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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars “Are we there yet?”
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...
Published 6 months ago by Mr. Mice Guy

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67 of 85 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A film by people who didn't love the story
It's ok, if you like big action movies. But emotionally unsatisfying. It's beautifully filmed, the score is lovely. The acting is ok. And yet there are serious problems with this movie. It's not that easy to put my finger on what they are, but I'll have a go.

I don't mind if plot details are changed from the book. A lot is changed. That's ok. It doesn't have to...
Published 2 months ago by Bertie


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars “Are we there yet?”, 5 Jun 2014
By 
Mr. Mice Guy (London, England) - See all my reviews
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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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WHAT HAS PETER JACKSON DONE?, 22 Dec 2013
By 
The Movie Guy "Movies from A to Z" (United States) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug [DVD] [2013] (DVD)
The second installment is in the books as the dwarfs try to regain their home. In this installment we are introduced to a passionate elf named Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly) one of the bright spots of the film. I thought the spiders were more realistic. Tauriel reiterates a basic theme "Are we not part of this world?" When good people stand by, evil wins.

It was interesting to see Legolas (Orlando Bloom) in this film as it establishes his relationship with the dwarfs to create better story continuity. At the same time the continuity is lost as we never have that scene in LOTR when Legolas says to Gimli, "Hey, I met your father." Radagast (Sylvester McCoy) once again appears in the Hobbit, a wizard cut out of LOTR for "brevity." If only we could go back and film it all over.

The film ends at an awkward point. Most people I have talked to claimed this was better than the first installment with more action. I will admit I enjoyed the first feature better, and of all the 5 films released to date, I would rate this as the weakest. Still, if you are going to see the third film, you pretty much need to see this one in spite on any shortcomings. Yes, the weakest of the five, I still loved it and rated 5 stars. People who are lovers of the book, will find this tale nearly unrecognizable.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Truly songs and tales fall utterly short of your enormity, O Peter Jackson...)))", 16 Dec 2013
By 
Darth Maciek "Darth Maciek" (Darth Maciek is out there...) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug [DVD] [2013] (DVD)
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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28 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better then AUJ EE, 8 Nov 2014
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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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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth Getting For Middle Earth Fans, 4 Nov 2014
By 
H. S. Hussain - See all my reviews
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Already owning the first Hobbit in both Theatrical and Extended and loving it in Extended format, I could not resist getting this one in Extended Edition. Now for most people I would just say stick with the Theatrical because honestly the extended scenes don't really add too much to the overall story but for those of us who are massive fans of Middle Earth the extended scenes add greatly to the wider story in Middle Earth by uncovering and showing certain interesting aspects. This is worth getting if you are a massive Middle Earth/Tolkien/LOTR/Hobbit fan like me :)
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67 of 85 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A film by people who didn't love the story, 6 Oct 2014
This review is from: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug [DVD] [2013] (DVD)
It's ok, if you like big action movies. But emotionally unsatisfying. It's beautifully filmed, the score is lovely. The acting is ok. And yet there are serious problems with this movie. It's not that easy to put my finger on what they are, but I'll have a go.

I don't mind if plot details are changed from the book. A lot is changed. That's ok. It doesn't have to be the book in film. So yes, Jackson is going to put in a romance story. Can't be helped, ok I'll wear that. However, it's worth noticing what effect plot innovations have. Do they help? Is more gained or lost? This is where I think the problem lies.

There's such a lack of mystery. Where characters were fascinating and mysterious in the book, Jackson has the impulse to reveal everything about everyone. We get to hear everyone baring their soul, everyone engage in mundane conversation. Take Beorn for example. By having him tell his backstory to these strangers, he suddenly becomes - ordinary. Even the dragon loses his mojo by talking too much.

The mysterious woodland lights that lead the party off the path in Mirkwood - missing in the film. It's one of the most memorable and emotionally charged parts of the story. In fact Mirkwood in general is lacking in mystery and fear. The mysterious black stream that brings sleep - gone.

Gandalf himself was an enigma in the book. Not here: we get the inside story. He too is stripped of any mystery. In fact part of the charm of the book was its simple, linear story. We pass through interesting places and touch on issues little understood, such as the Necromancer. But they never become the story,we just keep going with the dwarves. The wider world is mysterious and fascinating because it is just barely glimpsed. Jackson constantly fills in all the side information, adds in whole plot lines from LotR to create something much more complex and explained. Subtlety is not Jackson's strong suit. Sometimes things are more interesting if you don't put them under the spotlight for close examination.

Then the lightness and humour of the book is hardly in view here. So much is dark, serious and heavy. All the funny scenes are missing. When Bilbo runs off from home without his pocket handkerchief, its a funny, exciting scene in the book. Not in the film - the music is dark and grim. The introductions to Beorn, one by one. Gone. The argument Gandalf foments between the trolls - gone. Bilbo's taunts to the spiders - gone. All this humour is excised. Jackson is not keen on humour it seems. The result is that instead of the story gradually shifting from light to dark, as in the book, here it's unvaried, dark all the way, and frankly becomes a bit wearisome.

The dragon was wonderfully created. However I thought having the dwarves choose to go in and take him on was just silly. The dragon is supposed to be utterly, paralysingly terrifying. By the end of the dwarves vs dragon fight scene, we don't feel even scared about him any more. He's no match for a handful of dwarves apparently!

Cheap heroics seem to take the place of real feeling and atmosphere again and again. It feels like pretty generic Hollywood fantasy action stuff. Oh, another extended group fight against orcs. Yawn.

Bilbo's gradual transformation into a hero takes patience and discipline to pull off. It means he has to seem a bit useless earlier on. He can only come good gradually. And this is core to the story. But Jackson can't tolerate this. So Bilbo has to be a hero from the first film. Outsmarting trolls, fighting orcs, etc. No room for a transformation!

I found it disappointing that Thorin didn't look like a dwarf.

All the orc fights before they reach the mountain have to be totally one sided, because all the dwarves have to live. So the orcs are laughably easy to knock over. The dwarves and Bilbo sail through swarms of them untouched. Orcs die left right and centre. The orcs come out as pretty pathetic.

The desolation was a bit lacking. The whole territory was sposed to be scorched and barren from the dragon. Actually it looked pretty nice in the film. Good place for a hiking trip! Pity really, given the film is CALLED the desolation of Smaug!

I could go on, but overall my feeling was, this is a film made by people who didn't love the story. The Hobbit story. They often didn't seem to notice what they were losing when they changed the plot. It seemed they didn't value it much in the first place. And so much was lost. For this viewer, the losses far outweighed the gains.
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4.0 out of 5 stars One more to go, 16 Dec 2014
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We watched this on Saturday evening, its not my favourite type of film, but at least Golum wasn't in it the evil little oik.

Can't say I am a fan, I purchased this for my partner, who for once stayed awake to watch it, makes a nice change, he slept through the previous one, I think its a bit violent, not sure it is needed, and can\t see where the story continues from the previous one.

The ending is abrupt, more like the film has broken not come to an end, its black screen and thats it, then the titles roll.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie, best pakaging., 17 Dec 2014
By 
A. Gowland (UK) - See all my reviews
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Fantastic movie, enough said. The case though,like the previous set, is so good it makes me wonder why they could not do a better job with the LOTR extended box sets back in the day, which even though they have been handled carefully, the flimsey card cases are all showing their age now. These cases for the new trilogy are so much better, thick, hard, board cases with a glossy exterior that will keep them safe and looking great for years to come even as good as steel cases if not better as they wont get dented.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars the story of the book is followed fairly closely and the additional graphics are really excellent. Frankly, 7 Dec 2014
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This review is from: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug [DVD] [2013] (DVD)
This is the second part of the film of The Hobbit which is really an introduction to the Lord of the Rings. As published it was one book. I feel that turning a single book into three full length DVDs is really pushing it - hence four stars. The Lord of the Rings is three volumes and each single volume was made into a DVD. If it had been expanded the way in which the Hoobit has been expanded it would have taken a total of nine DVDs! That said, the story of the book is followed fairly closely and the additional graphics are really excellent. Frankly, so much of what one sees on the display is CGI, I hope the graphic designers were paid a lot more than the actors! However, I really enjoyed watching it and look forward to sedeing the last DVD when it is released.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Love this film but then again I am a Hobbit ..., 18 Dec 2014
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This review is from: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug [DVD] [2013] (DVD)
Love this film but then again I am a Hobbit fan. Like the other Hobbit films it's not like the book but what films are I read the Hobbit 40 years ago when it was just one book also the Lord of the ring again just one book,but once you have read them you don't forget the story. I have colleted the other hobbit films and will buy the last when it comes out. So if you are like me a hobbit fan buy it,good entertament with box of chocs buy your side.
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