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TV show review: CONTINUUM season 4
PHOTOGRAPHY

THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG Extended Edition

Blu-ray review by David Blackwell

 

DETAILS:  186 minutes, audio commentary, featurette, making-of documentaries, digital copy, Target Steelbook exclusive

VIDEO: 2.40:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen) 1080p High Definition

AUDIO: English 7.1 DTS-HD MA, French 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles (Disc one): English SDH, French, Spanish

Subtitles (Disc Two and Three): English, French, Spanish- Latino, Spanish- Castellano, Dutch, Italian, Thai, Portuguese, Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, Russian, Polish, Hungarian, Netherlands, Ceske, Magyar

 

STUDIO:  New Line Cinema/ MGM/ Warner Bros. Pictures

RELEASE DATE:  11-4-2014

In the second part of THE HOBBIT film trilogy (continuing from Part 1: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY), the company of 13 dwarves, Bilbo Baggins (the Hobbit), and wizard Gandalf journey into the Elfish forest known as Mirkwood and reach Erebor to have Bilbo steal the Arkenstone.  In THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG, they may face more challenges as they encounter elves who want nothing to do with the outside world as the forces of Sauron grow and Gandalf may have to take a journey to Dol Goldour to find out about the mysterious Necromancer.   Meanwhile, Legolas (along with Elf warrior woman crush Tauriel) becomes involved in the fights against the Orcs who are hunting the dwarves.   Also Smaug makes himself known as the universe of THE HOBBIT continues to develop in the second film which is an improvement over the first one.

 

THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG is the middle segment of THE HOBBIT trilogy directed by Peter Jackson which adds a few things to the story not in the novel like Legolas and Tauriel (a character created for the movie) as they work to connect these films to THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy.   The New Zealand countryside continues to be awe inspiring and the production design is top notch from the Elfish kingdom of Mirkwood to Laketown to the vaults of Erebor.   The only downsides with THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG are the cliffhangers which the film ends on (and waiting for another year to resolve everything) and the battles on the river with CGI Orcs and Elves (which are painfully obvious when they switch between real to CGI during that sequence).   Smaug is an impressive digital creation with a deep menacing voice performance form Benedict Cumberbatch.  

 

The second installment isn’t as padded as AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY and it really flows as it introduces more characters and moves the story along.  I expected the second part to end somewhere later and not with the mother of cliffhangers.  Before this movie, Peter Jackson usually didn’t leave THE LORD OF THE RINGS films and AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY on big cliffhangers.   He usually left it at a place where the current threads are wrapped up (like the Fellowship breaking up at the first LOTR, the siege of HELMS DEEP ending in THE TOWERS, and the company of dwarves seeing Erebor in the far distance at the end of AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY).  

 

The Extended Edition adds 25 minutes of new and extended scenes.  They do add more depth to the movie and additional character development

 

SPECIAL FEATURES:

DISC 1-

Audio Commentary for the extended edition with Peter Jackson and Philippa Boyens

 

NEW ZEALAND: HOME OF MIDDLE EARTH- PART 2-

 

DISC 2-

THE APPENDICES PART 9: INTO THE WILDERLAND: THE CHRONICLES OF THE HOBBIT- PART 2 (5:00:26)- it is an extensive behind-the-scenes documentary of the second part of THE HOBBIT film trilogy

OPENING/ A WARM WELCOME/ A BUSINESS OF STATE/ SHELTER ON THE LONG LAKE/ IN THE HALLS OF ELEVEN KING (the highlight are a couple of unfinished deleted scenes)/ FLIES & SPIDERS/ QUEER LODGINGS/ ON THE DOORSTEP/ INSIDE INFORMATION/ DOWN THE SWIFT DARK STREAM…/ BARRELS OUT OF BOND/ A CHANCE MEETING (additional filming/ pick-ups)/ EREBOR REKINDLED (Focusing on making an ending and climax for the second film)/ …INTO THE FIRE (a preview of THE BATTLE OF FIVE ARMIES)

 

DISC 3-

THE APPENDCIES PART 10: THE JOURNEY TO EREBOR (5:05:51)-

SUMMONG SMAUG: LAST OF THE FIRE DRAKES (1:16:31)-

THE LAST AND FIRST DRAGON (26:36)- look at how many versions they went through to develop the look for Smaug where conceptual artist John Howe saves the day

CONVERSATIONS WITH SMAUG (24:50)- a look at the mo-cap and voice performance of Benedict Cumberbatch

INTO THE DRAGON’S LAIR (25:36)- working under the gun to finish the final shots of Smaug while doing pick-up voice performance from Mr. Cumberbatch

 

THE PEOPLE AND DENIZENS OF MIDDLE-EARTH (1:11:48)- a look at the various new characters of the second film in THE HOBBIT trilogy from sketches, costume fitting, casting, and more.

BEORN: THE SHAPE-SHIFTER (25:28)

THE SPAWN OF UNGOLIANT (16:49)

THE MEN OF LAKE-TOWN (30:17)

 

REALS OF THE THIRD AGE: FROM BEORN’S HOUSE TO LAKE-TOWN (1:34:07)

BEORN’S HOUSE (26:40)- a look how they shot the exterior of the house on location and shot the inside on a  stage

MIRKWOOD FOREST (17:00)- a look at how they created the Mirkwood set, the webbing, and digital finished it off

THE WOODLAND REALM (21:05)- a behind-the-scenes look at all the sets, partial sets, green screen, and digital set extensions they used to create this underground woodland realm

LAKE-TOWN (29:55)- a behind-the-scenes look at how they rebuilt the Lake-Town set inside and on the studio back lot five times

 

THE MUSIC OF THE HOBBIT (1:00:54)

OVERTURE: MUSIC OF THE WILDERLAND (21:36)- a look at writing an entire score of new themes for the second film

1ST MOVEMENT: THE WORLD OF MEN (20:25)- recording the score in New Zealand

2ND MOVEMENT: IN THE HALLS OF EREBOR (20:25)- breaking down the score in separate segments because they didn’t know how long some of the final scenes would be in the final edit.

 

Digital HD Ultraviolet Copy

 

FINAL ANALYSIS:  The extended edition expands The Desolation of Smaug, but the right treasure for this second movie in THE HOBBIT trilogy is the extensive ten hours of behind-the-scenes extras on discs 2 and 3.

 

This movie review is 11-16-2014 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission.  Send all comments to feedback@enterline-media.com

 

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