Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, The : DVD Review

Title: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Starring: Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Andy Serkis,
Director: Peter Jackson
Screenplay: Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens
Length: 161 minutes
Certificate: PG
Released on Blu-ray - OUT NOW

Get ready to immerse yourself once again into the world of Middle Earth as Peter Jackson takes us there (and almost back again) with the Desolation of Smaug. The dwarves, Bilbo Baggins and Gandalf continue their perilous journey across Middle Earth in an effort to reach their ancestral home of Erebor where they will have to face off against Smaug - the fearsome dragon - who still lives.

It’s the completely believable world that Jackson offers with his Lord Of The Rings films that really sucks you in as a viewer. It’s magical yet so real. Peter Jackon’s films are the perfect mix of artistic and commercially successful filmmaking.

Yet again, Jackson has brought together a group of fantastic actors for these films, including a huge British contingent headed up by Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Benedict Cumerbatch, Andy Serkis and Richard Armitage. It’s great to see British actors hitting the top heights of cinema.

And how about the greatest location/set ever? New Zealand is simply breath-taking and it’s really what JRR Tolkien must have had in mind when he wrote his stories.

Peter Jackson’s direction is as calm, controlled and as perfect as ever. He really does live this life of Middle Earth. Five films already in the bag and one more to complete his double trilogy. Magic, action, comedy, romance, loyalty, battles, it’s got everything. I’m glad it never got handed to anyone else. Could any other director have done such an amazing job?

There are some flaws though. Unlike his previous trilogy where all of the characters were beautifully developed and given their own personal emotional arcs, in The Hobbit trilogy there is a certain lack of action for some characters; the dwarfs are sketchily drawn and Smaug is sorely underused, especially considering those wonderfully rich Cumerbatch vocal tones.

The Blu-ray HD presentation of The Desolation of Smaug is beautiful. Darkest blacks, bright and rich colours, crisp images. It really makes The Hobbit looks as good as it should and the DTS and 5.1 DD soundtracks are great too, never too loud, never too quiet, the vocals are clear and the occasional sword clash resounds.

The Desolation of Smaug is a fine film and follows on from the trilogy opener - A Hobbit’s Tale. It sets up all the action for the final instalment of There And Back Again which will be released in cinemas in December 2014. One final trip to Middle Earth - I can hardly wait!

Author : Kevin Stanley