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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug; Extended Edition - Movie/DVD review

In anticipation of the final movie in the series coming out in a few short weeks, Jackson has released the Extended Edition of his Hobbit movie from last year The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.

Though the movie itself suffered a bit from the effects of Jackson's team switching from doing the Hobbit movies in two volumes to doing it in three volumes on short notice at the direction of his producers, my family, being the Tolkien geeks that we are, of course were one of the first in line to get this Extended Edition.

We had our moments of cringing during the original movie, but there was no way we were going to pass up any chance to see more of Tolkien's brilliant work portrayed in film. We die hard Tolkien fans will put up with a lot of bad production to see any recreation of his work, ie. the Ralph Bakshiy cartoon. And Desolation was a fun ride of a movie if your expectations weren't too high.

My biggest complaint about the original was about the loss of some of my favorite scenes from the books. Well, the Extended Edition was the answer to that complaint. It included most of what I felt was missing: a greater coverage of Beorn's house and history and favorite scenes from Mirkwood, the crossing the sleep inducing river, the seeing the white stag and the carrying of Bombur. I didn't need more scenes of the Master of Laketown, but there are some of those as well.

But I thoroughly enjoyed the Behind the Scenes Appendix, also. It's fascinating to see the level of detail and dedication that goes into these films. I enjoy seeing the personalities of actors, directors, writers, artists, stunt people and all the talented staff and crew that make these movies happen. I am continually amazed at the childish behavior and pranks of some of these brilliant people. I am pleased to get a glimpse into their lives and creative endeavors.

I highly recommend the Extended Edition to all fans of the movie, but I'll give this warning. After you see some of the Behind the Scenes Appendix footage, it will effect the way you think about the movie. I find myself evaluating the effectiveness of certain prosthetics and imagining the wires and green screen behind the amazing stunts.

My children are inspired by the Appendix to film their own creations, too. One of my teenager wants a green screen for Christmas. My preteen is having a grand time painting and repainting miniatures and recreating every scene he can think of in Legos.

The best part though is that the movies help to create a desire to read the books. One of my teens is busy writing fan fiction about the movies using the books as references. Since last year's movie, my preteen has read both The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings.

Of course, like every Tolkien fan I know, he says the books are better than the movies, but hey, playing second fiddle to Tolkien is no mean feat.

Questions:

1. Did you like the Extended Edition? Why or why not?

2. Do you remember the Bakshi film? What was your impression of it? [I saw it as a kid and was thoroughly confused by it.]

3. Are you excited or sad to see the coming finale of the Hobbit movies and possibly the Jackson/Tolkien relationship? Or are you among those that would love to see The Simarillion make it to a film of any kind?
 
Picture of the week:
 
This picture was created by Keara Bugslayer. It goes better with the first movie, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, but its related.

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