The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Peter Jackson’s second in his Hobbit film trilogy continues the adventure of the title character Bilbo Baggins as he journeys with the Wizard Gandalf and 13 Dwarves, led by Thorin Oakenshield, on their quest to reclaim the Lonely Mountain and the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor. There’s lots of action, great special effects and enough mystical goings-on to thrill photo for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug J.R.R. Tolkien fans and aficionados of this genre. Like many other movie franchises taken from fantasy books, you need to be primed for the story line and can’t jump in mid-stream, so if you’re inclined to grab hold of this escapist entertainment, make sure you take a look at Jackson’s previous “Ring” and “Hobbit” work. I understand that Jackson really loves this stuff, but I wish he would go back to making small films; his quest for the gold has all but obscured the fine directing hand that gave us the masterpieces “Dead Alive” (1992) and “Heavenly Creatures” (1994). Available as a Limited Collector’s Edition Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack (includes two Gates of Erebor replica bookends from the Noble Collection; only 25,000 will be available in the U.S., $105.43), in a 3D Blu-ray/DVD Combo pack, a Blu-ray/DVD Combo pack and two-disc DVD. Extras: “Peter Jackson Invites You to the Set: In the Company of the Hobbit” and “Peter Jackson Invites You to the Set: All in a Day’s Work” behind-the-scenes featurette; Peter Jackson production videos; “New Zealand: Home of Middle-earth, Part 2” locations featurette; Ed Sheeran “I See Fire” music video. Vitals: Director: Peter Jackson. Stars: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Benedict Cumberbatch, Evangeline Lilly, Andy Serkis, Lee Pace, Luke Evans, Stephen Fry, Ken Stott, James Nesbitt, Orlando Bloom, Elijah Wood, Hugo Weaving, Mikael Persbrandt, Sylvester McCoy, Aidan Turner, Dean O’Gorman, Graham McTavish, Adam Brown, Peter Hambleton, John Callen, Mark Hadlow, Jed Brophy, William Kircher, Stephen Hunter, Ryan Gage, John Bell, Manu Bennett, Lawrence Makoare. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 161 min., Fantasy Adventure, Box office gross: $255.576 million, Warner. 3stars

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