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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 14 February 2016
PACKAGING:

The 3D version of The Hobbit: the Desolation of Smaug Extended Edition comes with a sturdy, attractive slipcover lightly textured to simulate leather and a lenticular image of Smaug. The five BD-50 discs are housed inside a black, eco-elite keepcase with a middle panel that holds two discs on either side. The 3D version occupies two separate discs, while the 2D version is on one disc. There are two blu-ray discs for Special Features: The Appendices Part 9 and Part 10.

VIDEO (2D):

The Hobbit: the Desolation of Smaug arrives on blu-ray with MPEG-4 AVC 1080p 2.40:1 encode. It was filmed entirely on a Red Epic Camera System, using the high frame rate of 48fps and thankfully, it translates well to the traditional frame rate of 24fps on blu-ray. The overall presentation is consistently detailed and razor sharp, exposing the tiniest flaw and imperfection in the clothing, armor, buildings and various weapons seen throughout. Individual hairs are distinct, and the textures of the fabric in the costumes are very well-defined and lifelike. Facial complexions are highly revealing as well, showing every wrinkle and pore in the faces of the cast. (4.5/5)

VIDEO (3D):

The Hobbit: the Desolation of Smaug 3D arrives on blu-ray with MPEG-4 MVC 1080p 2.40:1 encode. All the positive attributes in the 2D version are present. The picture is stunning and dazzling. Background activity and information pushes deep into the screen, which pull viewers into this adventure with superb dimensionality and separation, creating a wonderfully immersive viewing experience. Aside from a few minor gimmick shots, the 3D picture is all about a sense of realism. This is a reference 3D presentation. (5/5)

AUDIO:

The DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio track is reference quality. Dynamic range is astoundingly extensive and broad, exhibiting the smallest detail with superb, crystal-clear clarity. Every pop and sizzle of Smaug's fiery breadth is distinct and accurate with incredible realism, as it spreads across the entire front soundstage and moves into the back of the room. Dialogue is lucid and well-prioritized in the center. Howard Shore’s thrilling musical score gives us a complete immersive experience. (5/5)

EXTENDED EDITION:

It should be noted that decision was made shortly before release of Expected Journey to make the journey into a trilogy. As the result, most of the materials destined for the extended version of the Expected Journey were used in the Desolation of Smaug. Therefore, the extended edition of Expected Journey did not add more to the movie, but it just made the journey even longer. In the case of Desolation of Smaug, the 25 extra minutes did make the film more entertaining.

TRIVIA:

The Hobbit: the Desolation of Smaug has a respectable worldwide gross of $958 million, with 70% from overseas. Currently, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is at $724 million so far.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

As my practice in the past, I would wait until the Extended Edition before purchasing the set for the Lord of the Rings series and the Hobbit series. If you have a 3D set, the 3D version is preferred.
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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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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 13 May 2016
This is a review for the Extended Edition of "The Desolation of Smaug" in 3D (on Blu-ray). It comes in a deluxe outer-box, with a nice holographic image on it. Inside it is a plastic Blu-ray case, housing 5 discs. You get the movie in two parts in 3D; there is also the 2D version; and two bonus discs of special features (several hours in length). The extended edition of the film is 186 minutes long.

This movie is the second instalment in a three part franchise. The other two movies that comprise this trilogy are: 'An Unexpected Journey' (2012) and 'The Battle of Five Armies' (2014). These films are based on the fantasy novel by J. R. R. Tolkien (first published in 1937). They constitute a prequel to the 'Lord of the Rings' saga. That saga was made into a trilogy of films by director Peter Jackson - who returns to direct this Hobbit trilogy.

This film is set in Middle-Earth, some sixty years before the events of The Lord of the Rings. It continues the tale of Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) who, at the request of the wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen), has joined a company of thirteen Dwarves - led by Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) - on a quest to reclaim the Lonely Mountain, their former kingdom, from the dragon Smaug. This group is being pursued by the nasty Azog and his Orc party (following the events of the previous film), and so the Dwarves enter the treacherous Mirkwood Forest on their way to the mountain - only to be ensnared by giant spiders! Fortunately, the Wood-elves capture the Dwarves, and bring Thorin before their king Thranduil. Bilbo, having avoided capture, arranges an escape. But now the Dwarves are pursued by the Wood-elves and the Orc party. Eventually the company reach Laketown, and from there several Dwarves and Bilbo make their way up to the mountain ... but they awaken the mighty Smaug, who flies off to destroy Laketown.

This is a highly entertaining movie - full of adventure, thrills, suspense and humour. I've not read the novel, so I didn't know what to expect ... and I thoroughly enjoyed this film. In 3D the special effects - which are plentiful - look amazing. Having only watched this extended version, all I can say is that the narrative made complete sense - and not once did I get bored.

This film picks up exactly where the first instalment of the Hobbit trilogy ends - and, if you've not seen that movie, I think you'd feel lost. Having watched both, I eagerly awaited the final film ...

I fully recommend this movie to those who enjoy fantasy based drama.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 28 January 2015
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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on 30 October 2014
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is an epic fantasy adventure film. It is an adaption of Peter Tolkien fantasy masterpiece the hobbit series. The movie is a mammoth size, as it almost last for three hours. It requires immense patience and concentration to watch. It is a follow up from the previous installment. The first part set the tone. The second part raises the momentum of the film. There are flashbacks to previous events.

It is about Bilbo Baggins, a familar character. He starts to embark on a dangerous mission with fellow dwarfes to reclaim the lonely mountain from the dragon smaug, a sinister and mammoth size creature. There are many obstacles affecting their quest, as you are about to find out. Anything can lurk in their corner. The Gandalf the wizard is on a dangerous mission to discover sinister events. There is plenty of action, excitement and thrills featured throughout. The movie shows gruesome and fantasy violence scenes, as it is an epic battle to defeat evil. The scenes are graphical and full of bloodshed.The balance between action and depth in storyline and characters purposefully works well .The action scenes do not overhadow. The move is about a delivering a solid story.

A surreal world is recreated thanks to the amazing technology the 21st century has pioneered to promote film making to a whole new level and dimension. Peter Jackson and the crew have exploited the technology amazingly and stunningly for bringing to life a fantasy masterpiece enjoyed by millions who have read the book. New Zealand landscape is the ideal location for filming.There is no question that storyline is neglected at one point, as we learn a great deal about the key characters and groups featured.

If you enjoy a fantasy film of the highest levels in terms of depth, sophistication and characterisation, then latest installment is recommeded. It is a build of the anticipated release of the final installment. I am delighted to add the film in my growing blue ray collection.
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on 4 April 2015
I am extremely impressed with this the 2nd in the triolgy and was even more impressed as played it using a HDMI lead, instead of the scart leads I have always used up to this point, it makes the film much clearer and lightens the darker parts of the picture and makes the film much more enjoyable, I will not comment on the film as most of the other reviews cover that, but if you use scart leads change them now and see the difference, amazing the difference it makes, can not wait for the release of the final instalment Martin Freeman is great!
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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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on 26 May 2016
Myself and the children really enjoyed this. Excellent performances from Richard Armitage, Benidict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman.
Seeing Smaug ( the Daddy of all dragons) fully visualised on the big screen was well worth it and the barrel escape was great.
The Hobbit films aren't as good as the Lord of the RIngs but you have to forgive that as there was so many problems the crew had to overcome during production, planning, time, money, etc.
The overuse of CGI and un-needed extra characters ( Tauriel & Legolas ) was also dissapointing, but understandable when you have no time to bulid sets and find extra locations to film in and company exec's insisting on female character being present just for the sake of it, the politics in hollywood theses days. Anyway the film itself is a good enough attempt of an interpretation of Tolkins Hobbit and now whenever i read the book i hear Benidict Cumberbatch as Smaug Lol.
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on 19 October 2015
The BD and box itself are fine but the film is drawn out too much. It was fine making the Lord of the Rings in 3 films as that followed the books but The Hobbit shouldn't have been any longer than one film.
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In the Blu-ray 3D Extended edition I have of The Desolation of Smaug, 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 simply 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...

The blurb lists the nine hours of extras. Perhaps there are too many; 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
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