I have finally acquired a copy of the Extended Edition of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, and am delighted to report that as with the EE for An Unexpected Journey, I very much enjoyed the EE cut of movie #2! Which is not terribly surprising, given that I very much loved the theatrical cut. (And as a general reminder, I am indeed on Team Tauriel.)
Details behind the fold! Send the burglar in for spoilers! (And for reference, TheOneRing.net has an excellent breakdown of the specific new footage, right over here.)
The thing that makes me happiest about the EE cut is that there is additional footage with Beorn, which I think helps that part of the movie considerably. And in particular, there’s an extended sequence that gets closer to how the party is introduced to Beorn in the book. It’s not quite as humorous as how the book plays it, but I think it’s a great compromise between how the book plays it and the mood the film had already established about Beorn being a dangerous skin-changer who might possibly kill them. So I liked those changes quite a bit.
Next best thing about the additions: Thrain! We actually get to see him in Dol Guldur, and he is indeed quite pitiable. What really caught my attention in the scene he has with Gandalf is that we see that he’s had a finger cut off–a finger that was previously bearing one of the Seven Rings of the dwarves. Which is full of all kinds of OH SHIT implications about what all Sauron’s pulling off in Dol Guldur. Very interesting as well that Thrain flips out a bit when he hears that Thorin is going to the mountain–because he clearly knows that the place is a danger to his son. It helps give additional weight to that whole idea, I feel.
I liked the additional mentions of the tombs of the Nine, courtesy of Galadriel checking in on the Exposition Telepathy Channel with Gandalf. I did indeed note that reference to ‘Angmar’ in there.
The additional Mirkwood footage worked mostly well for me, though I think you could make an argument for it running a little long. I noted in particular the bit where Thorin shoots at the stag, and how they did include the bit with Bombur falling into the stream. I note with relief that they did not proceed to have the dwarves give Bombur shit for being fat at that point, as does happen in the book; the movie dances close to the line as it is, in regards to the others teasing Bombur for his size. But in the book, he’s actively shamed for it and I’m glad the movie left that bit out.
I could have done entirely without the additional footage with the Master of Lake-town and his dinner, though. Sorry, Mr. Fry. *^_^*;; But I DID like the footage with him and his lackey turning the dwarves away when they ask for help for the ailing Kili–because it makes their eventual winding up at Bard’s house work more smoothly, given that Bard had turned against them once he realized that Thorin was that Thorin.
I was a little bit sad to not get anything else pertaining to Tauriel, but on the whole, I was quite happy with what we got! More thoughts to come if I have them!