For those seeking to add to their hoard of Tolkien treasures there are now the various Blu-ray editions to consider trading copper for. For the purposes of this review, we will focus on the $35.99 Blu-ray Combo Pack.
There are three DVDs included; the Blu-ray feature, the Blu-ray special features disc and the standard edition DVD. I really like the fact that Warner included a standard DVD in the pack as if you decided to go on an adventure with your movie, a Blu-ray player is not always available at a friend’s or abroad. The colors, sound and epic vistas of the standard definition film satisfy my fantasy appetite just as well as the HD & Blu-ray versions. The Blu-ray sound and image for this edition are the benchmark for the industry – audiophiles and techies will be pleased.
Along with the 3 DVDs, there were two inserts: a mini Noble Collection catalogue of licensed Hobbit products, and a coupon code for an in-game item for the Lego Hobbit game.
My favorite part of the whole package is the coupon code to add the online digital version of the film to your free Flixter & UltraViolet accounts.
This enables you to watch the film on your favorite device anywhere you have a data connection. So if you are in the woods enjoying a bit of the Old Toby, now you can revisit the adventure to Erebor in high definition in the palm of your hand! Tolkien would be amazed and possibly alarmed at our “age of the gadget”.
Included on the special features are the Peter Jackson production videos we have become so familiar with since the classic set of the Lord of the Rings DVDs that inspired us all more than a decade ago. These tend to be a highlight for many of the fans, and they never fail to please. Of course the landscape scenery of “New Zealand: Home of Middle-earth, Part 2” featurette is stunning, as all exploration of New Zealand is.
While I am quite happy at the $35.99 level, as previously mentioned in the official press release, there are various options available to fans:
“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” will be available on Limited Collector’s Edition Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack for $105.43, Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack for $44.95, Blu-ray Combo Pack for $35.99 and 2-disc DVD Special Edition for $28.98. The Limited Collector’s Edition Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack includes two Gates of Erebor replica bookends from the Noble Collection and features the theatrical version of the film in 3D hi-definition, hi-definition and standard definition; only 25,000 will be available in the U.S. The Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack features the theatrical version of the film in 3D hi-definition, hi-definition and standard definition; the Blu-ray Combo Pack features the theatrical version of the film in hi-definition on Blu-ray; and the DVD features the theatrical version in standard definition. All versions include a digital version of the movie on Digital HD with UltraViolet.* Fans can also own “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” in Digital HD on April 8 via purchase from digital retailers.”
To sum up; I give the DVD package a solid “Baruk Khazâd! Khazâd ai-mênu!”
If by some strange chance meeting you arrived here seeking a review of the actual film – you can always peruse my “Desolation of the Critics” article here.
Fair travels friends…