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The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug [Blu-ray]
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on June 23, 2014
Format: Blu-rayVerified Purchase
My major objection to "The Hobbit : The Desolation of Smaug" is that Peter Jackson has departed too far from the original books in this film. In the "Lord of the Rings trilogy" departures from the original story were minimal and not jarring. In "The Hobbit : An Unexpected Journey" There were some changes (mostly additional material) but I found those acceptable. However, in "The Hobbit : The Desolation of Smaug" there are glaring contradictions with the original text, that I found disturbing. IF you have not read the book, "The Hobbit"; then this will most likely not bother you; since, on its own it is a good story. But, for a Tolkein purist such as myself, the film is inferior to the book BECAUSE of the changes in "Desolation of Smaug".
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 2, 2014
Format: DVD
Prior to this movie I knew very little about Tolkien and was just fine with that. However, I am a huge fan of Evangeline Lilly ever since Lost, so when I saw that she was going to be in Desolation of Smaug I decided to give it a try. This movie did not disappoint! It was a little long but I thought it had a good mix of funny and serious parts with really unique imagery. The dragon is also great, with an unexpectedly snarky sense of humor.

Even if you are not huge into Tolkien, you might really like this movie. I would recommend either watching the first hobbit movie or reading an internet synopsis of it prior to seeing this movie, so that you know the backstory.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 12, 2014
Format: Amazon Instant VideoVerified Purchase
Taverns with huge fireplaces; characters in abundance both good, evil and in between; along with a smattering of big Hollywood visuals makes this presentation well worth watching. Somehow, I thought this one was the end of the original story by J.R.R. Tolkein, but not so. It ends abrubtly. This could realistically be due to the huge amount of literary material in the original book and to tell it right, it was necessary to make it into 3 separate movies. On another note, I suppose three big box office releases do add up to more coin than two. In any case, the exploits of Gandolf, Bilbo Baggins and the gang are fun to get immersed in.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 19, 2014
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
Still not sure the book needed to be taken to a three installment film series. The arrows fly, the Orcs die and the dwarfs stumble (or in the case float) on. Jackson's liberties with adding characters remains a bit presumptuous - Legolas among them. Having said that, the movie is full of never ending action, the special effects are awesome and the score is a classic continuation of Howard Shore's marvelous work. As I've said in other of my film reviews, never commit to seeing or not seeing a movie based on what someone else says. If in doubt, view it and decide for yourself. You are always the best judge of what you like.
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15 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
They have fought past goblins, trolls and a corrupted forest, but now Bilbo and the dwarves will face their worst enemy: the dragon Smaug.

And despite some big deviations from the Tolkien source material (did we really need a romantic subplot for Kili?), "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" is a riveting, passionate ride. Lots of action, lots of strong acting all around, and a dragon who is genuinely scary -- not to mention more groundwork for the original "Lord of the Rings" trilogy.

Thorin's company sets out on a perilous quest through Mirkwood, where they encounter the spooky skin-changer Beorn (Mikael Persbrandt), Azog's orcs and an infestation of spiders. But the most dangerous is the wood-elves led by the Elvenking Thranduil (Lee Pace), whom Bilbo (Martin Freeman) must free the imprisoned dwarves from.

Even worse, Gandalf isn't with them -- he must investigate the threat coming from Dol Guldur. First he ventures into death-trap graves in the fells, and then into the heart of the old fortress itself.

Meanwhile, the dwarves smuggline themselves into Laketown, with the help of the bowman Bard (Luke Evans). But Bard soon discovers their true mission, and believes that Thorin's (Richard Armitage) quest will rouse the dragon to kill them all. And when Bilbo is sent alone into the mountain, he will find that that may just happen...

If there is one word to describe the second "Hobbit" movie, it's "passionate." There are many scenes that brim over with powerful emotion -- moments of crushing despair, triumph, and a grinding sense of fear as Bilbo must grapple with a building-sized dragon who clearly is scaring him out of his little hobbit pants.

Jackson also seems happiest when exploring the grander parts of Middle-Earth -- he lingers lovingly on the gold-filled halls of Erebor, the sweeping parts of Mirkwood, and the autumnal beauty of the Elf-king's hall. One of the most spectacular scenes is when Gandalf discovers the true horror in Dol Guldur, a nightmare of fire and shadow that even a wizard cannot hold out against for long.

But there are also some small nice moments, such as Thorin commanding a sick Kili to stay behind, Balin's little talk with the increasingly gutsy Bilbo, or Tauriel talking about the Elves' love of starlight. Little quiet moments in a very loud, action-packed story.

Flaws? It feels top-heavy with wildly over-the-top action (including a very long sequence of orc-killing in Laketown), and the whole subplot about Tauriel and Kili is filler. And corny.

Armitage truly gives a tour-de-force performance in this movie. His smoldering stare and deep voice give a sense of depth and weight to Thorin's quest, and he runs Thorin through despair, anger, sorrow and eventually the commanding strength of a king. Freeman gives a subtler but no less good performance, as Bilbo grows further in courage and strength, which makes his fear before Smaug even more striking.

All the other actors do excellent jobs, and some of them (James Nesbitt, Stephen Hunter, Ken Stott, Dean O'Gorman, Aidan Turner) get some nice development. Orlando Bloom also makes a grand reappearance as a pre-tolerance Legolas, who kicks much butt in typically hyperacrobatic elven style (and shows us why Legolas doesn't usually use a sword).

We also have some new faces: Luke Evans is broodingly noble as the humble bowman Bard, Stephen Fry is grotesque as the Master of Laketown, and Lee Pace plays the regal Elf King with a fierce temper and a core of desperation, elegant and sinuous at all times. Benedict Cumberbatch also does magnificent double-duty -- he briefly voices the Necromancer (which is pretty terrifying itself) and also the rich, seductively vicious voice of Smaug, who slyly messes with Bilbo as he slinks through the golden halls.

Despite being too long and a bit too actiony, "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" is a much more powerful, intense affair than the first "Hobbit" movie... but with a multi-cliffhanger. Definitely a must-see.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 14, 2015
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
What is there to add! It is the Hobbit. The panoramic views are awesome, want to visit!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 7, 2015
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
I feel all the Extended Lord of the Rings movies are better than their theatrical versions. I thought the same would be for The Hobbit, but was sorely disappointed with An Unexpected Journey's Extended Edition. With only 15 minutes of new content, it's hard to distinguish what's new or not. And the scenes they did add didn't feel... necessary. I was worried Desolation of Smaug would be the same.

I was wrong. Desolation's Extended is worth it! Tons of new content, alternate scenes, new characters, new plot lines. It makes the whole movie feel new and more fleshed out. Get this one!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on April 9, 2014
Format: Blu-rayVerified Purchase
Good from start to finish, can't wait for the next movie to come out. Wish it was an extended edition.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 12, 2014
Format: Amazon Instant VideoVerified Purchase
Just like with the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Peter Jackson delivers a MUCH better film experience for viewers with the second installation of his Hobbit trilogy. The action and script were better as well as the pacing of this film (the first film was at least 45 minutes of sweeping New Zealand landscapes). The performances were solid across the board and although several characters were added that do not appear in Tolkien's tale, they did not bother me.

I fear however for the third movie; I wager that it will just be one endlessly long battle scene to fill 120+ minutes.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on April 23, 2014
Format: Amazon Instant VideoVerified Purchase
I'm trying to ignore the changes made to the book for reasons that to me seem to make the story seem confusing and unfocused. Aside from those, I found the CGI completely ludicrous in the barrel scene, more like something you'd see 10 years ago, with impossible movements from characters and a general softness to all aspects that were "worked" on. It was so bad it made me want to stop watching, despite the fact I paid money to rent this movie.

Clearly all the money went to making Smaug seem real, and that was well done. It seems as if Smaug could exist and Martin Freeman does a good job of acting against what must have been an enormous green screen. The rest of the movie was boring because of the poorly conceived plot changes and terrible CGI.
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