'The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug' will win over Tolkien fans and newbies alike

( PG-13 ) ( Monitor Movie Guide )

'The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug' stars Martin Freeman and Ian McKellen.

Mark Pokorny/Warner Bros. Pictures/AP
'The Hobbit' stars Martin Freeman (l.) and John Callen (r.).

I’m not an aficionado of J.R.R. Tolkien’s wonderworlds and I was bored with the first “Hobbit” movie. All this is by way of saying I quite liked its sequel and the second in the trilogy, “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.” Director Peter Jackson is, as always, guilty of (literal) overkill, but there’s much more eye-catching mayhem here than in the last one, which I mostly remember as one long dwarf convention.

Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) gets to face off against one of the great movie dragons of all time and there’s a giant spider attack sequence that represents Jackson at his gross-out best. Ian McKellen, as Gandalf, shows up again, of course, though he’s spared the spiders. Most middle movies in a trilogy simply mark time. Not this one. Grade: B+ (Rated PG-13 for extended sequences of intense fantasy action violence, and frightening images.)

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

QR Code to 'The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug' will win over Tolkien fans and newbies alike
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today