The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug: Fiery Dragon Stir-Fry

Year Released: 2013
Directed by: Peter Jackson
Starring: Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Benedict Cumberbatch
(PG-13, 161 min.)
Action and Adventure, Science Fiction and Fantasy

  “That, my lad, was a dragon.” –Balin the dwarf.

Intense combat, thrilling chases, and daring escapes fill this 161 minute long sequel to The Hobbit : An Unexpected Journey.

Bilbo Baggins, the hobbit, continues his adventure through Middle Earth with courage and strength. He’ll have to use his quick-thinking more than once in order to survive his encounter with the ever-so-terrifying Smaug the dragon, and the corruptive power of the golden ring he has hidden away in his pocket.

I recommend this film, because even though it is lengthy, the action never ceases and surprises lurk at every turn.

–Junior Critic - The Next Generation: Elizabeth

Elizabeth is 13 years old and lives in suburban Illinois. Her interests are wide and varied, with special attention to music and sports.  Elizabeth sings and plays two instruments, the guitar and bassoon.  She’s also an avid runner and loves horseback riding with a passion. 

It’s always a treat for Elizabeth to see her favorite fiction brought to the screen, watching with a critical eye the writer’s imagination mesh with the talent of the movie cast and crew.


Here’s the lowdown from some other critics, but first some tasty trivia:

How many of you knew that Smaug, that awesome fire-breathing dragon is voiced by none other than Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays Sherlock on the hit BBC television/PBS Masterpiece Theater series that has Homes deducting his way through modern London.  And Biblo Baggins is portrayed by the very same Martin Freeman, who is also Watson in the British series, which, by the way, premieres its season 3 this Sunday, January 19th.

Now for what other critics say…

“Short is suddenly sexy in this much improved second installment of the Hobbit Trilogy.  Forget Snow White’s cutesy smurf-like little ones and think about a new kind of dwarf -- jutting jawlines, noble profiles, and battle-hardened resolve all tucked into a compact package of pluck.   It’s enough to make at least one beautiful elf’s heart flutter, even if Tolkien may be turning over in his grave over the screenwriters’ unsanctioned addition of a love-struck female elf.” –Kathy Borich

“Smaug is the name of a fearsome, fire-breathing dragon who speaks the King's English better than I.”  –Dave Kaplan

“Here you have this movie that is in part about greed and it has one of the greediest gestures movie studios perpetrate: a cliff-hanger that people have to wait a year to see.”  –Lisa Kennedy

“But unlike "An Unexpected Journey," so weighed down by reverence to the source material, The Desolation of Smaug goes its own way. –Betsy Sharkey

“This billion-dollar franchise can never hope to scale the lofty heights of The Lord of the Rings…(which) carried a clear sense of grandeur and gravity, The Hobbit inevitably emanates a lighter, occasionally whimsical tone more akin to a video game.”  –Ed Gibbs

“Bilbo’s tale has become baggy, boggy, saggy and smaugy (all those gloomy greys and smothering shadows).”  –Brian Gibson

“Jackson's latest go at Tolkien's treasured "Hobbit" story gets closer to that rich alchemy of fantasy, adventure, imagination and emotion that made his Lord of the Rings trilogy such a triumph.”  –Betsy Sharkey


Film-Loving Foodie 

We turn to Elzabeth's 11 year old twin sisters for our recipe.  These two talented girls routinely prepare the family dinner once a week, cooking everything from soup to nuts, appetizers to desserts.  They both love their time in the kitchen and hope to open their own bakery one day.  Catherine and Madeline even have a name picked out for their place – Twins' Treats.

Today they have come up with a Fiery Dragon Stir-Fry, with golden chunks of pineapple suggesting the dragon’s hoard.

Fiery Dragon Stir-Fry

  • 1/3 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 pound fresh or thawed medium-size shrimp…peeled and deveined
  • 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 (16 ounces) package frozen Oriental vegetable medley
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 4 cups cooked white or brown rice

1. Drain pineapple, reserve 1/4 cup juice

2. Stir together reserved juice, 1/3 cup soy sauce, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, pepper, garlic and 1/2 cup water, set aside

3.  Combine shrimp with remaining 1 tablespoon each cornstarch and soy sauce.  Heat oil in hot wok or large skillet over high heat.  Add shrimp and stir-fry 2 minutes; remove.  Add frozen vegetables and ginger, stir-fry 4 minutes.  Pour in reserved soy sauce mixture and shrimp, cook, stirring 1 minute or until sauce boils and thickens.  Stir in pineapple chunks and heat through.  Serve over rice.

Junior Cooks- The Next Generation

"I'm Catherine and I'm 11 years old.  I love to bake and cook for my family.  I hope you enjoy this meal."

"My name is Madeline and I'm 11 years old.  I love to bake and cook.  On the weekends you will usually find me baking and I hope to do it as my dream career."