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The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug

by Kevin Taft
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Wednesday Apr 9, 2014
The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug

Peter Jackson's continuation of his too-long epic retelling of the relatively slim children's book "The Hobbit" gets a bit more interesting in the second installment. "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" is where we finally get to see the big bad dragon and commence the really big part of the adventure.

There are some additions to the script via Jackson and co-writers Philipa Boyens, Fran Walsh, and Guillermo del Toro -- mostly by way of the new female elf Tauriel played by "Lost" alum Evangeline Lily. But there is a bigger sense of fun and adventure in this version that seemed to be lacking in the first. It's a bit more gripping overall, yet still overlong as these films tend to be. That said, there will be the expected Extended Edition come November, which will undoubtedly have more Special Features than are offered here. So if you need the film right now it's a great disc. If you can wait, you might want to save your pennies for the even longer set.

The transfer to Blu-ray looks terrifically detailed and the sound is exemplary. Special features aren't as all-encompassing as recent outings, but with over two hours of goodies, it's just enough to please most fans. They include:

  • "Peter Jackson Invites You to the Set:" A two part behind-the-scenes doc that shows a typical day of shooting.

  • Production Videos: Around forty minutes of production featurettes, mostly focusing on Pick-ups that occurred after initial shooting was over, as well as the scoring sessions with Howard Shore.

  • Live Event: In the Cutting Room: Coverage of the March 2013 worldwide event where Peter Jackson did a Q&A from fans and brought them along on a tour of his production facilities.

  • New Zealand: Home of Middle Earth: A quick travelogue of locations used during filming.

  • Trailers & Previews: Three trailers and three promos for the Extended Edition of the first chapter, The LEGO videogame, and the Kingdoms of Middle Earth video game.

  • Music Video: Ed Sheeran's video for the single "I See Fire."

  • Ultraviolet copy of the film.

    "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug"

  • Kevin Taft is a screenwriter/critic living in Los Angeles with an unnatural attachment to 'Star Wars' and the desire to be adopted by Steven Spielberg.


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