thorin that they will need “a burglar.
Twelve months later, Bilbo Baggins, the hobbit burglar Gandalf has recruited, is traveling with the dwarves through the treacherous forest of Mirkwood. The forest is being invaded by darker forces, but Gandalf has decided to leave the party. Gandalf wants to discover who the evil sorcerer is that’s commanding these forces and the band of orcs hunting down Bilbo and the dwarves. To do that, he must travel to a ruined fortress lying on the western edge of the forest.
As Gandalf investigates, Bilbo and the dwarves are attacked by a swarm of giant evil spiders. Bilbo uses the Ring of Power he stole from Gollum to make himself invisible and free the dwarves, but they still need to be rescued by a band of Wood-elves, led by Legolas. The king of the Wood-elves, however, refuses to help the dwarves further. In fact, he imprisons them.
Still invisible, Bilbo sneaks into the king’s fortress and frees the dwarves again. At that moment, however, the band of orcs following the dwarves strike. The elf king orders his people not to help them, but Legolas and a female elf named Tauriel disobey their king. In a very exciting sequence, they help Bilbo and the dwarves fend off the orcs.
Eventually, Gandalf finds out who the evil sorcerer is but is captured. Also, the dwarves send Bilbo into the dragon’s lair under the Lonely Mountain to recover the Arkenstone. The question becomes, will Thorin and the dwarves come to Bilbo’s aid when the dragon awakes?
THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG is a stirring, enthralling adventure epic. Though some of the action is a bit repetitious, the movie maintains its passionate heart throughout its story. SMAUG is a terrific moral tale of courage, restoration, sacrifice, and caring for others. These moral, redemptive themes are brilliantly mixed together, partly by Tolkien’s original mythic vision, which is highly Catholic but also Christian, and partly by Director Peter Jackson’s cinematic storytelling vision and marvelous sense of bringing out the best in his talented cast. As always, Tolkien’s world is infinitely inspiring, and Jackson’s team manages, for the most part, to do it as much justice as they possibly can.
Although the moral themes are strong, the action violence and fight scenes are a little over the top. There is little gore, however, despite several decapitations of orcs. THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG also has some very scary images that are too intense for sensitive and susceptible viewers. So, strong caution is advised. That said, THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG has some important lessons to teach us as we try to restore the Kingdom of God in the United States and throughout the world, not only on the micro level, in our personal relationships, but also in the macro sense. It does so in a way that’s both entertaining and soul stirring.