If at first you don’t succeed, try another Hobbit movie. Hobbit part two is on Blu-ray as well as Godzilla vs. King Kong
By Peter Covino
There was a lot that was wrong with The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the first of the trilogy of films based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s famed book.
The story crept along slower than a wounded hobbit as director Peter Jackson stretched one book into a trilogy of films.
Middle-Earth fans can rejoice with the release of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment), the second film, coming to Blu-ray and DVD, Tuesday. This is a fast-paced, action-packed journey, loaded with orcs, giant spiders and of course, one awesome dragon.
Jackson is very much back on track with The Desolation of Smaug, a film that feels so much like the original Lord of the Rings films. You can now mark Dec. 17 as one of the important dates of the movie calendar year: That’s when the final film, The Hobbit: There and Back Again, comes to theaters.
This Blu-ray/DVD will fill that time nicely, featuring not only the theatrical version of the film (161 minutes), but a great collection of bonuses to make the journey through Middle-Earth all that more memorable.
Blu-ray/DVD bonus material includes:
• 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 – Experience the film’s challenges and demands, and journey alongside the director into Mirkwood, Lake-town and Dale as the movie’s most intense, pivotal scenes are created.
•Production Videos – Watch production come to life as Peter Jackson gives you an inside look at the making of the film.
•New Zealand: Home of Middle-earth, Part 2 – Travel with Peter Jackson and his team across the stunning locations of New Zealand transformed by the filmmakers into Middle-earth.
• “I See Fire” Music Video – Ed Sheeran’s theme song from the film is illuminated with this intimate music video.
Blu-ray editions of the film also contain an UltraViolet digital version of the film for viewing on portable devices such as tablets and smart phones.
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug continues the adventures of Bilbo Baggins as he journeys with the Wizard Gandalf and 13 dwarves on an epic quest to reclaim the Lonely Mountain and the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor.
The film stars Martin Freeman as Bilbo, Ian McKellen as Gandalf and Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield.
The film will be available in a Limited Collector’s Edition Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack (suggested price $105.43); Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack ($44.95); Blu-ray Combo Pack ($35.99) and 2-disc DVD Special Edition ($28.98). For serious fans, the collector’s edition includes two Gates of Erebor replica bookends in addition to the various discs.
After watching The Desolation of Smaug and the Lord of the Rings Trilogy you may find yourself believing in Middle-Earth, dragons and hobbits. There is no danger of getting lost in another world with King Kong vs. Godzilla or King Kong Escapes, two campy classic greats now available on Blu-ray from Universal Studios Home Entertainment.
These Toho films have been beautifully resorted to recapture all that campy goodness for the home theater. These are both the original versions made for American audiences.
King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962) is wonderfully ridiculous, from its crazy plot to the really cheap costume the guy in the ape suit has to wear.
Japan is a trouble again. Godzilla, who had been dormant since the last Godzilla film, is on the loose after breaking out of an iceberg and has a craving for some sushi in Tokyo.
Meanwhile, on the small Faro Island, a giant octopus has attacked the native village, but King Kong arrives just in time to save the village. The villagers always leave a supply of red berry juice for Kong (it puts him back to sleep) but as he is napping, he is whisked off to Japan by the executive of a pharmaceutical company who has plans for the giant ape.
Two monsters in Japan at the same time cannot be good, and soon there is a bout worthy of top-billing on Wrestlemania.
The craziness continues with King Kong Escapes (1967), a film without Godzilla, but it does feature a robot kong.
A Japanese/American production, it stars both American actors alongside Japanese actors.
This time out, there is an evil scientist who has created Mechani-King, a robotic version of King Kong. It’s purpose is to dig for a highly radioactive element found only at the North Pole.
Meanwhile, King Kong is at home on another island where he gets into fights with the other local monsters.
King Kong Escapes actually is fairly close in spirit to the original King Kong. He even falls in love with a woman.
Eventually, both kongs are in Japan and have a grand fight with the Tokyo Tower standing in for the Empire State Building.
Like King Kong vs. Godzilla, it’s a lot of fun to watch.
Godzilla fans already know that new big budget Godzilla film comes to theaters, May 16.
One more progamming note: Don’t forget that Game of Thrones Season Four premieres Sunday on HBO.