The Hobbit The Desolation Of Smaug Extended Edition Blu-ray Review

Continuing a tradition he began with 2002’s The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring, director Peter Jackson has now released a longer version of his latest Tolkien adaptation. But The Hobbit The Desolation Of Smaug Extended Edition Blu-ray and 3D Blu-ray doesn’t just have the definitive version of the movie, they also have some great extras you can’t get anywhere else (well, not at the moment).

The Hobbit The Desolation Of Smaug Extended Edition

Presenting the saga’s second chapter in a handy, take-home container, The Hobbit The Desolation Of Smaug Extended Edition Blu-ray continues to follow Bilbo and his dwarf pals as they make their way to The Lonely Mountain. But, as you know if you’ve seen this movie, or really any movie, this isn’t just a walk in the park, but an epic adventure fraught with peril.

Clocking in at just over three hours, The Hobbit The Desolation Of Smaug Extended Edition Blu-ray adds twenty-five more minutes of footage to the theatrical cut in the form of added as well as extended scenes. All of these are perfectly integrated into the movie, complete with new music by composer Howard Shore. But while the longer versions of the Rings films added huge section of story, the expanded edition of The Hobbit The Desolation Of Smaug is largely the same, as the new and expanded scenes are only different in small ways.

For instance, while the scene when the troop meet up with Beorn the shape-shifter is longer, what actually happens is still essentially the same, and doesn’t change anything about the plot or what we know about these characters or their plight. The same goes for when they enter that accursed forest; the extended version adds some new wrinkles to what happens, and makes their escape that much meaningful, but ultimately this scene’s role in the story remains the same. Which isn’t to say that the new scenes are pointless or don’t add to the story in some interesting ways, just that they don’t add to the story in any major ways.

Instead, what the longer version of the film on The Hobbit The Desolation Of Smaug Extended Edition Blu-ray really does best is make this epic adventure seem even grander in scope and scale. Not that it didn’t feel that way already, but some of the little touches make this feel even bigger than before. Though it also adds a bit more of a lighthearted tone and some comedy as well.

That said, there is one addition to The Hobbit The Desolation Of Smaug Extended Edition (which I won’t spoil) that probably won’t impact what happens in the third movie, The Battle Of The Five Armies, or even the version on the inevitable The Hobbit The Battle Of The Five Armies Extended Edition Blu-ray…but it might.

While The Hobbit The Desolation Of Smaug Extended Edition isn’t radically different, the Blu-ray does have some cool extras that delve into how the movie was made. For starters, this longer version of the film gets a commentary track by Jackson and co-producer/co-screenwriter Philippa Boyens that is informative and entertaining, and not in a film school-ish kind of way, either. That said, I can’t help but wish that someone from the cast — especially the lively Ian McKellen — had been involved, as actors often make a commentary that much more enjoyable.

The Hobbit The Desolation Of Smaug Extended Edition Blu-ray also has “The Appendices: Part 9: Into The Wilderland” and “The Appendices: Part 10: The Journey To Erebor,” both of which are a series of making-of featurettes that cover every aspect of this movie. Clocking in at ten hours long total, these featurettes mix interviews with the cast, crew, and even some literary historians, behind-the-scenes clips, and in-progress image and footage. As informative as they may be, though, they do break my cardinal rule that watching the making of a movie should not take longer than watching the movie itself.

(Oh, and in case you’re wondering, “The Appendices: Part 7” and “Part 8” appear on The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: Extended Edition Blu-ray, while “Part 1” through Part 6” are on The Lord Of The Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy: Extended Edition Blu-ray.)

What’s odd is that while The Hobbit The Desolation Of Smaug Extended Edition Blu-ray also includes the featurette “New Zealand: Home Of Middle-earth: Part 2” — a seven-minute conversation with the cast and crew about filming in that island nation — that was on the original The Hobbit The Desolation Of Smaug Blu-ray, it doesn’t include the regular version’s other extras, which include four production videos and two collections of behind-the-scenes footage titled “Peter Jackson Invites You To The Set: In The Company Of The Hobbit” and “Peter Jackson Invites You To The Set: All In A Days Work.” Not that you need them, what with “The “Appendices,” but if you’re a completionist….

Though I also think it’s odd (and annoying, and other things) that The Hobbit The Desolation Of Smaug Extended Edition Blu-ray doesn’t have any of the film’s evocative trailers.

Oh, and for those who care, while Warner Home Video didn’t send me the 3D version of The Hobbit The Desolation Of Smaug Extended Edition Blu-ray, having seen the movie in 3D in theaters, I can tell you that you’re not missing much by skipping it. Unless you really want to see really big bees in 3D for some weird reason.

As good as The Hobbit The Desolation Of Smaug Extended Edition Blu-ray may be, though, it’s hard not to think it would be worth waiting a year or so, when they’ll inevitably release The Hobbit: The Motion Picture Trilogy: Extended Edition Blu-ray or The Complete Hobbit & The Lord Of The Rings: Extended Edition Blu-ray, or whatever they call the boxed sets of the three Hobbit films or the six Hobbit and Rings films. Especially since they may have all of the extras that have been released, and maybe more.

The Hobbit The Desolation Of Smaug making

Still, for those who can’t wait, The Hobbit The Desolation Of Smaug Extended Edition Blu-ray presents the definitive version of the film as well as all the making-of featurettes you might need. Well, until the next version comes out.

SCORE: 8.0/10

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