Peter Jackson made a smart change of hobbit.
As he adapted J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit for a trilogy of films, Jackson badly miscalculated with the first movie, a slow and ponderous affair that dragged out the story. But he recovered well with the entertaining The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.
As is generally expected of Jackson's work, it's a huge film. The dragon Smaug is an enormous creature in a room that seems to go on for miles, surrounded not merely by gold but by mountainous, shifting heaps of it. But the first Hobbit movie also looked big, yet diminished by its storytelling.
The Desolation of Smaug is a grand adventure and a character piece, taking us deeper into the mind and heart of the hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman). It blends characters from the previous films with new ones, notably Tauriel, a high-powered elf played by Evangeline Lilly. Purists have argued that Tauriel is not in Tolkien, but she makes an excellent addition to the screen version.
Extras include a set visit hosted by Jackson and behind-the-scenes videos of production. And, if the packages already mentioned do not meet your needs, Warner also has an elaborate gift set with the DVD, Blu-ray, 3-D Blu-ray and a set of bookends for $105.45. Other packages include the DVD ($28.98), Blu-ray-DVD-digital combo ($35.99) and that package adding the 3-D Blu-ray ($44.95).