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.
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.
on 14 February 2016
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.
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)
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)
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
on 11 April 2016
One may or may not agree with this way of showing the Hobbit. This is Jackson’s take on it, and I think this is how it should be looked at. Comparing to the book, leaves, well… it is not the same (let’s put it this way). But the moment you look at as an interpretation and a beautiful story, everything goes back to happy place.
Fully loaded with goodies – extended scenes, in 2 and 3D version, commentaries, and, and, and. What more can I say – a fully loaded version with all the bells and whistles – just as it should be. As a regular+ (I like my home cinema, I enjoy the multi speaker setup and I like HD on a projector screen) user I am happy with it – I don’t mind for the nice box and gadgets. Though for a hard core collector I would suggest and even more loaded version with statues and what not to make the experience even more enjoyable. Overall – very happy with the purchase.
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
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.
on 6 October 2014
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.