Customer Review

326 of 375 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tremendous fun, and a great expansion of the world of Middle-earth!, February 23, 2014
This review is from: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Special Edition) (DVD + UltraViolet Combo Pack) (DVD)
First off, I have no trouble admitting this movie is not perfect: I think the editing could have been tighter; I would have preferred a bit more focus on Bilbo's part of the story; and the filmmakers' determination to ignore all laws of physics, (especially in the 'molten gold' sequence), is truly impressive.

So, now that that's out of the way: I ADORED this film! Flaws and all, I loved it, and after watching three times in theater, found I only loved it more.

Yes, it strays from the book, and embellishes the story left and right; the thing is, those embellishments come from Jackson and co.'s deep love of the material, and their desire to spend just as long in Middle-earth as they possibly can. They LOVE this world, and it shows. They want to show us everything, and bring to life details the books only hinted at. Even when they make choices I wouldn't have made, I'm grateful to them for bringing this world to life so richly.

The cast is uniformly stellar. Martin Freeman, in particular, IS Bilbo Baggins, and every moment he's onscreen is a joy. I was one of those who initially doubted Richard Armitage could pull off Thorin, (so much older in the books), but he has won me over completely. I've really come to love all the dwarves, in fact, and to appreciate them as individual characters, which is frankly something the book never actually managed. (Special shout-out here for James Nesbitt, who's charm as Bofur never fails to make me grin!)

And then there's Tauriel, played be Evangeline Lilly. Her character was controversial, but why? No, Tauriel was not in the book. But as Tolkien never once said, "and all of the elves were men," and as there wasn't a single named female character in the book at all, Tauriel's presence is both justified and necessary. [For the record, I saw the similarly controversial "romance" between Tauriel and Kili as no romance at all: just a very clearly one-sided puppy love from Kili, and a warm fondness and protective instinct from Tauriel. Very sweet, and really not over-the-top.]

Much as I loved The Hobbit: AUJ, this one's better. The pacing is improved, the story-telling is tighter, and the action feels more plot-relevant. I could easily write on and on about my favorite scenes, and how many great moments have lodged permanently in my memory, but better to let folks watch this for themselves.

I do just want to add, regarding those reviews that gave one star expressly because this is not the extended edition: Getting two cuts to chose from is a good thing, folks. No one is forcing anyone to buy the movie twice. Me, I actually WILL buy both, because I know from experience that when I re-watch these films, I'm sometimes in the mood for the longest possible visit to Middle-earth, (extended edition), and sometimes I just want to cut to the chase (theatrical). But no one's making me do that, and it's awesome that we do have a choice!
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Tracked by 3 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 14 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 24, 2014 5:00:12 PM PST
Maggie says:
It couldn't be stated any better! I agree completely with loving the movie, flaws and all. I will end up owning both versions and it's my choice!
Bofur is the best! Along with Balin and Kili of course. I love that the characters of all the dwarves have expanded with their own peculiarities in the movie production. Realistically they are all individual beings in Tolkien's The Hobbit, and he did give us enough to expand upon in our minds as we read the book, but to see them fleshed out and watch them interact thrilled me. I also will do a shout out to Aidan Turner, I've been a fan since I sat and watched the BBC production of Being Human series (almost in one sitting)!

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 25, 2014 12:06:29 PM PST
Rick says:
So no problems with the disc itself? And the Ultraviolet copy worked fine too I'm assuming?

Posted on Feb 25, 2014 12:34:06 PM PST
Can anyone tell me is this a multi-region version can I play it in the uk.? Again it looks like we will not be getting this version with the collectibles. what have the distribution companies got against us British.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 25, 2014 3:22:09 PM PST
Maggie says:
This is a pre-release purchase... I'll know in April. :)
I have The Unexpected Journey extended version no problems with disc or UV copy.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 25, 2014 11:24:28 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 26, 2014 12:00:40 AM PST
Blue Canary says:
Re: Brf Churchill -
This one is listed as region 1, (US and Canada only). does have region 2 versions listed, though, and looks to have a pretty similar range of options for dvd/blu-ray/UV combinations, as well as steelbook. Not sure about the versions with collectibles, though!

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 25, 2014 11:59:27 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 26, 2014 12:01:41 AM PST
Blue Canary says:
Re: Richard L. Knight and Maggie -
That was my experience as well: with both theatrical and extended editions of Unexpected Journey, (one on DVD, one on Blu-ray), I had no difficulty whatever with any of the discs, or the UV copies. Once April 8th rolls around, I'll edit the review to include more specifics on this one. Looking forward to it!

[Also, thanks for the kind comment earlier, Maggie! Great comments on the book and film as well. I've still not seen "Being Human," but I certainly loved Aidan Turner's performance here! Dean O'Gorman, too. And yes, Ken Stott's amazing Balin makes the Fellowship's future discovery in Moria all the more heartbreaking!]

Posted on Mar 6, 2014 10:03:35 AM PST
Anthony L. says:
Was Galadriel not in the book? Wasn't she mentioned in the White Council, or in the appendix?

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 8, 2014 12:11:29 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 8, 2014 12:12:06 AM PST
Blue Canary says:
She's in the appendices to Lord of the Rings, yes, but not in The Hobbit. Everything involving Galadriel, Saruman, and the whole White Council, everything at Dol Guldur, etc., happens 'off stage.'

Actually, in the book, Gandalf just sort of disappears for a while, then reappears later without explanation, until this bit in the last few pages:

"It was in this way that [Bilbo] learned where Gandalf had been to; for he overheard the words of the wizard to Elrond. It appeared that Gandalf had been to a great council of the white wizards, masters of lore and good magic; and that they had at last driven the Necromancer from his dark hold in the south of Mirkwood."

And that's it! Galadriel didn't even get a name-drop.

Needless to say, I really AM glad they are including the appendices here, and fleshing things out a little!

Posted on Mar 9, 2014 6:02:33 AM PDT
BIG R says:
If he loved the material so much he would quit embellishing it.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 10, 2014 7:01:45 PM PDT
Blue Canary says:
Well, there are many different ways for one artist to express his admiration for another. For a filmmaker, one way might be making a film that recreates the source in every detail. Another way might be to make what that filmmaker considers the best possible film capturing the essence of the book, and bringing that book to life as completely as possible, even if it means making changes and embellishments to reach that goal. I'd ague Jackson is in second camp.

To me, a much greater sin is making a movie that misses the /point/ of a book, whether or not the plot points stay the same. I've seen many a film that left me thinking, "these guys may have read this book, but they sure didn't understand it." When I watch "The Hobbit," on the other hand, my feeling is, "They made different choices than I would, but boy do these guys love this world every bit as much as I do."
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Location: Berkeley, California

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