Blu-ray Review – The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)

the-hobbit-desolation-of-smaug-BDThe Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug continues the epic adventures of Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf and the troupe of dwarfs. I missed it during the theatrical run for some reason so it was nice to catch up with the adventure on Blu-ray.

The first thing you notice about the second Hobbit film is that it flows a lot better and faster than the first. I liked the extended version of the previous film much better than the theatrical release, however, as it also flowed better despite the longer length. The moment the second film climaxed I was disappointed, in the sense that I wanted it to continue because the story of the book is almost finished. It could have used an extra 30 minutes easy, and it wouldn’t have seemed that much longer.

The film’s fast pacing may also be down to the fact that it’s much more of a rip-roaring adventure than the first film. The first really just set up the events to come, so not till the end battle were there a great set piece. This instalment in the series never seems dull, which the first did during the needless scenes of exposition.

As the film’s title suggests, we finally see Smaug in all his glory. The dragon is voiced quite brilliantly by the man of the moment, Benedict Cumberbatch. The entire cast is as charming and likable as ever, and it features a great cameo from Stephen Fry as the Master of Lake-Town. It also has a blink-and-you-miss-it cameo from Stephen Colbert.

In short, it’s a very fine and enjoyable 2 hours and 40 minutes: if you’re a Tolkien/Jackson fan, you will get a kick out of it, and if not, then it’s your loss. It works better in its theatrical version than the previous film, so like all the other Tolkien films, it should be even better in the inevitable extended version coming out this Christmas season. 

★★★★


Fantasy, Adventure | New Zealand, 2013 | 12 | Blu-Ray, DVD | 7th April 2014 (UK) | Warner Bros Home Entertainment | Dir: Peter Jackson | Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Ian McKellan, Ken stott, James Nesbitt, Luke Evans, Evangeline Lily, Benedict Cumberbatch,