Cast: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage
Release Date: Own It Today On Blu-ray 3D & Blu-ray
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 10/10 Disc Rating: 10/10
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug continues the adventure of the title character Bilbo Baggins as he journeys with the Wizard Gandalf and thirteen Dwarves, led by Thorin Oakenshield, on an epic quest to reclaim the Lonely Mountain and the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor.
Having survived the beginning of their unexpected journey, the Company travels East, encountering along the way skin-changer Beorn and a swarm of giant Spiders in the treacherous forest of Mirkwood. After escaping capture by the dangerous Wood-elves, the Dwarves journey to Lake-town, and finally to the Lonely Mountain itself, where they must face the greatest danger of all–a creature more terrifying than any other; one which will test not only the depth of their courage but the limits of their friendship and the wisdom of the journey itself–The Dragon Smaug.
The second entry in Peter Jackson’s ‘The Hobbit’ trilogy ‘The Desolation of Smaug’ arrives home just in time for the holiday’s with the highly anticipated ‘Extended Edition’ version featuring 25 minutes of added footage incorporated into the film this time around. While the Extended Edition of ‘An Unexpected Journey’ added in some fun little tidbits it didn’t really add to the overall experience in quite as crucial of a way as the Lord of the Rings Extended Editions did. That is not the case with ‘The Desolation of Smaug: Extended Edition’ as the 25 additional minutes really adds an incredible amount to the overall film, very reminiscent of the Lord of the Rings Extended Editions; including some scenes that felt so important I actually was somewhat shocked they didn’t find their way into the theatrical version. While I don’t want to go into specifics for the fans who surely want to experience it for themselves, I’ll just say it adds an impressive amount to the film, even entire characters and the overall experience makes this unquestionably the definitive version of ‘The Desolation of Smaug’ as far as I’m concerned.
The 3D Blu-Ray release of ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – Extended Edition’ is an absolute must own for fans of these films and everyone will want to make certain to pick up a copy to add to their collection. Once again, just as with the previous film, the Extended Edition release contains a nice solid case on the exterior with the standard Black Blu-Ray case within (matching the LOTR & previous Hobbit EE black style Blu cases). The 3D Blu-Ray release is a five-disc set: All five discs are BD discs and no DVD discs are included. Disc’s 1 & 2 contain the 3D version of the Extended Edition feature; Disc 3 contains the 2D version of the Extended Edition feature, along with the filmmakers’ audio commentary track; Disc 4 contains ‘The Appendices Part 9: Into The Wilderland’ and Disc 5 ‘The Appendices Part 10: The Journey To Erebor’. The standard 2D Blu-Ray release contains the same content, minus the 2 discs with the 3D feature. If you own a 3D TV and have the capability, or even if there is a chance you might at some point, I would highly recommend picking up the 3D release because ‘The Hobbit’ films are some of the best looking 3D films I’ve seen to date and look absolutely breathtaking. For those fellow 3D enthusiasts out there and even just those who can appreciate 3D in any way (I know it’s not for everyone) these are not to be missed.
The 3D Blu-Ray release of ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – Extended Edition’ features a full 1080p High Definition 3D presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.4:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio spread between two discs and therefore the breathtaking 3D version is provided a more than suitable bitrate. The 3D video presentation looks absolutely breathtaking, impressively clean and detailed, colors bright and beautiful; every single aspect of this 3D High Definition video presentation looks marvelous as a whole and this is easily one of the most impressive 3D experiences this year, if not ever. Fans should be absolutely thrilled with this release.
The 2D Blu-Ray of the Extended Edition (both included with the 3D release and sold separately) is once again on a single disc (also presented in a 2.4:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio), but still looks pretty fantastic from the few parts that I skipped through, although I didn’t explore it too thoroughly as I mainly focused on the 3D version of the film for this release.
The Blu-Ray release features a lossless 7.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack which sounds absolutely outstanding. All seven channels are utilized to their fullest potential, surrounding the viewer with water sloshing, wind blowing and arrows whizzing past at any given moment. This frenetically active lossless multichannel soundtrack is perfect in pretty much every single way and will leave fans breathless with the beautiful auditory detail and clarity presented here.
The 3D (and 2D) Blu-Ray release of ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – Extended Edition’ includes a Filmmakers’ Audio Commentary Track (only on the 2D disc) and also naturally follows in the tradition of its predecessor (as well as the previous three ‘Lord of the Rings Extended Editions’) with the latest two entries in The Appendices (each provided their own Blu-Ray disc). The latest two entries in the intricately detailed step by step behind the scenes look at bringing these epic films to life include: ‘Part 9: Into The Wilderland’ and ‘Part 10: The Journey To Erebor’; both of which provide hours of detailed and informative behind the scenes content exploring every aspect of bringing these gorgeous and monumental locations, events and characters to life.
Please note that the above images are taken from the Blu-Ray and resized. They additionally will suffer quality loss as a result of .jpg compression. It should additionally be noted that for the purpose of convenience, the images present for this specific release represent the 2D version of the film, even though the review itself covers the 3D version. Larger versions of each image can be viewed by clicking on the image. All images and content included on this Blu-Ray release are the property of their respective owners.
Film Rating: 10/10
Disc Rating: 10/10
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Extended Edition, a production of New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures, the newest epic in The Hobbit trilogy arrives on Blu-ray 3D™ and Blu-ray™ November 4th from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. The Extended Edition features a 25-minute longer cut and more than nine hours of new special features.