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4.5 out of 5 stars
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug [DVD] [2013]
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70 of 80 people found the following review helpful
on 8 November 2014
This is a far better extended edition then an unexpected journey's one.
Firstly, the design of the box is much better. The golden writing on the front is shiny rather then plain and the detail on the front and back pictures are good. When you take off the sleeve, there are some good pictures of the map of Erebor and Bilbo, Smaug and the Arkenstone.
Secondly, the extended scenes are worth nearly 27 minutes. AUJ's extended scenes were a mere 13 minutes that did not change the story whatsoever. The best scenes are perhaps the longest. After waking up at Beorn's house, Gandalf and Bilbo introduce themselves to Beorn and the dwarves follow in paris. This is a great scene because in the theatrical cut there was too little of Beorn. The next scene i loved was of more Mirkwood. Here we see the Company crossing the bridge and Thorin trying to kill a deer. The third and probably the best scene that was new is Gandalf meeting thrain (Thorin's dad) in Dol Goldur. Some of the scenes in the theatrical cut of Dol Goldur just had Gandalf, here you have Gandalf and thrain. This is emotional particularly when the scene ends.
Thirdly, the extras are even better. Nine hours of fun film making with some scenes devoted to the Battle of the Five Armies film.
In total, this is an extended edition fit to match the first two lord of the rings extended editions.
BTW, parents dont be pertubed by the 15 rating this has been given. The film itself is a 12 as it says on the actual disc and it is one of the appendices that has a 15 on the disc.
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In the Blu-ray 3D Extended edition I have, the 3D is mostly very good and the effects are excellent, and all in glorious full HD. Smaug at the end was perhaps my favourite character out of several. But some viewers might think the original story has been padded out too much with extra detail added from some of Tolkien's other works. The extended version is worth having, as there are several bits that really should have been in the cinema release.

However, I just forgot all that and set aside a dark and rainy Sunday afternoon and evening when there was nothing on the TV and just enjoyed the action. It is amazing how many orcs etc can be hacked down by so few heroes...

There are nine hours of extras as well, far too many really; one could spend weeks trying to absorb all the info, and we've only just skated across it all, cherry picking items that seemed as if they might be interesting - and most of them actually were.

You do need to have watched Part 1 first, and then there is still the finale to come in Part 3 (this one not yet 3D).
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on 10 August 2015
The adventure continues, the dwarves have enlisted the help of their "burglar" - Bilbo Baggins
and set off to reclaim their home. Lots of adventures along the way, great visual effects, superb acting by
Ian Mckellen as Gandalf, Martin Freeman as Bilbo and Richard Armitage (North & South) and the rest of the cast.
We are introduced to Tauriel and learn how the Eye came into existance.
For me this film provided lots of answers to previous questions.
The sets, costumes, continuity were all seamless.
Smaug was depicted as he was in the book and the ending, well you'll need to watch the film for that part!

To the naysayers who criticise the film, its accuracy to the book, the length of the film, get a grip!
It's entertainment - a few hours when I can loose myself away from the realities of life and become immersed in a fantasy land full
of make-believe, dwarves, elves, orcs, good over bad, an escape back to the wonderful world of childhood adventures and fantasy.
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on 25 August 2015
So much in this needs repeat viewing. The first half of the film drags a little, and for kids would perhaps result in them losing interest after a while, however after an hour or so the special effects really make the film, and as soon as the dragon makes an appearance, then what we have is a movie that is a cut above all other movies of this genre. Gandalf of course holds the plot together, and Martin Freeman just about manages to keep to the plot, although seeming not as good as his performance in the first film perhaps. And a bit too much of Legolas, who seems too out of place, if he even belongs in this story at all. The special effects are better than the first film, but the first film is slightly better in that it keeps an even pace throughout.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
TOP 50 REVIEWERon 5 December 2014
It is a long time since I read any of Tolkien’s books, and I came to this having watched the first film, as well as the sequel Lord of the Rings trilogy. If, as with any film, you disregard the original source material and treat it on its own merits, then this is a very good sequel to the first film. The story, expanded in places, but still in keeping with the spirit of the original story, if not the fine detail – I’m sure I remember the Goblins as being less monstrous in the written version – takes us through Mirkwood, on to the Lake village, and finally into Dwarf city ‘under the mountain’. Meanwhile, Gandalf has gone off to investigate the tombs of the Nazgul, and to look into Dol Guldur, where a Shadow is walking…

This is a fast-moving adventure, despite being over two and a half hours long. I kept checking the elapsed time, just in case I was approaching a cliffhanger, only to find there was much more time to go. Note that the end credits take up ten minutes, so adjust your expectations accordingly. It really is an epic story told in an epic way.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Just as Tolkien's books set in Middle Earth defined the modern fantasy genre in literature, these wonderful epic film adaptations of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings have set the bar for fantasy films. This extended edition DVD is worth the money. If you liked the cinema version of the film, 25 minutes of extra material just enhances the pleasure. There's some good stuff added here too; the reappearance of Thorin's long lost father, which helps flesh out the backstory, a longer scene between Kili and Tauriel which means their relationship makes a little more sense, and an expanded version of the journey through Mirkwood. I felt that all of the additional material added to the overall story, and as with the Lord of the Rings extended editions I preferred this to the cinema cut. It also makes it more of a treat at first viewing - almost like watching a new film rather than one you've seen already. Yes, it does make it longer, but I don't mind that - and it's spread over two DVDs which means there's a natural break in the middle, and I usually watch it in two parts.

As well as the extended film itself, there are a wealth of extras that will keep the geek in you happy for a very long time - nine hours in fact. There is a director's commentary - which is genuinely interesting and insightful - and then lots of 'making of' features. With a filming process as lengthy and involved as the one behind this film, this can't fail to be fascinating. The lengths that the team went to in order to make this the best film they could are quite remarkable and makes you watch it again with new eyes. It also helps you spot little details you may have missed.

If you love these films and want to immerse yourselves in them, this DVD is essential. And even if you just like the film without being an ardent fan, I'd suggest buying this over the standard version, for the sake of the extended film in itself. You don't have to watch the features, and I feel the film alone is worth the money. But the features are good too.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 1 August 2015
Too much action and not enough evocation of the narrative of the hobbit.The action and endless scenes of fighting in movie become repetitive and boring with the plot and storyline being lost.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 17 January 2015
It's not Tolkiens imagination, nor Peter Jackson's skill as displayed in LOTR, but the CGI industry taking over. The film could have been shorter, left out a substantial part of the padding, yet included all that was necessary to cover the original Hobbit as well as the flashbacks and previews of the rise of the Necromancer/Sauron. Overall however, I enjoyed it and am looking forward to viewing the Appendices. As a LOTR fan it's a must.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
I liked this second part of "Hobbit" film trilogy, even if the changes made to the original story become here as large and sometimes as vicious and destructive as Smaug the Magnificent. Below, more of my impressions, with some SPOILERS, which I tried to keep to strict minimum.

First, the good stuff:

1) Visually this film is breath-taking! Mirkwood, Dol Guldur, Erebor, and of course Smaug - pure perfection. Creatures were also very well made, with the attercops (ettercaps) from Mirkwood and Bolg, son of Azog being the most impressive.

2) The excellent casting. Not one mistake, and that includes Evangeline Lilly, who did a great job even if her controversial character Tauriel shouldn't be here at all... (see below). Special acclamation for Stephen Fry as Master of Lake-town of Esgaroth

3) Acoustics and music. Flawless.

4) Certain (but not all - see below) changes and additions to the story were well done and are very welcome, even if they take really big liberties with Tolkien's lore. Amongst them my favourites are the dark tombs in high mountains of Rhudaur and the long sequence in which Gandalf finally discovers who EXACTLY is the master of the "abandoned" fortress of Dol Guldur. I also rather liked the glimpse into the background of Elvish king Thranduil, as it explains why is he such an a-hole...

5) Some of most humorous action scenes. I liked the deliberately over the top character of some of the stunts during supposedly very dramatic fights - it very pleasantly reminds of the lighter tone of "Hobbit" as compared with the much more serious, darker and violent "Lord of the Rings".

6) Some insight into Orcs minds, especially when one of them, made prisoner by Elves, is interrogated... I found this scene very good and I wouldn't mind to hear more from the Orcs to know more of their point of view about all this Middle Earth business...

There were also things which I liked less, even if they can be defended:

1. Tauriel. Peter Jackson shouldn't create her and honestly, Evangeline Lilly shouldn't have accepted this role, because adding such an important character is no more "licentia poetica", this is raping Tolkien's books by conceding to political correctness... Nowhere in Tolkien's books are there elvish female warriors - extremely powerful and influent elvish females of course existed, but they were spell-casters and charm-weavers like Galadriel or Luthien, not shield-maidens.

BUT, that being said, considering that what is done is done, I must concede that Tauriel is definitely not half-bad looking and also that the strange game she plays with Legolas and Kili is interesting to watch. She certainly is one kinky, flirtatious wench and maybe even more than that - me I wouldn't be surprised if she was in fact a cynical manipulative vixen, playing poor Kili to try to inflame Legolas feelings and therefore bed her way into royalty...

2. Master of the Lake-town. In the book he was greedy and cowardly but he was an elected leader respected for his ability. Why destroying completely this character and make him a kind of little tyrant? BUT, on another hand, that gives Stephen Fry an occasion to fully deploy his great talent...

But then there were also some things and changes which simply went too far and can NOT be forgiven:

1. Portrayal of humans and their dwellings. Both Bree and Esgaroth are really kind of disgusting, with mud, waste and dirt everywhere, as opposed to perfectly neat cities of Elves, Dwarves and Hobbits. Sapristi, even the supposedly evil fortress of Dol Guldur, infested by orcs, wargs and attercops, is not as piggishly disgusting as those two human cities! And most of people living there are ugly and wear horrible, colourless, dirty rags! This was already a little bit annoying in "Lord of the Rings", in which we saw people from Rohan and even from mighty Minas Tirith dressed as beggars in deep mourning - here that is really too much!

2. Beorn. Even if he looks impressive in both of his shapes, his character was comprehensively jarjarbinksed and for some reason Peter Jackson deprived us of one of the merriest scenes in the book (the one in which Gandalf tells Beorn the story by introducing more and more dwarves...). Let's not lose all hope however - maybe at least this scene can be somehow re-introduced in the extended version... EXTENDED EDITION UPDATE: yes, it was! There is more Beorn in Extended Edition and those are good scenes.

3. Too many useless, repetitive fights between Elves and Orcs. All those scenes could be assets rather than issues, if the Orcs were able to score at least one point from time to time - but in this film they are completely hapless sword and arrow fodder. Many dozens of Orcs appear in fights in this film and even if they always come loaded for bear and have the numbers for them all they achieve is to bring down two elves and inflict a wound on one dwarf... Then, if they are so pathetically clueless warriors, why even run away from them!? That one sided character of fights makes them finally boring...

4. SPOILER HERE! Considerable change in the whole conversation of Bilbo with Smaug and especially the stupendously idiotic Bilbo's decision to reveal himself to the dragon by taking off his ring - followed by Smaug NOT eating him... That was one SUPER BIG BLUNDER which absolutely cannot be forgiven...

CONCLUSION: this part is of a lesser quality than the first one, but still, it is a great show which I enjoyed mightily and all the good things ultimately overweighed the bad ones. I am going to buy the Extended Version DVD as soon as it is available and I will now wait impatiently to see the last part of the trilogy next year.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 1 March 2015
Boring, too much elves fighting, not much story. 'Unexpected Journey' was better. Should have made just 1 or 2 films at the most from the Hobbit, being greedy.
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