‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’ Featurette Explores the New Zealand Locations

Published 2 years ago by , Updated June 16th, 2013 at 5:39 am,

The first trailer for Peter Jackson’s second installment of his Hobbit trilogy, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, was released earlier this week. While reader responses were overall positive, quite a few people commented on the CGI, either saying that there was far too much or that it just didn’t look all that great.

While the fantasy adventure  may be pretty reliant on having a team of effects people working hard on it in post-production, one thing that can be said for Peter Jackson’s directing is that he’s gone to great lengths to find the sweeping, beautiful landscapes that provide the backdrop for exterior shots of Middle-earth.

With that in mind, the latest featurette for The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug is all about location: naming and exploring each of the real-life places used to bring Middle-earth to life. Featuring interviews with the cast and crew, clips from the movie, and comparisons of the New Zealand landscapes both before and after computer-generated additions, the featurette is definitely worth a watch for fans who want to get a look at the logistics of filming such a grand adventure, especially if you also happen to be a keen traveler.

The Hobbit The Desolation of Smaug filming on location in New Zealand The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Featurette Explores the New Zealand Locations

Martin Freeman jokes at the end that the featurette is a great advertisement for New Zealand (in fact, since it ends with the url of New Zealand’s tourism site, that’s probably exactly what it is), and it’s fair to say that Peter Jackson’s insistence upon shooting on location across the country has been a great boon to New Zealand’s tourism.

In 2004, shortly after the release of The Return of the King, the International Visitor Survey found that six percent of tourists listed the Lord of the Rings films as one of their main reasons for visiting and one percent (the equivalent of  $32.8m in spend) listed it as their sole reason. With Hobbiton now built of sustainable materials and designed to last, the Tolkien films have left a permanent legacy behind in New Zealand.

Does the featurette make you want to take a trip out to Middle-earth, or is it too far to go for a hobbit-hole?


The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug opens in theaters on December 13th, 2013.

Follow H. Shaw-Williams on Twitter @HSW3K
TAGS: The hobbit
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  1. A featurette on the desolation of smaug? It’s made from footage of past featurettes. Promotional remakes?

  2. This isn’t a new featurette, it has been around for weeks if not months. Nice of you to catch up.

    • Yeah it was released when The Hobbit came out on Blu Ray. Not sure why sites are report on this as if it is new.

      • WB only just posted it online yesterday, for everyone who doesn’t own the Blu-ray.

  3. Wow! Just wow! New Zealand is gorgeous! I am very happy to see that the cast & crew weren’t taking their stay for granted. Very beautiful country. Thanks for the upload!

    I am not planning to visit Hobbiton.

    • I am now** planning to visit Hobbiton.

      • @Guardians of the Galaxy-hahaha, that was a pretty funny slip.

        When I first saw Lord of the Rings, (I didn’t like the movie and I can’t stand the books) I wanted to immediately travel there. I’ve watched all the movies for the scenery/locations. It is beautiful.

        I have forgotten that is one of the countries I want to see (because it is real, not CGI).

        I’ve been to 8 countries and 22 states, and many were exotic locations (I love traveling) and New Zealand is once again in my memory and on my list.
        Again, I really could care less about the movies but hey, I pay to watch something beautiful and I let my imagination take me there.

        For me, this featurette is new because I don’t own the movies. and even if I did, it is nice to show people something that not everyone can see. and it doesn’t cost a thing.

  4. Very good and has many improvements and exciting new.

  5. New Zealand…like Lord of the Rings!

  6. Is it worth it? Absolutely! NZ is a stunning place + they’ve got a funny accent, though it can be a bit expensive since the film locations are quite far from each other.. At least the Kiwi dollar worth less. (1NZD = 0.81USD)

  7. Not only would I like to take a trip to New Zealand, I wouldn’t mind enjoying a trip within the trip while there. 😉

  8. “Just” is spelled wrong in the first paragraph.