Synopsis: The thirteen dwarfs commanded by Thorin, the burglar Bilbo Baggins and the wizard Gandalf travel to Lonely Mountain to steal the Arkenstone from the dragon Smaug to join the dwarves. During their dangerous journey, they need to fight against giant spiders and Orcs and they are captured but flee from the Elves. But Smaug is not easily deceived and flies to Lake-town to destroy the town and the dwellers.
Review: Thanks to the release of the extended edition of ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug’ I have got to revisit the world of Hobbits, Elves and Dwarfs and had a fantastic time with these much loved characters.
This extended edition features an extra 25 minutes worth of footage and the first scene added is a conversation between Gandalf and the Skinwalker about ancient tombs where his people have been buried. This scene from my point of view doesn’t really add anything to the film. Its well shot and the flashback of the tombs looks really good, but as far as story goes it only adds a bit of context to a character that we don’t really get that much time with.
Another of the extra scenes involves Bilbo’s climbing skills. In this scene the group reach a swamp which they’ve been warned by Gandalf holds some dark secrets. That doesn’t appear to stop the dwarve’s though, who encourage Bilbo to cross as he’s the lightest. I love this because it shows Bilbo being courageous without having to use the ring and you find yourself egging him own with the Dwarfs.
Also extended are the scenes that we see in Lake Town, which if you remember is where we get one of these movies truly epic fight scenes and some very funny stuff from all the actors including Stephen Fry as the leader of Lake Town. Still makes me laugh when I think of him eating testicles for breakfast.
The final scenes of this film, which also get extended somewhat are still the highlight for me.
The conversation between Bilbo and Smaug is marvelous and highlights the wonderful acting chemistry between Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman.
Really aside from highlighting some of the new footage there is little to be said about the film that hasn’t already been said. The film is a fantastic journey into middle earth and is really good given that Peter Jackson had to literally extend the storyline in Lake Town by adding some new characters and events to pad the story out.
Extras: Quite frankly you have a ton of extras here. On the films you have several audio commentaries from director, producers and actors.
But for me it is the Appendices that are a great source of fun and knowledge about the creative process behind the films. Not to mention the camaraderie on the set between all cast and crew.
The actors tell fun stories about the happenings on the set. In fact the first half of Appendices 9 focuses on Lake Town and there is much fun made of the actors that had to have real fish dumped on them as they were being smuggled into Lake Town by Bard who was played beautifully by Luke Evens.
What is also a lovely element of the extras on the extended editions of these films is the fact that pretty much every department involved in creating middle earth is featured. I found myself engrossed in learning about how they created the sets. How they managed to do the motion capture and also seeing footage of the rehearsals of some of the big stunt set pieces from the film.
The set includes 2 disks worth of extras in Appendices 9 and 10. And they are well worth watching if you are just curious or a film student wanting to peek behind the curtain.
Packaging: The packaging for the Blu Ray set is absolutely lush. You get a hard cardboard sleeve for the plastic case and it has a lovely 3D image of Smaug on its cover. I probably spent a few minutes moving the cover art around watching the subtle movements of Smaug on the cover. I’m a massive fan of packaging when its done well and on this Blu Ray set its done really well.
‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Extended Edition’ will make its long journey from middle earth to the high street stores on Monday and is well worth buying as either a Christmas present if you are getting pressies in early or as a watchable collectable to add to last years Extended Edition of the first film as well as the LOTR movies. If like myself you have those ones too.
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