Segunda, 27 Outubro 2014 11:00

Review: ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’ Extended Edition

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I will begin by saying that I am unabashed fan of The Hobbit films, and therefore I have a predisposition to like the recently released Extended Edition of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. I did indeed enjoy the added footage, and think that it gives us some important insights as we look forward to the last installment of the story. For those who plan to see the Extended Edition and don’t want all of the new things given away, I’ll try to deliver a somewhat reduced-spoiler review.

‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’ Extended Edition, Clip 1: Bree

The new 25 minutes hardly felt like 25 minutes to me. As we’ve seen before in Peter Jackson’s Extended Edition cuts, there are some wholly new scenes, plus small snips and added beats to existing scenes. The first bit of added footage is in the opening sequence in Bree, with a flashback to Thorin and Thrain at the Battle of Azanulbizar. I am very happy that we see more of Thrain in this cut of the film. I found myself liking Thrain after the new scene at the Moria gate. He became a real character, at last.

‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’ Extended Edition, Clip 2: Beorn

Book fans may be at least somewhat happier with the Extended Edition when it comes to Beorn. You practically missed him if you blinked in the theatrical cut. Here, we get a nice version of the introduction of the company to Beorn, and a better sense of the character as a whole.

‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’ Extended Edition, Clip 3: Mirkwood

Much of the added material of the Extended Edition is in the Mirkwood sequence. Considering how long the story spends in Mirkwood in the book, the added scenes in this edition are quite welcome. We finally get to see the dwarves carrying poor sleepy Bombur through the forest. We also have a better sense of time passing and the company’s situation worsening.

We spend more time in Laketown, in some additional scenes with the Master, and in some expansions of scenes from the theatrical cut. One of my favorite new segments in the Extended Edition came in Laketown, with the extended version of the scene where the dwarves and Bilbo are brought before the Master of Laketown. There is an added bit of dialog involving Alfrid and Bilbo, where Bilbo vouches for Thorin. This small moment was so striking for me that I wish it had been left in the theatrical cut.

The section of the Extended Edition that is most different from the theatrical version is Dol Guldur. Although the beginning and end are the same as in the theatrical version, there is a huge difference in what happens in between, with the addition of Thrain. Once again, I was very happy to see Thrain brought back into the story. His story is really quite heartbreaking.

‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’ Extended Edition, Special Features: Laketown

The special features are, as always, a real treat. There is another installment of the “Appendices,” featuring the behind-the-scenes footage and cast and crew interviews. My personal favorite of these is the discussion about dumping the fish on the dwarves in barrels. Peter Jackson enjoyed that whole process far too much. Needless to say, the actors did not.

 ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’ Extended Edition, Special Features: Conversations with Smaug

All in all, I found the Extended Edition of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug very satisfying. The added footage filled in some elements that many of us yearned for in the theatrical version. As always, the special features alone are nearly enough reason to invest in a copy of the edition. I give The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Extended Edition an enthusiastic thumbs up. But then, you knew I would.

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imageAuthor: Valdis Valdís is a classic nerd, with many geeky interests, but her life-long love of Tolkien rules them all. She was completely hooked the first time that she read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings at age 8. Since then, she has read the books at least once a year, and delves into Middle-earth at every opportunity with a fervor that would make any dwarf proud. She also deeply loves Peter Jackson’s films, and defends them staunchly when need arises. When reality forces her out of Middle-earth, Valdís is a university professor, a wife, mother of two daughters, and servant to two cats.

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