The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Extended Edition) (Blu-ray + Digital HD)
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The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Extended Edition (Blu-ray)
THE ADVENTURE CONTINUES as Bilbo Baggins, the Wizard 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.]]>
Top customer reviews
1. A LOT MORE OF DOL GULDUR. Specifically, we get to meet Thrain, Thorin's mad father. A sad twisted wreck of a dwarf, he reveals dark truths about the Necromancer (and hey, great performance!). The makeup and prosthetic effects for Thrain are just amazing. Wait till you see it. Richard Armitage also promises glimpses of a vast, bloody battle in Moria.
2. A LOT MORE OF MIRKWOOD. I was surprised and pleased to learn that two scenes from the book were actually filmed: Bilbo, Thorin and company crossing a slimy, enchanted river in Mirkwood. Contains some humor, some amazing sets, some amazing Martin Freeman acting, and a little bit of dark magic. Another sad scene contains a beautiful stag and Dwarvish target practice.
3. MORE OF BEORN'S HOUSE. And we know what that means: more of that glorious New Zealand landscape that we all love. All we know is that we see Beorn with big muscles and a bigger axe. We also get to see a whimsical scene ripped straight from Tolkien's pages, as Gandalf introduces the 13 dwarves and 1 hobbit in his care.
4. BEORN AND GANDALF. Beorn has a conversation with Gandalf about the dangers that lie ahead of the Company.
5. MORE THRANDUIL - SPECIAL FEATURES. Peter Jackson smiles upon us and gives us more Thranduil, including a conversation between father and son, and the dwarves, paraded in front of his mighty throne. Anticipate some elvish hubris and the bitemarks from Lee Pace's scenery-chewing. Note that the Thranduil scenes aren't in the Extended Edition, but in the Special Features. For more from that regal and bitter Elvenking, wait for Battle of the Five Armies.
6. MORE OF THE LONELY MOUNTAIN. The Lonely Mountain gets less lonely as Bilbo and Company explore the ruins of Smaug's desolation - Dale. Some awesome cinematography I can't believe we missed!
7. STEPHEN FRY, SCENERY CHEWER. Stephen Fry promised us last year that he would eat testicles in The Hobbit. He fulfills that promise. At the very least, he shows what a scheming conniver he is, expressing his hopes that "Old Smaug dines on dwarf for a day or two..." Poor Master of Laketown...
8. MORE EVIL ORC ARMIES. Honestly, who doesn't want to see more shots of an orc army marching to doom and a red dawn? Even if its just two or three shots, this filled me with sheer awe!
9. "THE WORLD OF MEN". Most of Laketown was a stunningly detailed set built for real, and we get to see more of the workings and tradings and the men that live there, through the eyes of a hobbit very far from home... Including a new chase scene never before seen! We also see the orcs attack the men of Laketown.
And the ride he takes us on is absolutely exhilarating. SMAUG is darker, moodier, and more mature than any Middle Earth film we've seen thus far. Evil hangs over our heroes like a black pall (literally). Beset on all sides by revenge-seeking orcs, wargs, terrifying spiders, pale creepy-crawlies, double-crossing elves, treacherous humans, a growing Evil in a ruined Elvish citadel, and a huge, vain, fire-breathing dragon...both the heroes and the audience are plunged into a terrifyingly new world. And there's a lot of new stuff to feast your eyes on along the way.
Castwise, Tauriel is a welcome female addition to the gang, played with charisma and spunk by Evangeline Lilly.Lee Pace's regal and scheming elf-king Thranduil is absolutely astounding, delivering a tour-de-force in a few minutes of screentime. Luke Evans could not be better as Bard, simultaneously grim and noble. But of course, the real draw here is Benedict Cumberbatch, wearing two very villainous hats. The first is as the Necromancer, who, in addition to manifesting himself as an inkblot, is really quite scary. And the second...is the reason that you came here in the first place: Smaug. The Terrible. Smaug just so happens to be the greatest dragon ever! He is everything I wanted him to be and more: vain, seductive, manipulative, terrifying, and of course, absolutely huge. I'd just like to congratulate Cumberbatch and the conceptual crew on his tremendous design.
Our returning cast is also fantastic. Richard Armitage's Thorin Oakenshield is electrifying, with gravitas and stage presence enough for a character twice his stature. His grave eyes and deep voice tell of a lifetime of war and sorrow, and every line he speaks could be delivered by a king. Martin Freeman continues to be perfect as Bilbo, and Ian McKellen's Gandalf is just as crusty and warm as you remember him. Oh, and Legolas? Legolas is awesome. Like, web-swinging, spider-slaying, arrow-shooting, orc-killing awesome!
Speaking of orc-killing, The Desolation of Smaug has, in THIS Tolkienian's perspective, the best action scene of the year: the barrels. The breathless, crazy, confusing, insane three-way-battle sequence (don't tease me for it) had me LITERALLY crying with sheer unadulterated glee! The rest of the action, including a hard-hitting spider attack, and a sprawling, rather one-sided battle between 10 dwarves, a hobbit, and a dragon shows that Jackson has absolutely outdone himself!
Well, now for the cons. If Desolation of Smaug has a con, it's that it really, really wants to keep moving to newer, darker territories, so whenever it slows down it feels, well...like an intermission between set-pieces. And the ending will divide the audience: you'll either love the breathless cliffhanger, or hate that you have to wait another year to find out what happens! And as a Tolkien purist, I have to address the fact of accuracy. SMAUG really isn't that accurate to the books. But you know what - I actually like that! I enjoy having absolutely NO IDEA what Peter Jackson has cooked up next. God knows what he's got cooked up for Part Three!
So in conclusion, The Desolation of Smaug is a terrific ride. Filled with amazing action, excellent performances, and the requisite gorgeous New Zealand landscape shots and Howard Shore score, SMAUG is everything I hoped for and more. My rating? Five Kings Under the Mountain - an absolute must-see! I hope you've enjoyed my (completely subjective) perspective on the film. Drop a line in the comments to tell me what you thought.
P.S. Remember that the like/dislike buttons are not for saying whether or not you disagreed with the reviewer, but for whether the review was helpful in your decision to purchase the film. If this review was helpful to you, please give it a like. Cheers!
P.P.S. Check out this same Tolkinian's perspective on The Battle of the Five Armies + BOFA: The Extended Edition: http://www.amazon.com/review/R332GZMMJ79MM4/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm
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