The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – Parent Movie Review

Posted by Paul Murray on Tuesday Jul 22, 2014 Under Parent Movie Reviews


While sitting and chatting with Gandalf the Grey, at the Inn of the Prancing Pony, Thorin Oakenshield (hopeful King of the dwarves) is given information that could change the outcome of events that will not take place for another year. These events involve 13 dwarves, Bilbo Baggins (the hobbit) and the wizard on a perilous journey to take back the city of Erebor. What makes things even worse is that the very same dragon who drove every single dwarf alive out of the city is more than likely the very same foe that they will face on this journey.

It seems as though Smaug may be working for an even greater enemy than he himself made for the dwarves in the first film. It is made quite clear to Thorin that his ultimate quest will be to defeat the dragon and to reclaim the mountain. What isn’t made clear, at that time, is all of the dangerous situations that they will have to face in order to reach their destination.

The group barely escapes a band of orcs by hiding out in the home of a shape-shifter named Beorn, they avoid becoming a nest of spiders’ next meal but only after being captured by Mirkwood’s army of wild wood elves, and they manage to escape from the elves by floating down a river in giant empty barrels while still being hunted by the very same orcs who have been chasing them since their journey first began. Their escape route out of Thranduil’s forest kingdom leads them into a rundown trading center named Lake Town where life is based on prophecies that speak of dwarves arriving to bring the town new life. Even more importantly is the piece of the prophecy that speaks of the town’s wealth being restored as a result.

The question is, can this group of dwarves be the same dwarves mentioned in the prophecy? And if they are, how will they ever defeat the bloodthirsty orcs while dealing with Smaug (the dragon) who sits waiting for them at their final destination?

Positive Elements

There is a steady theme of courage throughout the entire film that seems to begin with the most unlikely of characters, Bilbo. Bilbo rescues the group from ultimate peril on more than one occasion, but others follow suit as the movie progresses. This courage doesn’t end with Bilbo and the dwarves. In fact, a man in Lake Town named Bard risks not only his life, but the life of his family to sneak the dwarves in and help them with their mission.

Even two of the elves (Legolas and Tauriel) find themselves getting involved in more ways than they could have ever imagined. It is Tauriel, however, who takes the first step and offers their expertise to the much appreciative elves. She ends up using her healing powers to help save a dying dwarf before the movie comes to an end. Together, the two elves take on a good portion of the pursuing band of evil orcs.

While Gandalf might seem to be distracted throughout much of the movie, it is only because he is involved in the fight in ways that the group could never comprehend. You see, it seems as though the Necromancer is back and Gandalf feels that he must fight this battle alone. He does receive help from another wizard named Radagast who Gandalf forces to turn around just before he enters the castle Dol Guldur where he faces the evil within. Unfortunately, this may be a bite too big for Gandalf to chew.

Sexual Content

It is Tauriel who seems to be the center of attraction throughout the movie. While she is in love with Legolas (against the wishes of his father, Thranduil), Kili seems to have a major crush on her as well. He flirts with Tauriel after being captured by asking her if she is going to search him. He states that he could be carrying anything down his trousers at which Tauriel replies, “or nothing”. Tauriel does begin to show signs of having a crush of Kili towards the end of the movie.

Violent Content

An encounter with the giant spiders of Mirkwood proves to be quite extreme. We are even provided a detailed description of their thoughts just as they are about to eat the entire group. Their thoughts included two things in particular, fat and juicy. It is Bilbo who comes to the rescue by slicing and dicing several spiders with his trusty blade. The dwarves tare the legs off of one spider before killing it.

Even before their encounter with the spiders is their encounter with Beorn, the shapeshifter. It is the troop of orcs who suffers dearly as we see several decapitations and even more death shots by arrow. There is definitely no shortage of sword fights either.

There is one scene in particular where Thranduil, the elfen King, takes the head off of a captured orc. Even more orcs are cut open and shot with arrows during the dwarf’s escape down the river. The band of orcs don’t give up easily and follow the dwarves all the way to Lake Town where even more of them fall prey to the lethal elfen duo.

Drug and Alcohol Content

The movie begins at the Prancing Pony where nearly everyone is found drinking ale. Many are found smoking on pipes as well. The dwarves are able to escape from the elves simply because they drank too much of their home made wine and passed out. Brandy seems to be a favorite of the master of Lake Town.


There is no stronger message throughout the movie than that of the message of how good will always prevail against evil. Yes, there is plenty of evil in this second of the Hobbit movies but as with the first, it only lasts for but a moment. Keep in mind, however, that this is also a very violent movie indeed.

That being said, there are numerous differences between the book version and the movie version with this particular story. Much of the violent scenes, as well as those of a sexual nature, are nowhere to be found in the book versions. This takes nothing from the overall excitement that is just waiting to be found in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.

For those who enjoy action packed fantasy films, this one is sure to please any crowd. There is definitely no shortage whatsoever in that area. So the underlying question becomes how do parents come to a conclusion on whether or not to allow their children to sit through so much in the area of slaughtered orcs? Unfortunately, that is a question that will need to be answered by each parent individually.


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Southern Outdoor Cinema

About Paul B. Murray
Paul is founder of Southern Outdoor Cinema, an outdoor cinema event production company based in Atlanta and a dad to 2 pre-teen girls. When he is is not traveling to create outdoor movie nights for communities, he is spending time playing board games, reading books and of course watching movies with his girls.

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Movie Characters Come To Life At Drive-In Theater

Posted by Paul Murray on Tuesday Jul 22, 2014 Under Event Productions

Wizard of Oz Outdoor Movie Event

In Atlanta there is a Playhouse Theater that hosts popular plays in an outdoor setting rather than inside an arena or theater. The outdoor feel is more comfortable than sitting in a theater chair for hours and the setting unusual allowing for a unique experience. For one night the theater turned their establishment into a drive-In theater where people were allowed to watch the movie The Wizard of Oz from their cars, picnic placements and lawn chairs.

The One Night Event
The Playhouse company produced the outdoor movie event showed the classic film on a modern portable inflatable outdoor cinema system in an open field complete with FM transmitter. Actor look-a-likes playing the characters from the play / movie entertained the crowd before the feature film was presented.

New Technology Puts A Twist On A Classic
As times have changed the story of The Wizard of Oz has been kept the same if not altered just a little bit. The event and play had a more modern look of the character which allowed them to be easily compared to real life humans rather than big huge costumes from the old play settings. Instead of having to build a huge permanent drive-in setup they used a more modern approach with a portable inflatable movie screen. An event of this caliber recreated the nostalgia of the drive-in theater experience of the 50s and 60s.

One Of A Kind Experience
The Playhouse hosting the event truly created a one-of-a-kind experience. Mixing live action pre-movie entertainment straight out of the film with a high-end outdoor cinema drive-in experience. We’re sure the Oz under the stars movie experience will be talked about for a while.

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Southern Outdoor Cinema, LLC


About Southern Outdoor Cinema

Southern Outdoor Cinema, LLC, is the LARGEST producer of high quality outdoor movie events in the United States for movie studios, film festivals, marketing agencies, Fortune 500 Companies, schools and cities. Southern Outdoor Cinema produces extraordinary outdoor movie experiences with big screens and bright and colorful images so that your audience members feel like they are at a real Hollywood film premiere. Contact Southern Outdoor Cinema to receive a free consultation for your next outdoor movie event.

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‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay’ Filming in Georgia

Posted by Paul Murray on Thursday Jul 17, 2014 Under Georgia Film Industry

Filmed In Georgia: Hunger Games Mockingjay

The third installment of ‘The Hunger Games’ series, ‘Mockingjay’, is currently filming in Georgia. ‘The Hunger Games’ is a best-selling, science fiction book trilogy from author, Suzanne Collins. The trilogy’s first two books, ‘The Hunger Games’ and ‘Catching Fire’ have already been adapted into films and have dominated the box office world wide. The third book, ‘Mockingjay’ will be spilt into two films. Much of part one and two of the film are filming back to back in parts of Georgia.

One of the filming locations for ‘Mockingjay’ is in Newnan, Georgia. The film’s crew has set up shop at Caldwell Tanks in downtown Newnan. Caldwell Tanks is a manufacturer of water tanks, industrial-field erected tanks, and concrete storage structures. Inside one of Caldwell Tanks’ large industrial buildings, production crews spent weeks building a coliseum set. The cast and crew trailers have also gone up inside the facility. Security and police have been seen lined all around the property and the set has been closed to the public. Newnan has also recently been the filming grounds for AMC’s hit show, “The Walking Dead”.

Over in Atlanta, the Marriott Marquis Hotel is playing host to the set of ‘Mockingjay’ as well. The Marriott Marquis is located at 265 Peachtree Center Avenue in downtown Atlanta. Pictures of the set going up at the hotel began surfacing online back in December. Rumors around the internet say that the hotel is being used to represent parts of the totalitarian government, the Capital, that is portrayed in the books and in the films. The second film in the series, ‘Catching Fire’, also filmed scenes at the Marriott Marquis in 2012.

There have been a few other Georgia filming locations for ‘Mockingjay’ including, the Pullman Yard industrial facility in the Kirkwood area and Sweetwater Creek State Park outside of Atlanta, rural Dawsonville, and Carlton Farms in Rockmart, which is known for its seasonal corn mazes.

Due to its advantageous tax breaks, Georgia has become a choice location for filming both movies and television shows. With the blockbuster ‘Catching Fire’ and now its sequel, ‘Mockingjay’ (parts one and two) filming in Georgia, the attraction to filming in Georgia is only expected going to grow.

‘Mockingjay’ stars Oscar winning actress Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, and Liam Hemsworth. Part one of the film is set to be released on November 21, 2014 and part two is scheduled to be released on November 20, 2015.


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Southern Outdoor Cinema

Southern Outdoor Cinema of Atlanta, creates extraordinary outdoor movie events that captures all the senses of their client’s audience while recreating the nostalgic feeling of a close knit community gathering. For a free event consultation contact Southern Outdoor Cinema at

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Pets Watch Outdoor Movies Too

Posted by Paul Murray on Wednesday Jul 16, 2014 Under Event Productions

Pets watch outdoor movies too
What makes watching movies outdoors on large inflatable screens a unique experience is that you can have the whole family on a blanket together, but don’t leave the family pet behind. We often include our pets in so much of our everyday life that they begin to feel like they are an actual member of the family. So why would we leave them at home?

Why Bring Your Pet to an Outdoor Movie Event?
Outdoor movies on large inflatable screens are ideal for families. They are shown in relaxing and fun settings such as fund raisers, in parks, at festivals, and many other unique settings. Children especially love the novelty of watching a movie under the stars, so why not bring along the pets too.

Nothing helps us relax better than having our favorite pet cuddle in our laps. There is no reason why they can’t cozy up in a lawn chair or on a blanket with you while watching the main feature. You’ll also get some terrific pictures as they socialize with others and later on settle in with the kids.

Most pets, especially dogs can become restless when left home alone too much. Just like humans, most pets need stimulation to keep them well behaved and happy. During the work day they are pretty much stuck being left behind, but they are more than welcome at outdoor movies.

How Pets Help Their Humans
The more time we spend with our pets, the healthier we can become. Pets of all types are beneficial. Everything from birds and hamsters to dogs and cats can provide the following benefits.

• They Help Us Relax
• They Can Reduce Blood Pressure
• They Are Therapeutic
• They Improve Relationships
• Pets Enhance One’s Mood
• Their Companionship Overcomes Depression

If our pets can do all this, why wouldn’t we include them in events that also help with these common situations?

What Types of Pets Enjoy Outdoor Movies?
Of course our furriest family members such as dogs and cats would love the opportunity to go to an outdoor movie with their favorite humans, but these events can be terrific for a wide range of family pets.

Pets enjoy outdoor movie event

At a recent event in Florida, we spotted a family watching a movie with their parrot. He was perched on the back of his owner’s lawn chair, and he seemed to be enjoying everything just as much as she was. He was quite content to sit and look around at all that was happening.

We’ve also seen some pretty unusual pets showing up at outdoor movies lately. We’ve seen an iguana and even a pet monkey who were quite happy to be included.

As long as your family pet is well behaved and the outdoor movie is being held in an area where pets are allowed, there is no reason why they can’t enjoy an evening out with their family. Pack their favorite snacks right along with the ones you bring for you and the kids, and they’ll be thrilled that you remembered to include them.

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Southern Outdoor Cinema, LLC
About Southern Outdoor Cinema
Southern Outdoor Cinema, LLC, is the LARGEST producer of high quality outdoor movie events in the United States for movie studios, film festivals, marketing agencies, Fortune 500 Companies, schools and cities. Southern Outdoor Cinema produces extraordinary outdoor movie experiences with big screens and bright and colorful images so that your audience members feel like they are at a real Hollywood film premiere. Looking to host an outdoor movie event? Contact Southern Outdoor Cinema of Atlanta to receive a free consultation for your next special event.

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Walking With Dinosaurs – Parent Movie Review

Posted by Paul Murray on Tuesday Jul 15, 2014 Under Parent Movie Reviews


There was a time when being big had a completely different meaning than it has today. It was a time when you could be as big as a house and still not be big enough. The time period that we are speaking of is the Cretaceous period and for young Patchi, it was a pretty scary time.

Being a giant Pachyrhinosaurus would be a relief for most dinosaurs but for Patchi, knowing that there is a bigger, and scarier, Gorgosaurus around is reason enough to remain concerned. It isn’t so much their size as it is their razor sharp teeth, and their need to eat meat, that scares Patchi the most. This is what keeps him on his toes through much of his existence on this earth.

You see, young Patchi was forced to go through a very traumatic experience when he witnessed his father’s death while defending himself against the attach of a Gorgosaurus one day. At the time, his father was the biggest, and toughest, Pachyrhinosaurus alive but that didn’t seem to help him one bit. Luckily for Patchi and his brother Scowler, they were able of find another herd to join in no time at all. This was extremely important if they were to have a place to safely grow up into full sized Pachyrhinosaurus’ over time.

As time passes, it is Scowler who ends up growing into the biggest in the herd and he fights for the role of leader of the pack, and wins. Patchi, on the other hand, is completely satisfied with simply blending in with the rest of the pack and staying alive. He has no problem with following orders if that is what it takes to make it from one day to the next unharmed.

What Scowler doesn’t realize is that it takes much more than being the biggest in the pack to be the leader of the pack. A leader needs to be able to think on his toes while being able to plan ahead when necessary. A leader needs to be able to remain calm, cool and collected even when under serious pressure. And a leader must be the bravest, and the smartest, in the pack at all times. Unfortunately for Scowler, it is Patchi who seems to have the ability to be all of these when a situation calls for it.

Positive Elements

Sacrifice seems to be an ongoing theme throughout much of this movie. It begins with Patchi’s mother, who gives her life while fighting for her children and continues on to his father, who ends up going right through a tree that has fallen, and is on fire, just to defend his children against a dangerous enemy.

Another ongoing theme throughout the movie is one of the important features of a leader. This theme connects directly to that of the theme of sacrifice simply because a true leader should be willing to sacrifice himself for the rest of the pack. Patchi seems to exhibit all of the features required of a true leader. He even stays behind to help, and guide, an injured Juniper to safety.

Much of what Patchi is becoming as he grows up is a result of a combination of a couple of things. The first is that his father was a very good example of what it means to be a strong leader and the second is that he was encouraged by a friend, (and bird) named Alex, to follow his father’s very positive lead. Patchi ends up following both the advice, and the leadership, turning into the splitting image of his amazing father and risking death to save his brother one day.

Sexual Elements

Patchi has a crush on Juniper and they share a moment where a song by Barry White is playing in the background. The words say something to the fact that I’m going to love you just a little bit more.

Violent Elements

Despite the fact that this is a really cute movie, it is a movie right out of a land filled with dinosaurs. This is why you can expect to see quite a bit of head-to-head intense moments. Even the scene that leads to Patchi and Scowler losing their parents is one that could be a bit much for the much younger audience. It involves a forest fire, an attack that leads to death, and two young dinosaurs becoming instant orphans as a result.

Patchi has a bad experience as a baby. His head frill is punctured when he is picked up by another dinosaur. Several dinosaurs drown when Scowler accidentally leads the entire herd onto a lake that has not frozen completely, and they fall through the weak ice. Tiny crabs are eaten alive. Patchi is thumped on the head with a tree, by his brother, during a brotherly fight one day. Patchi and Scowler are attacked by a vicious carnivore who has a tendency to munch on its victims.


Walking With Dinosaurs puts a very creative twist on just how we introduce our children to the land of dinosaurs. It is definitely much more than your typical documentary about nature but it isn’t quite your typical dinosaur cartoon either. It comfortably sits somewhere right between the two and keeps you comfortably interested throughout the film.

Even with all of the headbutting intensity, there is much to be learned from this simply goofy film. It is interesting how new dinosaurs are introduced into the movie in a way that teaches those watching the movie just a little about that particular type of dinosaur. This is where the educational element comes into play. The goofy element will become very evident, very quick.

Walking With Dinosaurs is an all around nice way to introduce children to the amazing world of dinosaurs, in a way that will hopefully keep them interested enough to stick around until the very end. However, the numerous scenes involving attacks and fights between dinosaurs will leave parents to decide for themselves whether or not their children should view this movie at all.


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Southern Outdoor Cinema

About Paul B. Murray
Paul is founder of Southern Outdoor Cinema, an outdoor cinema event production company based in Atlanta and a dad to 2 pre-teen girls. When he is is not traveling to create outdoor movie nights for communities, he is spending time playing board games, reading books and of course watching movies with his girls.

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