Bringing Tolkien's world to life is something Peter Jackson has done remarkably well in the past. While the original theatrical releases won over the plaudits, many wait for the extended editions discs before casting final judgment. The original Rings trilogy was much better with the new and extended scenes added. And while I was not too keen on the first movie in The Hobbit trilogy at the cinema the extended edition disc certainly made for a better viewing. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug on the other hand was a tale of true get up and go adventuring, that I really did not want to end. It's probably Jackson most complete to date so I wondered what an extended disc could offer. Lots!
With three brand new clips and eleven extended scenes, there is a staggering twenty five minutes added to the running time. None of the extra footage detracts from the storyline. In fact, it is the total opposite, making the tale a more complete story. There is something about the backdrops Jackson uses for middle earth that makes it stand out more in high definition. Cliffs, for example, look more daunting while raging white water look oh so cold, and it is even more stunning in 3D. The 3D version of the movie is spread over 2 discs and is very crisp on the eye, mixed with superb audio making for pleasurable viewing.
The five disc set offers a whole host of supplementary material, trailers and features that will take you behind the scenes of movie, giving you an insight to just what goes into making a Middle Earth movie. The discs include:
- Commentary with Peter Jackson, Director/Producer/Screenwriter and Philippa Boyens, Co-Producer/Screenwriter
- The Appendices – The Appendices Parts IX and X showcase an immersive multi-part history of the filming of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, covering pre-production in the various departments of the film in the months leading up to the start of principal photography, training, the work done on set and in the world of its digital effects.
- New Zealand: Home of Middle-earth – Part 2