We sent MP!’s resident vegetarian a copy of The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug to review. They’ve released it on DVD & Blu-Ray complete with extended editions just in time for Christmas, but is it worth buying for your famalam and pals? Let’s find out.
First things first. I’m a massive Tolkien fan. I loved the original Lord of the Rings trilogy, adore the books and think Peter Jackson is as damn near a genius as you can get! Don’t get me started on WETA workshops!
However, I was as worried as the next person when I saw that the small volume that constitutes ‘The Hobbit’, by JRR Tolkien, was to be made into not just one, but THREE films. Upon watching the fantastic ‘Desolation of Smaug’ though, I can quite happily say that this fear is pretty much unfounded! In fact, after seeing the original in the cinema I was left wanting more, and that is exactly what ‘The Desolation of Smaug-The Extended Edition’ provides. In fact it provides a whole 25 minutes more and a whooping 9 hours of extras!!! I was quite literally in a geeky, elvish heaven.
What makes the film so good?! Well first things first, the cast is STUNNING. Obviously we have come to know and love Martin Freeman as Bilbo from the first film, and Ian Mckellen as Gandalf.
‘Desolation of Smaug’ brings some amazing new characters to the fold. We meet Beorn- a shapeshifter, Tauriel- a beautiful elf who is a guard to old favourite Legolas and provides a love interest for handsome dwarf Kili. The portrayal of Mirkwood is indeed a treat for any Tolkien fan… The spiders, oh the spiders- they’re magnificent!
Yes there is a love triangle that doesn’t appear in the original book, and yes it’s a bit more Hollywood then you might expect… This doesn’t make it any less amazing! Then there’s the other new character, Bard, who rescues the dwarves after a particularly entertaining and white knuckle barrel ride, Luke Evans gives a particularly note worthy performance, and I look forward to seeing his character develop in the next film.
This of course brings us to the outstanding, dazzling, and incomprehensibly good performance by Benedict Cumberbatch, the actor who quite literally can do no wrong (in my eyes!)
Cumberbatch’s vocal performance of Smaug only serves to elevate the superb visual effects of WETA workshop (the conceptual design team behind all director Peter Jacksons work) and make him a worthy counterpart to Andy Serkis as Gollum/Smeagol. Smaug is an incredible creation, he is every bit as vivid as Tolkien describes, and then some!
In the Extended edition we are incredibly lucky to be treated to mind blowing extra footage, that serves to enhance what was an already brilliant piece of work, and diehard fans get to see longed for footage of Gandalf with Thrain – it’s so good I can’t understand why this was not included in the theatrical release!
It was probably a little unfair to ask me to review ‘The Desolation of Smaug’; I was never going to be able to give it a bad review. It definitely deserves a spectacular 10/10. All I can say is that it’s every bit as good as I could want it to be. It’s great for the diehard fans, and explains enough for newcomers to not leave them wondering (although it is probably best you watch the “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” first!) I literally can’t wait for this December, to see what I am sure will be the epic conclusion in “The Battle of the Five Armies.”
‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Extended Edition‘ is available to own on Blu-ray 3D and DVD right now.