BLU-RAY REVIEW: The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug (Extended Edition)

I know we don’t want to admit it but Christmas is fast approaching, and if like me your already struggling on what you can buy your huge Middle-Earth fan of a best friend….then check out my review of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Extended Edition Blu-Ray.

REVIEWED VERSION: 3D Blu-Ray Extended Edition
DIRECTOR: Peter Jackson
RATING: 15 (raised from 12A due to additional material requiring a higher certificate)
RUN TIME: 186 minutes (extended version includes 25 minutes of unseen footage
PRICE: £20 (Amazon)
RELEASE DATE: 3rd November 2014
CAST:
 Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Benedict Cumberbatch, Orlando Bloom, Evangeline Lilly, Cate Blanchett, Sylvester McCoy, Luke Evans, Stephen Fry, Ken Scott, Graham McTavish, William Kircher, James Nesbitt, Stephen Hunter, Dean O’Gorman, Aiden Turner, John Callen, Peter Hambleton, Jed Brophy, Mark Hadlow, Adam Brown

The adventure continues as Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf and 13 Dwarves, led by Thorin Oakenshield, journey to reclaim the Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor. As they head East, they encounter the skin-changer Beorn and giant spiders in the treacherous forest, Mirkwood. Escaping capture by Wood-elves, they travel to Lake-town and finally the Lonely Mountain, where they face their greatest danger – a terrifying creature that will test their courage, their friendship and the wisdom of the journey itself – the Dragon Smaug.

After what I felt was a slow first film this next instalment was very much welcomed. Not only did the plot move at a pace that kept you interested but it also had elves and dragons – dragons people! And talking of dragons, Benedict Cumberbatch may have only provided the voice for the impressive Smaug, but in my opinion he also stole the movie. The 3D worked well throughout for me, adding depth and helping me immerse myself into Peter Jackson’s Middle-Earth.

And in this special extended version of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, we also have an extra 25 mins (mostly coming by way of extended scenes) footage to get our teeth into. To Jackson’s credit it is quite hard to spot the extra footage, I mean this in a good way, similar to the original LOTR extended editions and the first film in this series, The Desolation of Smaug continues in the same vein. Adding more depth to individual scenes and the overall story, thus complimenting the film rather than feeling like it’s just being added for the sake of it.

However to me where this definitive edition comes into it’s own is through the extras and boy are there a few, check out the list below:

EXTRAS:

  • The Appendices Part 9: In To The Wilderland (Disc Header Only)
  • Into The Wilderland: The Chronicles Of The Hobbit – Part 2 (Section Header Only)
  • Opening (Into The Wilderland: The Chronicles Of The Hobbit – Part 2)
  • A Warm Welcome – Lake-Town – February 2012
  • Business Of The State – The Master’s Chambers – August 2011
  • Shelter On The Long Lake – Bard’s House – September 2011
  • In The Halls Of The ElvenKing – The Woodland Realm- September 2011
  • Flies And Spiders – Mirkwood Forest – Spetember-October 2011
  • Queer Lodgings – Beorn’s House – November 2011/March 2012
  • On The Doorstep – The Lonely Mountain – February 2012
  • Inside Information – Smaug’s Lair – March 2012
  • Down The Swift Dark Stream… – The Forest River – December 2011
  • Credits (Into The Wilderland: The Chronicles Of The Hobbit – Part 2)
  • The Appendices Part 9: Into The Wilderland (Continued) (Disc Header)
  • The Appendices Part 9 (Continued): Into The Wilderland: The Chronicles Of The Hobbit – Part 2
  • Barrels Out Of Bond – The Elven Sluice – May-June 2012
  • A Chance Meeting – Bree – May 2013
  • Erebor Rekindled – The Dwarf-Forges – July 2013
  • … Into The Fire (Into The Wilderland: The Chronicles Of The Hobbit – Part 2)
  • The Appendices Part 10: The Journey To Erebor (Section Header Only)
  • Summoning Smaug: Last Of The Fire-Drakes (Section Header Only)
  • The Last And First Dragon (Summoning Smaug: Last Of The Fire-Drakes)
  • Conversations with Smaug Summoning (Smaug: Last Of The Fire-Drakes)
  • Into The Dragon’s Lair (Summoning Smaug: Last Of The Fire-Drakes)
  • The Music Of The Hobbit (Section Header Only)
  • Overture: Music Of The Wilderland (The Music Of The Hobbit)
  • 1st Movement: The World Of Men (The Music Of The Hobbit)
  • 2nd Movement: In The Halls Of Erebor (The Music Of The Hobbit)
  • The Appendices Part 10: The Journey To Erebor (Continued) (Section Header Only)
  • The Peoples And Denziens Of Middle-earth (Section Header Only)
  • Beorn: The Shape-shifter (The Peoples And Denziens Of Middle-earth)
  • The Spawn of Ungoliant (The Peoples And Denziens Of Middle-earth)
  • The Men Of Lake-town (The Peoples And Denziens Of Middle-earth)
  • Realms Of The Third Age: From Beorn’s House To Lake-town (Section Header Only)
  • Beorn’s House (Realms Of The Third Age: From Beorn’s House To Lake-town)
  • Mirkwood Forest (Realms Of The Third Age: From Beorn’s House To Lake-town)
  • The Woodland Realm (Realms Of The Third Age: From Beorn’s House To Lake-town)
  • Lake-town (Realms Of The Third Age: From Beorn’s House To Lake-town)
  • Credits

Phew – ok that’s the full list of extras, however this is grouped into 3 much more manageable areas; 1) Filmmakers’ commentary and New Zealand: Home of Middle-Earth – Part 2, 2) The Appendices Part 9: Into the Wilderland The Chronicles of the Hobbit – Part 2, and 3) The Appendices Part 10: The Journey To Erebor. As you can see you certainly get a lot for your money and a wealth of depth to immerse yourself even further into the world of Middle-Earth. In total there’s over 9 hours of extras to work your way through… I’ll be honest I haven’t watched all 9 hours yet but what I have seen makes me want to see the rest. This also helps to add length to the experience as you can just dip in and out at your leisure as and when you have time. And that is the great thing about these discs and the previous extended ones, when they say ‘extended’ they are most certainly not exaggerating.

In conclusion if you’re looking for a stocking filler this Christmas and the person you are buying for is a fan then you won’t go far wrong popping this version into their stocking. Another excellent and compelling Blu-Ray from the brilliant Peter Jackson and his interpretation of Tolkien’s Middle-Earth.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Extended Edition is released on Monday 3rd November 2014

Rating: Film – 4/5 Extras – 4.5/5
Reviewer: JMS1701

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