The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (♦♦♦½)
"The Lord of the Silver Fountains,
The King of Carven Stone...
The King Beneath the Mountain
Shall Come into His Own!
And the Bell Shall Ring in Gladness
At the Mountain King's Return,
But All Shall Fail in Sadness
And the Lake Will Shine and Burn."
Prophecy of the House of Durin
The twelve dwarves led by Thorin, heir of the House of Durin—son of Thrain, son of Thror—, and Bilbo Baggins, have reached Mirkwood, the forest that borders the lands of the Elves of the West, for that is the shortest route to Lonely Mountain. Giant spiders have taken hold of the forest, and our entourage will have to contend with those, only to encounter not very welcoming elves when they leave it behind.
Fleeing from the elves, and with orcs hot on their trail, Thorin's party is aided by a smuggler who helps them cross the lake that follows the river, until they reach Lake-Town, where they promise riches in exchange for safe passage for the rest of their journey to Lonely Mountain. However, it remains to be seen how easy it will be for Bilbo to secure the Arkenstone—the gem that cements Thorin as heir to the House of Durin and as true King Under the Mountain—for Smaug has just awaken and he is in no mood to die quickly...Or quietly.
I rated The Desolation of Smaug three and a half stars because it feels longer than it has any right to be. Bilbo and Smaug, but mostly the latter, are the stars of this show. Smaug takes center stage, as the moody diva he is, and gives Bilbo and the dwarves a piece of his mind. And that diatribe is what takes forever to unfold. A few minutes would have sufficed for Smaug to make his point quite nicely.