‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’ – SR Underground Ep. 122

Published 1 year ago by , Updated December 17th, 2013 at 6:43 am,

sr underground 122 the hobbit dsolation smaug 570x294 The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – SR Underground Ep. 122

The Screen Rant editorial team is back with episode one-hundred twenty-two of the Screen Rant Underground podcast.

Join host Ben Kendrick, fellow SR editors Rob Keyes and Anthony Ocasio, as well as guest Hannah Shaw-Williams, as we review The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, discuss the recently announced Venom and Sinister Six spinoff movies, as well as offer our thoughts on trailers for the Godzilla remake and Sherlock season 3.

Screen Rant Underground is available on the iTunes Music Store or Stitcher Radio but if you’re not near your home computer, check out our latest episode in the player below.

Also, Screen Rant Underground is an EXPLICIT podcast. We don’t go out of our way to say controversial things or use explicit language but it does happen – so use discretion when playing the podcast at work and around young, or sensitive, ears.


Screen Rant Underground: Episode 122 - ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’ – SR Underground Ep. 122

We review The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, discuss the recently announced Venom and Sinister Six spinoff movies, Terminator reboot casting, as well as offer our thoughts on trailers for Godzilla and Sherlock season 3.

[0:00] News: ‘Amazing Spider-Man’ Spinoff Movies ‘Venom’ & ‘Sinister Six’ Officially Announced‘Terminator’ Reboot Finds Its Sarah Connor in ‘Game of Thrones’ Actress Emilia Clarke‘Godzilla’ Teaser Trailer: Descent Into Monster City, and ‘Sherlock’ Interactive Trailer Reveals Clips & Plot from Season 3.

[1:11:07] Rants and Raves: Prisoners, Arrow, Derren Brown: The Great Art Robbery, Saving Mr. Banks, and Frozen.

[1:39:26] Review: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (read our full written Desolation of Smaug review).

[1:59:10]  SPOILERS: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (join our Desolation of Smaug spoilers discussion).

[2:20:04] Twitter Handles and Contact Information.

[2:21:36] Game Rant News Brief

Hosts: Ben Kendrick, Rob Keyes, and Anthony Ocasio.



Next Week: Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues

Last Week’s Official Box Office Battle Reader Winner (The Desolation of Smaug opening): Sal reports that not many expected the resurgence of Frozen back to the top and the drop off of Best Man Holiday. That is, everyone except one man: ParrJr. His score was 13 and we have been graced by his superiority.

Opening in theaters this week (Wide):

  • Anchorman: The Legend Continues (on Wed.) - 3,400
  • Walking with Dinosaurs - 3,200
  • American Hustle - 2,500
  • Saving Mr. Banks - 2,200
  • Inside Llewyn Davis – Unspecified Expansion

Opening this Week in Theaters (Limited):

  • Her (2013) (on Wed.) - 6

Use the comment section below to continue our various discussions by weighing in with your own thoughts – or just to let us know what you think of the show.

Also, don’t forget to vote in our weekly Screen Rant Underground poll:


[poll id="730"]


We release one episode a week every Monday and while host Ben Kendrick as well as Rob Keyes, Anthony Ocasio, and Kofi Outlaw are standard fare on the podcast, we’ve lined-up plenty of guests for future episodes.

Subscribe to the Screen Rant Underground at your online digital store of choice:

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If you don’t use iTunes or Stitcher Radio you can still say up to date with new releases by bookmarking the Underground RSS feed – or keep an eye on the site for future Underground episode posts.


Follow 3/4 of the Screen Rant Underground team @benkendrick, @rob_keyes, and @anthonyocasio. Also, feel free to contact us with questions, comments, and other insights at underground@screenrant.com, by adding #SRUnderground to your tweets, or leave a message on the SR Underground voicemail line at (323) 522-5455.

Music by Omarie B. Williams (@OmarieWilliams)

Guest: Hannah Shaw-Williams (@HSW3K)

Make sure to check out ScreenRant.com and GameRant.com for entertainment news, reviews, and editorials.

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  1. it says on your page that the hobbit discussion starts at 1:30:26, but it doesn’t start until about 1:39:15….thx for putting this up Ben!

    • Cheers! Thanks, I’ll get that updated.

    • That’s a great name. Wazowski!

  2. Running it a little late this week, eh Ben ;)

  3. So tired, will save & listen tomorrow.

  4. I’m surprised you guys didn’t mention the performances of Lee Pace and Luke Evans…I thought they had the best contributions to the film next to Cumberbatch’s voice

  5. The fact that some of them actually think The Hobbit is actually better than LOTR completely discredits their ability to review movies.

    DoS was actually worse than UJ. Peter Jackson has lost the plot and fallen in love with CGI instead. While I still love being in the Tolkein cinematic world, it has come at the expense of coherent narrative and compelling characters.

    The desolation of Peter Jackson over Tolkein’s work is the saddest part of this movie.

    • SO CRAZY.

      But no, it doesn’t discredit the other guys’ ability to review movies. Reviewing is subjective, right?

      Just pay attention to my podcast reviews ;)

    • “The desolation of Peter Jackson over Tolkein’s work is the saddest part of this movie.”

      Where can I get the t-shirt? ;-)

      Love it!

  6. The father of Gimli is called Gloin, not “either Dwalin or Balin”. He’s even mentioned in Fellowship of the Ring. ;) Gloin’s the red-headed one who financed the dwarves’ journey.

    When An Unexpected Journey came out, it took me less than a day to figure out which dwarf is which (the internet helps, seriously, it only takes a few minutes to identify dwarves, plus there were PJ’s production diaries before the release). It’s easy peasy now and I know all of their characteristics and little quirks, but then again, I’m deep into fandom and a Tolkien fan, not a general sort of movie-goer. I understand how the average movie-goer would have trouble putting a name to each dwarf but it isn’t THAT difficult.

    • Yeah, it was Gimli crying over Balin’s tomb in LotR that threw me off. ;-)

  7. Now to be completely frank;

    While I can understand where Ben, Hannah and Anthony are coming from on their various takes on the film, some of Rob’s mind-numbing tirades on the podcast is an complete torture to sit through; he whines about the CGI to the point of insanity (which I kinda agree on but this is flogging a dead horse), he completely ignores the character development, and he misinterpreted the Dwarves to the Nth degree (who don’t actually hate each other), especially Thorin who’s a classic example of a Byronic hero; he’s obsessed with reclaiming Erebor to the point of him losing sight of his friends and family, its a classic antihero’s arc that the movie illustrates. I’m sorry, but I feel he just totally misses the point!!

    P.S. Rob, !SPOILER ALERT! Smaug is not going to live long enough to fry the Dwarves for you!!

    • Nah, what you heard was my honest reaction to the film and the very positive review we gave of it.

      I’m going to keep being honest in that way though. That sucks about the dragon and Dwarves. I was hoping that since they’re not really following everything in the books, he’d eat everyone and die of gold poisoning after.

      • I haven’t listened to the podcast, but if you were complaining about that final scene of the dwarves messing with Smaug I’m right there with you. That scene was completely ridiculous.

      • None of the reactions to the movie make sense. It’s defended by people saying “The hobbit is more silly, so don’t expect it to have the same tone!” Then those same people turn around and say “Oh course he had to make big changes, the tone needs to match the other movies!”

        As a result, the movie is bloated, Jackson prefers suspense over character moments (I laughed out loud in the theater when Bilbo drops the key in front of Durin’s Gate), and the massive action set pieces are out of place and steal time from what could have been good character building moments at Beorn’s house, or more exploration of the Elves in Mirkwood.

        Thanks for keeping them honest, Rob.

        • It pains me to say it, but the CG overload – from action to simple sets – has me baffled. I don’t know if Peter Jackson was given less money (which doesn’t make sense given LOTR’s success), or he was simply allowed to do whatever he wanted a la George Lucas, and that result is a slapstick-fest that is just action for action’s sake.

      • I was so glad that at least someone on the podcast had the same opinion as I did. Hobbit tries to make its journey epic – slow-motion shots with “epic” music in the background every time there is a shot of Erebor, or when people talk about the “prophecy” in the Laketown, while in the next shot you get 100 stormtroopers who completely ruin it and all I can think of it is how goofy it all looks. They know it’s a children’s book, we know it’s a children’s book, yet because of the 3-movie deal they are trying to sell it to you as something bigger than it is.

        Most of the goblins(CGI) look worse than the real ones from LotR, set pieces don’t match the intended look of the movie at all – Gandalf exploring Dol Guldur looks ridiculous, also, Legolas and Tauriel could easily get the ring from the Shire, throughout Mordor to Mount Doom without any losses. Terrible.

        Somehow LotR still(with less and worse CGI) looks better, its world is believable, action isn’t over the top, Hobbit is the complete opposite.

  8. Box office battle
    1 the hobbit 2
    2. Anchorman the legend continues
    3 american hustle
    4. Saving mr banks
    5 frozen
    10. Delivery man

  9. Agh, Rob you’re killing me with this Elementary>Sherlock blasphemy ;)

    • $100 says you’ve not watched all of both :p

      • All of Sherlock yes, one episode of Elementary no. lol

        • I haven’t been able to find Sherlock but Elementary is really well thought out. It looks corny from the outside in but when you watch it, the show is one long character development arc

        • That means you are highly biased and your (ignorant) opinion on the Sherlock vs. Elementary debate is absolutely useless. No offense. ;)

      • Guy ritchie Sherlock Holmes>Sherlock and Elementary

  10. Venom vs Carnage would be incredible!

  11. I really enjoy the Hobbit movies. I totally agree that they are nowhere near the quality of any of the Lord of the Rings movies but comparing the Hobbit to the horrendous Star Wars prequels just makes me cringe. The only point of that I agree is like the Star Wars prequels, the Hobbit does use a lot of cgi. The barrel sequence was awesome, but Legolas doing silly sh*t like hopping on dwarves heads and being a superhero, you should not complain about that. Legolas did many over the top cartoony things the Lotr trilogy. Running on a chain and hopping on a trolls head. That weird move he did to get on the horse before the warg sequence. And obviously the scene where he takes out the olyphaunt. Many of the issues people are complaining about the Hobbit for, Lotr has in spades, just saying.

    • While i didnt love the move and you know that, the Barrel Scene was the best scene ive seen in a movie all year. It was rediculous and silly and I was eating it up. When the fat dwarf was bouncing around knocking orcs out left and right I loved it.

      • It was funny, which would be fine if the movie wasn’t then jumpcutting to Gandalf and basically the darkest most serious stuff ever. Plus, that fight scene in Moria is a perfect example of how action can be easy to follow, entertaining, and *filmed* and still be incredible.

        Legolas ran up a chain in seconds, then fired an arrow and leapt off. If running up the chain had turned into a minute long sequence of CGI versions of him him leaping across CGI chains, I would have said it didn’t fit the first time I saw it.

  12. I’m on the side of thinking they’re crazy for saying Desolation is better than Two Towers.

    I bet you Tolkien fans wish your old boy Outlaw was on this week!

    • This podcast definitely could have benefited from your wisdom Kofi. I’m assuming you enjoyed Desolation more than Unexpected Journey.

    • Lol, who said that? Ben?

    • Who said that Desolation of Smaug was better than Two Towers? I don’t remember anyone saying that.

  13. I watched the first five episodes of elementary and thought it was just too procedural.

    • I think Rob said something about having to get to episode 9 or 11 before it gets good.

      • Maybe i’ll give it another shot if that’s the case.

  14. Ok we’ll this weeks boxoffice battle will be a little tricky.

    1 hobbit
    2 anchorman
    3 American hustle
    4 walk with Dino
    5 saving mr banks
    10 the book thief

  15. Yeah Elementary isn’t good.

  16. Godzilla will be so awesome.
    I hope he just treats humans as insignificant and brushes them off and we have to learn to adapt to him and learn how to lead him around by use of sounds and food, which we’ll use to summon him to fight other threats.
    eventually him becoming somewhat trained and protective of us.

    The only things I liked about the hobbit 2 were the spiders, elves, bilbo, bard and smaug, none of which needed to be in a three hour film.
    The dwarves suck again and get captured again making it a total of 4-5 times.
    All the gandalf stuff was needless filler.
    I hope when all 3 films come out Guillermo del Toro will make a directors cut cause god knows Jackson wont cut a thing.

  17. *Entire comment SPOILERS Warning*

    On the Desolation of Smaug, I agreed with a lot of points that everyone was saying. I did enjoy the movie, as I did with the first one, but I did have some hang-ups about them as well. Some of my thoughts on some stuff:

    1. Tauriel – I love that they introduced her. As someone who’s read the book, there is not a single female character in the entire book. I think Bilbo mentions his mom in the narrative but only in passing. Evangeline Lilly fits the female warrior-elf role and of course is easy on the eyes. My only problem with it was the Fili (or Kili?) affection-love thing. What? Why? Huh? Are they trying to mirror Gimli/Galadriel? Then the scene with her healing him, and he looks up at her. Are they trying to mirror the Frodo/Arwen scene in FOTR? If so, how come it felt so… awkward? I was cringing at that part :(
    2. CGI – Yes I think they went a bit overboard on this. In this one it seemed like EVERYTHING was CGI. If they were doing this in the LOTR production I think they would’ve used more of their ‘big miniatures’, at least for the shots of landmarks like the laketown, lonely mountain, Elf-kingdom, etc. Maybe they did and it just sucks this time around. There was one scene that really irked me, When Legolas is leaving Laketown, he gets on his horse. As he’s riding the camera is below him and looking up at him. It was completely CGI. I’m no hollywood director, but how difficult is it to get a shot of Orlando Bloom on a horse, with that camera angle? He doesn’t even need to be riding one for real. But it was completely CGI. Completely unneccesary :(
    3. Gandalf’s journey – Although I’ve read the books, I am not a purist at heart. In fact I hate it when people say ‘the book was way better’. It kind of makes them sound snobbish and even elitist somehow. I understand that movies are inherently different when adapting them from books. But the ‘battle’ with Sauron was a bit much, for a whole giant list of reasons that I won’t rant about here.
    4. Dwarves battling Smaug – This was ok to me. I can see why they did it. If they hadn’t put that in there, and stuck purely to how it was done in the book, then everyone would complain ‘the dwarves didnt do anything in this movie’, because, really, they didn’t really do much in the book. Bilbo bails them out, then Gandalf bails them out, then Bilbo bails them out again, etc. It’s an entertaining read but they can’t really do that all the time in the movie. So at least it showed they can fight. To some extent it even made sense because this was their home (at least for the older guys), and they had used the furnaces and knew the area much better. As intelligent as Smaug was, I don’t think he bothered much studying the different rooms and pathways of the mountain. He probably spent most of his time just sleeping and staring at his treasure. But obviously if he hadn’t left for laketown, I think it’s safe to say they would’ve been dragon food fairly quickly.
    5. Smaug was amazing. As has been mentioned here before, I think a lot of people nowadays really root for the intelligent and articulate villains. It’s just more fun than some mean giant brainless monster.
    6. Ending – I was kind of hoping for the slaying of Smaug in this film. I had thought when they titled it ‘Desolation of Smaug’ that they were going for a double entendre for the title – its original meaning referring to the desolation of the area around the mountain that Smaug had created – its subtle meaning referring to the desolating of Smaug himself. So I was kind of disappointed when they left it where they did. But I guess that means the last one will just have that much more to look forward to.

    Overall I found this one more enjoyable than Unexpected Journey, but not as good as any of the original trilogy. Part of it is what I mentioned above, part of it is that they are essentially two separate stories in tone, and part of it is I guess I’m just getting older.

  18. Ant, I had no idea who Darren Brown was before this podcast.
    Just spent over an hour checking out his stuff. Ho-ly s*** recommendation of the year, thanks man!

    • Glad to hear you like it!

      My 3 Favorites:
      Piano Girl, P2
      The Gameshow

      Some of his Trick or Treat episodes get SUPER dark (like this).

      • Awesome thanks! I just finished Apocalypse, it was great! I was surprised by how emotionally involved I became. I’ll check these out when I get a chance (tis the season for last minute Christmas shopping)

  19. Venom destroying crooks sounds good, now that Arrow got its teeth pulled and rather arrests people with a wagging finger than killing them. Isn’t that what the police is for? A vigilante should go the whole nine yards and rid the world of that filth for good in order to make a real difference to the police and the failing justice system.

    Ben’s Megarnold idea sounds like that terrible Indian movie with the army of robots who turn into a snake. It’s called “Enthiran”, I believe.

    The Godzilla teaser rocked. Unfortunately they didn’t show it in front of my showing of The Desolation of Smaug. Also, the Emmerich Godzilla wasn’t a terrible film. It was just a mislabled but good “The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms” remake. I really enjoyed it for what it is without really comparing it to the previous Godzilla movies, which were absolutely terrible trash benefitting from nostalgic childhood memories anyway, to be honest.

    Yup, as good as Sherlock is, Elementary blows it out of the water with complete ease. You are missing out if you don’t watch it. “Helicopter” big time!

    Oh God! Transformers just talking? That would be even worse than Michael Bay’s Transformers 2 & 3. Autobots and Decepticons need to shut up and just fight each other. That the Decepticons actually started talking with their silly voices in Transformers 2 instead of just getting subtitled like in the first one, was one of the worst changes that they made. I’m just not nerdy enough to watch a Transformers-only movie. I need (good) human characters to make it remotely interesting for me.

    CGI unnecessarily replacing scenes that could be filmed with actors and practical effects, as the Lord of the Rings trilogy has proven, is really getting more and more of a problem. If directors at least could resist the urge to use CGI for completely silly stuff like Legolas jumping around during the barrel fight (or that Crystal Skull monkey swinging, or C-3PO getting shoved around in the droid factory etc.) we would get much better movies as a result. Just because something formerly impossible can be done with CGI it doesn’t mean that it should be done! Directors, please, before you make crazy CGI scenes that completely ruin the tone and believability of a film think hard about what their consequences for rest of the movie are and how the audience will perceive them. Hint: when people see something like that, look at each other and go “What the eff?!!” or immediately make fun of it you are doing it wrong.

    I see it now… the “Agents of S.C.R.E.E.N.R.A.N.T.” plane…

    • The transformers just talking is good is under the assumption its not a michael bay film and therefore has thoughtful dialogue.

    • The Cybertronian roundtable (epic idea!) is a throwback to a discussion we had in one of the earliest podcasts where I criticized the Transformers films for never showing the bots communicating together, hurting chemistry and leadership.

  20. 1. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
    2. Anchorman: The Legend Continues
    3. Frozen
    4. American Hustle
    5. Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas
    10. Delivery Man

  21. Ben – Did you not like the actor playing Flash Thompson or just character traits in general? If it’s the former, you basically wrote the solution in your talk:

    The bio-engineered Venom suit is created for medical purposes and an injured soldier is the first candidate for human testing. Enter a bandaged-up Flash Thompson. He undergoes treatment and comes out looking like Channing Tatum…or whichever franchise headlining actor you were thinking of.

    BAM! Character’s actor changed…just like Rhodey from Iron Man or Fandral from Thor. If you didn’t like the personality of the character, that’ll take a better writer than me, but it can be done. It is possible for an unlikeable character to follow an arc that makes them more relatable and gets the viewer emotionally involved in their story.

    I’d prefer the version of Venom being used for the military as an anti-hero story than rehashing Eddie Brock’s untold told story.

  22. The whole time you were talking about wanting to see a terminator scene with a robot made of little Arnold robots, it wasn’t Power Rangers I was thinking about but this crazy Bollywood scene. Waring though, it’s hilariously terrible. Go to 5:40 to see the robot making a human shape. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=7yBnl_krN_U#t=343