Continuing on from where first film (The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey), in The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug, we find the dwarves, with Bilbo Baggins and Gandalf the Grey, on their quest to reclaim their homeland, Erebor, from the dragon Smaug. Fleeing from Orcs and encountering the Elves, their journey is wrought with opposition and conflict, encountering those who wish to hinder their journey, and others who are there to offer aid.
There is no doubt that fans of the world of The Hobbit, and Lord Of The Rings, will snap this film up. The story itself is well told, but that is to be expected, coming from the literary genius of J.R.R. Tolkein and the directorial brilliance of Peter Jackson. On screen, it translates to an epic tale, in an impressive and expansive landscape. The characters are diverse, and the cast aptly suited for those roles.
With a slightly slow start, things soon kick in to high gear as we establish our heros in the world of Middle Earth, and expand the story from there, on their wondrous encounters.
The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug is an grand adventure, full of fantasy, and an engrossing story, which is bound to be made better still if viewed as a marathon of the entire series. A must for fans, and bound to be an engrossing ride for everyone else.
The Blu-Ray box for The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug, comes in a 4 disc set; 2 of the discs hold the 3D version of the film, 1 disc for the 2D version, and 1 disc full of bonus features.
The 2D and 3D versions of the film are encoded at a high bitrate, and look superb on a large screen, with vibrant colour. Sound will give any theatre setup a good workout, and anything less would not do the immersive soundtrack justice.
Disc menus are creative, with one slight issue with menu music not playing under certain circumstances, but this isn’t a big issue, and will vary depending on the hardware.
The disc containing the 2D version of the movie also contains a short feature, depicting the locations where filming too place in New Zealand. This feature is also on the first 3D disc. The second 3D disc contains 3D versions of the theatrical trailers.
It is, however, the disc containing all the many bonus features, that is impressive.
There are several features that follow life on set, from various aspects of the film making process. These come in the form of two playlists, which formed part of the regularly updated blogs from Peter Jackson on set. These two playlists contain approximately an hour of content each.
Other features include a recording of a live streamed show held by Peter Jackson, during post production of the film, a music video, several trailers and previews for the film, and some previews of games based on the movie.
Other than the features included on the 2 discs containing the 3D version of the film, all the bonus material is in 2D, but are encoded at the same quality as the main feature.
For fans of movies, and especially those who will enjoy The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug, this is a value box set that will enhance any aficionado’s collection.
The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug is available now for purchase in South Africa.