We were the first ones in the theater, so we had our choice of seats. Only about eight or ten other people ended up coming in --- all adults, too. There were twenty minutes of previews. Finally, the movie came on. You know, it's always hard to see a movie in the theater for the first time. You don't catch everything, and first impressions are often not quite true to mark. Not with The Desolation of Smaug. That was the BEST movie experience we've ever had in a theater! It is an absolutely fabulous movie. The two hours and forty-one minutes goes by so quickly that you can't believe that it's over already. No stupid scenes like there were in the first Hobbit film. No long, useless scenes that you feel like you want to fast-forward.
Thorin and Bilbo are more amazing in this second part than they were in the first. And that's saying a lot. What manly heroes --- and that is something that they needed after Lord of the Rings. Legolas is back, and he looks even more handsome now than he did originally (if that's possible). His acting and sword fighting is better, too. Fili and Kili are great (my personal favorites when it comes to the "other" dwarves), and the dwarves work very well together. Of course, you have to have a girl, so Peter Jackson and his team made a wood elf named "Tauriel". She is actually really good. She is a warrior elf, and more like you imagine Arwen (in the books) than Arwen was. Not to mention, of course, that she has the most beautiful elf ears to appear onscreen.
The dragon is a work of art. CGI art, that is. He looks perfect, and they really captured the enormity (as Bilbo says) of him and the fierceness once roused and angry. The scene where Bilbo enters the room full of gold is unforgettable.
The only person who gets a "thumbs down" would be Thranduil the Elven King. He looks fabulous, that I'll give him. Unfortunately, all he knows how to do is stand there and look impressive with a wooden face. The minute he tries to move or talk his fame is up. He's awful. Don't worry, though, because his part is rather short, and Legolas more than makes up for it.