New on Blu-ray: “Desolation of Smaug” Extended, “Maleficent,”
For the week of November 4th, Warner Home Entertainment debuts The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – Special Extended Edition on Blu-ray this Tuesday. With 25 minutes of additional footage included, Smaug is Peter Jackson’s definitive vision of the second Hobbit chapter. Also set for release this week are Maleficent, Planes: Fire & Rescue, Hercules and A Most Wanted Man.
Like Jackson’s other Middle-earth films, Desolation of Smaug receives an Extended Cut just in time for the next installment’s release. The Hobbit trilogy’s final chapter, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies arrives in theaters December 17. In Smaug, Bilbo and his company continue their quest to reclaim the dwarf stronghold from the titular dragon. The film stars Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Ian McKellen and Benedict Cumberbatch.
This extended version includes new and extended scenes to flesh out the overall story. Several additions are taken straight from the novel, including more time spent with skin changer Beorn as well as more perils during the Mirkwood segment. Two discs of bonus features are also included, offering a greater level of behind-the-scenes footage than the April Blu-ray release.
Smaug will be available Tuesday in various formats and retailer exclusives. 2D and 3D versions are the standard versions available for purchase. Target will offer an exclusive 2D steelbook. Best Buy’s exclusive will include a replica of Thorin’s key. Following up last year’s “Riddles in the Dark” exclusive statue, Amazon will be selling a “Barrel Escape” statue exclusive for both its 2D and 3D editions.
Buena Vista Home Entertainment debuts two of its summer releases on Tuesday. First up is Maleficent starring Angelina Jolie and Elle Fanning. Directed by Robert Stromberg, Maleficent retells the Sleeping Beauty tale with a twist. Jolie plays the horned sorceress, who curses Princess Aurora, daughter of an ambitious king.
The changes to the classic divided critics and audiences. Matt Marshall found the film “tailor-made for Jolie,” but a bit choppy at times. Chad Gleason was disappointed with the film, finding little beyond the visual achievements. Maleficent will be released as a Blu-ray, DVD, Digital HD combo pack.
The other release from Buena Vista this week is the Planes sequel, Planes: Fire & Rescue. After winning the Wings Around the Globe competition, Dusty Crophopper learns that he may never fly again. Forced to shift gears, Dusty goes from being a hot-shot racer to firefighter in training.
Marshall was mixed on the film finding that “Fire & Rescue works its way out of the first film’s nosedive.” Planes: Fire & Rescue flies onto home media shelves Tuesday as a Blu-ray, DVD, Digital HD combo pack. Best Buy, Target and Walmart will be offering exclusives. Best Buy’s copy will have exclusive packaging. Target’s will include a Brave Firefighters Digital Storybook download. Walmart exclusive will package an additional DVD, featuring “Wildfire Air Attack Team Trainer.”
Paramount Pictures will be releasing Hercules this Tuesday on home media. WWE’s Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson stars as the demigod strongman in this Brett Ratner action flick. Based on graphic novel, Hercules: The Thracian Wars, Hercules is recruited to train Greek farmers into an army. Marshall felt Hercules was ” heavy on brawn and light on brains, but it holds to true to being a fun B-movie Saturday afternoon romp.”
Hercules arrives on Blu-ray this Tuesday as a Blu-ray, DVD, Digital HD combo pack. A 3D version will also be available. Both versions will carry an extended cut of the film with 4-5 minutes of extra footage. Walmart will be selling Hercules as an exclusive steelbook. Best Buy will be selling 2D and 3D copies with a bonus disc.
Last up for the week is political thriller, A Most Wanted Man from Lionsgate. Based on the 2008 John le Carre novel, A Most Wanted Man explores a contemporary approach to international terrorism. The late Philip Seymour Hoffman stars a German agent who investigates an illegal immigrant from Chechnya. Rounding out the cast are Rachel McAdams, Robin Wright, Willem Dafoe and Daniel Bruhl. A Most Wanted Man is available as Blu-ray, Digital HD combo pack.