The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug: The Extended Edition, yet another extended edition in the Middle Earth saga.
Going into the extended edition of The Desolation of Smaug, I entirely expected that the extra scenes to not add much to the overall story, much like extended edition of An Unexpected Journey, and to my surprise, that was far from the case. In fact, much like The Lord of the Rings: Extended Editions, the extended edition is the definitive version of The Desolation of Smaug.
Instead of my usual critique format, I have decided to list six reasons why the Extended Edition is the superior version. Also, having not read the Hobbit novel, this is my opinion of how the extra scenes make the movie better as a cinematic experience, not as an adaptation. Obviously, if you have not seen the theatrical cut of the Desolation of Smaug, then this post will include spoilers.
Thorin's Father and Character Depth
Easily, the most significant addition to the EE (Extended Edition) of DOS (Desolation of Smaug) is the entire subplot involving Thorin's father, Thráin. In the previous film, it was briefly mentioned that Thráin disappeared after the battle, and in the theatrical edition, his part is cut entirely. However, the EE inserts in the entire subplot about Thráin. The cut is so drastically different that some of the new scenes are not merely additions, but rather replacements for the old content at times, particularly when Gandalf confronts the Necromancer. With Thráin's additions, there is another subplot involving one of the Dwarven rings as well, which adds further depth to the world that Peter Jackson has crafted, and it adds foreshadowing for the next film. Also, the scenes with Thorin and his father add more depth to Thorin's character, as it humanizes the character.
Beorn receives a couple of brief scenes in the theatrical cut, and while he serves as a decent plot device, he is lacking, even for a supporting character. Thankfully, the EE includes several more scenes with Beorn, which expand upon his character with actual character traits. While his scenes are not all that necessary for the theatrical cut, it is good to see more of Beorn.
The Nine's Origin
In the theatrical cut, only a brief line referring that the Necromancer raised human warriors from the dead with little to no explanation. However, in the EE, there is a brief flashback to when the Witch King is buried, as well as more lines of dialogue that expand the origin of the Nazgûl, and thus adding world building elements.
Mirkwood Wandering and the White Stag
With the additional scenes of the Bilbo and the Dwarves wandering through Mirkwood, the disorientating atmosphere is amplified for the audience. In addition to that aspect, a scene with a White Stag is included, which is apparently a scene from the book that was oddly missing from the theatrical cut.
Of the additional scenes, the Laketown ones are the least important to the overall story. However, they do provide more motivation for the Master of Lake-town’s actions, and the scenes with Dwarves fighting off the Laketown guards is quite fun, even if it kind of opens a possible plot hole.
A More Complete Experience
Even though The Desolation of Smaug is an excellent film in its theatrical cut, the Extended Edition makes it a much more complete experience, much like LOTR Extended Editions. It adds more character depth, lore, and, with the exception of one or two scenes, it makes for an overall superior experience. Of course, if you already hate the Hobbit movies for your personal reasons, then nothing is going to change your opinion.
Have you seen the Extended Edition of The Desolation of Smaug? Do you plan to buy it? Please comment below and let me know.
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