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on September 24, 2014
The extended edition for The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug will contain 25 minutes of new scenes, in contrast with An Unexpected Journey's 13 minutes. It also has over 9 hours of behind-the-scenes footage and interviews, detailing the monumental task of bringing the incredible world of Middle Earth to the screen. Here is some stuff we'll see in the Extended Edition:

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.
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on May 18, 2017
One of the best movies I have seen in years. I was not a big fan of the Lord of the Rings movies, but this second Hobbit movie changed my mind and I went back to rewatch the LORD because the Desolation Of Smaug was so awesome.

The Hobbit Trilogy is the best Trilogy I have seen since the original Star Wars.

Martin Freeman is amazing as Bilb and Richard Armitage does a great job as Thorin. Sir Ian Kellen is really good as Gandalf.

But I have a special place in my heart for all the Dwarves and Balboa scenes.

The spiders were as creepy as can be. And who doesn't think that Thronduil want perfect?

Legolas and Turkey were perfect additions.

But Smaug was the jewel in the crown. The effects used to give Smaug life and personality, especially Benedict Cumberbatch's voice, give Smaug legendary proportions.

Best dragon ever.

I am not a fan, at all of fantasy fiction. But the Hobbit movies are amazing.

Peter Jackson and crew did a stunning job of bringing The Hobbit to life.
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And so we come to the Misty Mountains at long last. long long last. Even longer last. Did I mention long? Overall all 3 Hobbit movies are reasonably good, but suffer from too much of a good thing and would have worked better being edited to two. There are some great pieces in this movie. Plus a good number that will leave Tolkien fans scratching their heads going WTF??? Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings these movies are not. Deeply ruined by the inclusion of tons of extraneous characters that never appeared in the original story. The hot Elf on Dwarf romance was kinda odd. The Dwarbes fighting the dragon was certainly unexpected as well as being rather idiotic and long.

The best part of the Extended edition is it put back in some critical scenes that really should have been left in to begin with. I mean they actually explain why Thranduil is such a jackass. But they cut the needed story and exposition in favor of an extra 10 minutes of idiotic dwarves in barrels like some amusement park ride. Someone really needs to explain to Peter Jackson the difference between using a feather and using the whole damn chicken.

For Tolkien and LotR fans it is pretty much a must see in order to get to the end of it all. And the extended edition is the better cut. But if you haven't seen The Unexpected Journey this will make no sense to you. If you saw the prior movie but also read the book, this will make even less sense to you. Probably just best to forget that it has anything to do with JRR Tolkien and convince yourselves that this is the best Dungeons & Dragons movie ever made. Your soul will die a little less that way.
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As has been the case with the other extended editions, this is really for die hard fans of the story and/or those who love bonus material. If you do not fall into either of those categories then you probably want to stick with the theatrical edition because this will be way more than what you are looking for.

Most people who are considering this know the movie well enough that I am not going to spend a lot of time reviewing it. The extended edition itself comes in just over 3 hrs in length if you count the credits. It has tacked on about 25 minutes to the theatrical version of the film. There is generally a lot more action in this movie than the first, and it really just launches into the story. The only real setup is a flashback showing Gandalf and Thorin meeting at the Prancing Pony in a scene that was taken from the Lord of the Rings Appendices. As most know this movie started to diverge more from the novel (because of in large part the decision to split the story into three movies), although many elements of the book are in the movie. The highlight of course, is the full reveal of Smaug and the scene with Bilbo when he is trying to find the stone, which leads into the climax of the movie which is a battle between the dragon and the dwarfs.

The real meat of the extended edition are the two bonus discs (which are titled appendices 9 and 10). Between the two there are 10 hours of bonus material. The first disc is really a bunch of behind the scenes and making of features showing the process of filming and creating the movie. The 10th disc goes more into how they came up with various plot points, the look of the movie etc. There is a great hour and sixteen minute feature on conceptualizing the look of Smaug and the process Benedict Cumberbatch went through to give his performance. If you are a fan of bonus material you cannot go wrong with what you get here.

Chances are if you are getting this you know what to expect because you have the other extended editions. It is much the same as before. You get a ton of material, and the movie looks as sounds great as you would expect. Plus the movie is on a single disc unlike the LOTR extended editions, which is a nice plus. The only downside is with both the movie and the bonus material, if you have to stop (and watching everything straight through is almost impossible) it will not pick up where you left off. A relatively minor point, but it is easy enough to do that they should have done it. Otherwise, everything is great and it is definitely worth adding to your collection.
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on April 11, 2014
I can't believe all these negative reviews this movie has received...I wonder did they watch the same movie I just had the pleasure of viewing? While I doubt the "Hobbit Trilogy" will ever be as highly regarded as "LOTR", "Desolation", the second installment of the trilogy, provides an even stronger fantasy adventure than the first installment, with a faster pace, beautiful sets, beautiful score and costuming and stunning CGI special effects. With the reintroduction of Legolas (Orlando Bloom) one of the most beloved characters of "LOTR", many old fans will likely be won over. Plus there are new and interesting characters added, with the most interesting being Legolas' distaff cohort, the Elven warrior princess, Tauriel, played by the beautiful Evangeline Lilly. Other new characters include Bard, the Bowman, played by Luke Evans and Smaug the Dragon, voiced by the fascinating Benedict Cumberbatch. Peter Jackson is again masterful behind the camera and he also co-wrote the fine screenplay. Could it have been better? Of course. But I'm betting most lovers of fantasy actioners will like this film, including the "LOTR" fan base; and that assessment seems to be verified by a box office that has already tripled the production costs less than a month after the film was released.
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on March 4, 2015
It's not nearly as good as the first of the Hobbit series. The section in Mirkwood with the elves is unfortunate. Almost comic-bookish. It doesn't have nearly the depth and realism of the first one. Bilbo, of course, pulls it off. Martin Freeman is the perfect Bilbo - he has the maturity and experience as an actor to pull off the character of Bilbo with real depth and subtlety. I wish that Jackson had rethought the issue of the river sequence - it really is too much in the CGI. Not believable and detracts from the film rather than adding to it. Also, as much as I like Tauriel, she doesn't need to be in the film to the extent that she is - her "romance" with Kili detracts, rather than contributes to the film. Just my opinion - and I'm a romantic, just not a dime-novel romantic. Anyway, the film is worth the reduced cost. If it weren't for Bilbo, I would give this a 3 star.
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on July 21, 2014
I do have some misgivings about The Hobbit being split into three parts, as I'm sure many others do too. If it needed to be split at all, two parts would have done just fine, as the book is also divided into two parts. Still, I can't complain with most of what I've seen. Visually and in terms of spectacle, Peter Jackson continues to outdo himself with every successive film. Still, that doesn't change the fact that these movies have been padded with extra material in an effort to tie them more strongly to the Lord of the Rings trilogy. However, what Peter Jackson has given us is just fine and quite enjoyable. Riveting even.

This film begins a year before Bilbo and the company start off on their journey at a meeting between Thorin Oakenshield and Gandalf. While this might have been more at home in the previous installment, it does add character depth and clarifies the motivation behind wanting to take back the mountain. The film then proceeds to continue where the last one left off. On their way to the mountain, they encounter all manner of creatures, from giant spiders and orcs, to elves and humans. At times it feels a little episodic, with the company going from one setpiece to another, but the overall narrative thrust and ultimate goal keep the story going along at a nice pace.

If there's one major complaint I have, and not just with this installment, it's that Peter Jackson has grown very reliant on CGI to augment, and in other cases completely replace practical effects. In no case is this more apparent as in the orcs, which are largely CGI. They worked very well in the Lord of the Rings as actual people with makeup, and I don't understand why they couldn't have continued that way in this Hobbit trilogy. Still, I digress slightly. There were also moments where it was clear that they were on sets. It took a little bit out of the magic of it all, but I was still wowed by the depth, breadth and level of detail in the landscapes. Also, for a movie with a lot of walking and talking, the action, when it came, served its purpose well. I kind of wish I had seen this in theaters for the sheer spectacle of it all. Two sequences that stand out in particular were a barrel escape from the elves, while being attacked by orcs, and the moment when the company finally meets Smaug. These two sequences stand out as being among the best in the trilogy so far, full of action and tension.

Acting-wise, everyone gives a great performance, although I still can't really distinguish between most of the dwarfs. I'll also give major props to Benedict Cumberbatch for some outstanding voice work as Smaug. However, there were also a couple of small roles, one in particular (which I won't spoil) which kind of took me out of the movie. One final positive I'll mention is the incredible (as usual) score by Howard Shore. It really helps to set and maintain the epic tone of the film. Overall, while not perfect, THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG is a stellar production of a classic story (or at least part of one) and sets up the finale quite nicely. Any serious film fan should want to see this, and I highly recommend watching it.
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Peter Jackson's second installment of the Hobbit trilogy is a nice step up from the somewhat disappointing "An Unexpected Journey." The film is still a bit long and would have been helped with crisper editing, but it is still full of exciting action sequences. After a brief prequel which shows how and why Gandalf (Ian McKellen) comes to meet with Thorin (Richard Armitage), the story picks up where "Journey" ends.

The dozen Dwarves led by Thorin, Gandalf and the Hobbit recruit, Bilbo (Martin Freeman) continue their journey toward reclaiming their Lonely Mountain home. The hollowed mountain is now occupied by Smaug, a fierce dragon who sleeps under mountains of gold. With the ever present Orcs always on their tale, the Dwarves must pass through a barren forest that is also the home of the Elves. The Dwarves and the Elves consider themselves enemies as the Elves retreated years earlier rather that help the Dwarves fight Smaug. The Dwarves encounter a nest of giant spiders before being captured by the Elves. Their capture is short lived however thanks to Bilbo's ingenuity and of course "Precious" the gold ring that he possesses.

Evangeline Lilly enters the story as Tauriel, an Elven warrior and potential love interest for Legolas (returning Orlando Bloom). Tauriel, however becomes smitten with Kili (Aidan Turner), one of the Dwarves. As she says, "he seems tall for a Dwarf." There is an intense, if overly long, action sequence during this section where Legolas and Tauriel fight with the Dwarves against the marauding Orcs. I've come to the conclusion that as ominous and fierce as the Orcs appear they are only at their best against children and old men and women. They couldn't kill a Dwarf or an Elf unless they were unarmed.

Eventually, our heroes make their way to Lake-town which sits near the Lonely Mountain. This is a village that Smaug desolated after driving out the Dwarves. With help from newcomer Girion (Luke Evans), the Dwarves obtain weapons and make their way to the mountain and their confrontation with the sleeping Smaug. I've always liked dragons and Jackson and his crew have concocted a good one. Voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch (he also does the Necromancer), Smaug and Bilbo have some great scenes. Freeman shows his acting chops here. Watch his facial expressions as he interacts with the dragon. The film is beautifully shot and the fantasy world of Tolkien looks magnificent. At times, I thought the first installment was just a little too CGI. Lilly and Evans are nice additions and give the story a bit of emotional drama. I'm looking forward to the concluding episode.

(BLU RAY 3-D UPDATE)

This is another look at the second chapter of "The Hobbit" trilogy which will conclude in December, 2014. I was anxious to see it again, this time on Blu ray 3-D. I was impressed enough with the 3-D ness of the picture to raise the rating half a star. And as is often the case, I liked the film better the second time around. For someone not immersed in the books and intricate details, a second viewing makes things a little clearer. The overall picture is impressive even in 2-D.

The 3-D version is spread out over 2 discs. The video resolution is 1080p and the film maintains the original 2.40:1 aspect ratio. This version runs 161 minutes. The film as a whole runs darker, both in theme and visuals, from the original "Unexpected Journey." Still the black levels are excellent, the colors are beautiful and the detail is crisp and nicely focused. I was very impressed with the 3-D version. Rare are those shots I hate. The ones seemingly shot over the shoulder of one of the out of focus characters in the foreground. Instead with get luxurious longs shots of the forest, the river and the castles provide depth to the scenes. I'm not usually a big fan of 3D, but this is one of the best I've seen. The audio includes a DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track. It is excellent throughout although I did think the deep bass (LFE .1) was lacking without adjusting by subs. Otherwise, the surrounds were active constantly. The whole experience was very convincing. Well done. Here are the extras:

*Peter Jackson Invites You to the Set (HD, 41 minutes): Two parts
*Production Videos (HD, 37 minutes): Four production featurettes are included.
*Live Event: In the Cutting Room (HD, 38 minutes)
*New Zealand: Home of Middle-earth, Part 2 (HD, 7 minutes)
*Trailers & Previews (HD, 12 minutes)
*Music Video (HD, 2 minutes): "I See Fire" by Ed Sheeran.
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on July 28, 2015
Hey guys, just wanted to first say i absolutely love the books and all the movies. Even the animated ones. Love them all.
However, this is a product review. And people please listen to me when I tell you that this is not the extended version. If you read in the Title it will say Limited Edition. This is because of the two AMAZING bookends of the dwarves guarding erebor and extra behind the scene DVDS. Yes this product has blu ray version of both normal format and 3D. Yet it is lacking my extended version! Very upset about this. It is non refundable which i probably wouldn't refund it anyways because I love the bookends too much. Anyways guys be very weary and read reviews! Again this is not the extended version.
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on April 11, 2014
I've read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings many times since I was first introduced to them in the mid 70's.
This imagining by Peter Jackson has a unique perspective.

For one, he creates an entire sub-plot that is only casually mentioned in the book (with The Necromancer.)
From other Tolkien sources we had learned later on the identity of him. Jackson puts this in the film and it works.

He also gives us more with the encounter with Smaug. In the book, only Bilbo has any interaction. I loved how Thorin and Company actually tried taking on the Last Dragon in Middle Earth. "We don't HAVE a jiffy."

Bombur has a few funny moments, although he has yet to speak!

Beorn could have been represented better, but I loved his Bear form. Can't wait for part 3, his appearance was always my favorite part in the book.

I wasn't happy that they split the Company up, leaving Fili, Kili, and a few others in Laketown, and the creation of the Sylvan Elf Tauriel is new, too. (Although the actress is BEAUTIFUL!)

There is a brief funny scene with Gloin and Legolas concerning his "wee lad, Gimli"...I thought the Wood Elves were jerks, especially Thranduil, the King. Even Legolas seemed stiff. He obviously comes around in LOTR.

The ending with the Dwarves vs. Smaug was great. Watch for Smaugs' look of awe when he beholds the giant golden Dwarven King statue.
Benedict Cumberbatch has the PERFECT voice for Smaug.

Overall, a great film. I'd like to even see a last glimpse of Gollum leaving his cave to start the search for his Precious in the end.

I can't wait for the Extended Edition.
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