Friday, 31 October 2014

The Desolation of Smaug - DVD review

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

The second part of the Hobbit trilogy, The Desolation of Smaug, directed by Peter Jackson gains a DVD release on Monday 3rd November in an extended edition.

Carrying on from the underwhelming first instalment, An Unexpected Journey, the story continues with Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) and his band of dwarfs (not the Ben Folds Five song) along with Gandalf (Ian McKellen) 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.

Smaug is voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch, allowing a reunion of the successful Holmes and Watson partnership, making for dynamic dialogue between the two.  However, the film again suffers from much the same technical and narrative issues as the first part did.

Breaking down one book into three films means the film has long moments of pauses and lapses that stifle the film when momentum is established.  The film is infused with over-long fight scenes dependent on special visual effects belonging to spectacle rather than narrative importance with nothing close to rivalling the Orc battle in The Two Towers nor the climatic fight scene in Return of the King.

All in all, this second part of the trilogy is again justification of the trilogy as setting up for the final part The Battle of the Five Armies which is set for release in the UK on December 12, 2014.

The Extended Edition Features a 25-Minute Longer Cut and more Than Nine Hours of New Special Features. The nine-plus hours of new special features boasts audio commentary with Peter Jackson, the film's director/producer/screenwriter, and Philippa Boyens, co-producer/screenwriter, as well as “The Appendices,” a multi-part documentary focusing on various aspects of the film and the Trilogy. Complete special feature details are provided below.

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