The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is out now on DVD, Blu-Ray and digital download and it is a solid bridge for Peter Jackson between his The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: There and Back Again.
And for a film series that should be seen on the big screen, given that most people have larger TV screens, not much of the spectacle is lost with the arrival on home video. But, we still cannot recommend enough that audience witness these films even on IMAX, the largest screens on Earth! But, we digress…
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug DVD gives fans a thrilling expansion of the world that was first painted by J.R.R. Tolkien in his The Hobbit. Jackson, not only because of his work on The Lord of the Rings, but also because he is such a Tolkien aficionado, is the perfect person to stretch this Middle Earth story into three movies.
Some may have scoffed at the addition of new characters, such as Evangeline Lilly’s Tauriel. But, and this is supremely surprising, the addition of the Elven warrior is an utter treat. Lilly is perfectly cast and as a fellow fan of Tolkien, she brings much to a character that was never thought of by the source material’s original author.
As we stated in our The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug review, the vision of evil that is our villain, Smaug the Dragon, is expertly imagined in Jackson’s second The Hobbit film. And to cast Benedict Cumberbatch as the voice of Smaug is utter genius. In fact, he is more than just the voice -- the UK actor got in a motion capture suit (like Andy Serkis with Gollum) and the proof of its effectiveness is in the scenes our dragon has with the Hobbit sent to destroy him, Bilbo.
What is fascinating to us is how the crux of this adventure is the destruction of Smaug, and to have our hero and villain meet in the middle of our second chapter of three is a fascinating lesson in pacing. And judging by how The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug ends -- we are just getting started in this battle!
When it comes to bonus features, Jackson is never one to skimp for his fans. Warner Bros. has truly put the gold standard out there with this limited collector’s edition Blu-Ray combo pack that Movie Fanatic received.
The Peter Jackson Invites You to the Set double documentaries -- In the Company of the Hobbit and Peter Jackson Invites You to the Set: All in a Day’s Work – showcase the wizardry that goes into making Middle Earth excellence. You think you’ve seen this with the Peter Jackson set videos he released while making the movie? Think again!
It is truly a fascinating journey to see how Jackson had to literally create towns such as Mirkwood, Lake-town and Dale. Some of the movie’s best moments take place there, so realism is the key. And that Hobbits in a barrel action scene is some of the best ever captured. Period.
We also appreciated the featurette New Zealand: Home of Middle-Earth, Part 2. New Zealand has long fascinated us, and what we learned about Jackson’s home country from his work on The Lord of the Rings is merely the tip of the iceberg. This is a country we get a feeling even natives are still learning much about. This featurette delves deeper into the corners of his home country that Jackson traveled to find the perfect locations for his second chapter in The Hobbit saga.
Then, as a bonus and as a fan of the song itself, the music video for I See Fire by Ed Sheeran is utterly gorgeous and a welcome addition to The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug DVD, Blu-Ray and digital download.