‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’ Featurette: Welcome to Beorn’s House

Published 1 year ago by , Updated November 11th, 2013 at 1:11 pm,

Smaug – voiced and played through motion capture means by Benedict Cumberbatch – is the dangerous fire-breathing cause of so much trouble in the next installment of Peter Jackson’s second Middle-earth trilogy, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. However, he’s not the only giant beast that halfling Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), wizard Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen) and their dwarf companions will encounter, as their quest to reclaim the Lonely Mountain continues.

Warner Bros., in an example of marketing synergy with Denny’s, has unveiled a new featurette for The Desolation of Smaug, which is focused around the home of the character named Beorn (portrayed by Swedish actor Mikael Persbrandt). For those not familiar, J.R.R. Tolkien described Beorn as a man with long black hair, a thick beard and unusually impressive size/strength. In other words, he might’ve been an inspiration for J.K. Rowling when she created Hagrid in the Harry Potter series, so many decades after Tolkien’s original novel was published.

However, the different between Harry’s half-giant friend and Beorn – who lives between the Misty Mountains and Mirkwood – is that the latter has a habit of turning into a bear (and back again), every so often. The Desolation of Smaug trailers released so far have included glimpses at Beorn when he’s shape-shifted into bear form. However, the latest behind-the-scenes clip for the movie focuses specifically on the amount of work that went into making the enormous set piece that is his home (and what it’s like to walk around on the set).

Transformation and change appear to be key elements of The Desolation of Smaug, in terms of story and character development. Case in point, the latest TV spot calls attention to the dangerous events unfolding around Middle-earth, as forces of darkness begin to gather and, in the process, shatter the peace. Not to mention, we find out just who the mysterious Necromancer (also played via mo-cap by Cumberbatch) really is… in case you hadn’t already guessed or read Tolkien’s Middle-earth literature.

Meanwhile, Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) seems to have grown more unsettlingly obsessed with reclaiming his birthright, even if it comes at a terrible price to those around him. And, mind you, that’s before he and his companions even find their way into the Lonely Mountain, where a creature most foul awaits them…

hobbit desolation smaug beorn featurette 570x294 The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Featurette: Welcome to Beorns House

Jackson’s first Hobbit movie, An Unexpected Journey, was more divisive than his previous Tolkien adaptations, yet we’re already starting to see how carefully it planted the seeds for what’s to come next in the story. Indeed, between that and the rising stakes/quotient of fantastical obstacles in our heroes’ way – be they sinister dragons, mistrusting elves, giants spiders or good ol’ orcs – The Desolation of Smaug may impress even those who weren’t so crazy about how Bilbo’s grand adventure began.

Be sure and let us know how The Desolation of Smaug is looking thus far to you, in the comments section of this article.


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

Follow Sandy Schaefer on Twitter @feynmanguy
TAGS: The hobbit
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  1. I can’t wait to see CumberSmaug! Finally a decent dragon movie!

  2. After watching the extended cut of An Unexpected Journey, I am so ready for this movie!!!

    • Oh, there’s an extended Hobbit 1?
      Can you tell us what scenes were added/changed?

      • only 13 minutes added

        • Only 13 minutes?
          Fellowship has +30 minutes, Towers has +42, while Return has +50!
          But considering that they have already stretched a thin story into 3 films, and filled it with filler, it’s not surprising.

          • Getting pretty tired of saying this, astounding how many people say one book was stretched into 3 films when that’s completely wrong.

            for the 9384938493849793131083201283075017391273th time, the 3rd film is heavily influenced by a postscript tolkien made that was over 100 pages. Get your facts straight.

            • @Joe

              I know my facts, dude – I’m a Tolkien nerd (HUGE fan of the books and BIG fan of the LotR film trilogy).

              But nevertheless, I STILL have problems with that.
              Simple: Peter Jackson is telling a Hobbit story + the story from the appendices – the one about Necromancer and the White Coucil, right?
              And that is all fine and great… but why is the film called THE HOBBIT then?!

              The dealings of Necromancer and the White Council have absolutely ZERO influence on the story of Bilbo – the TITULAR Hobbit.
              It seems that that subplot will be in around 1/4 of the Hobbit trilogy (which is quite a lot, really) and it seems like Jackson wants to make Hobbit film + LotR Origins film… which is OK, but then don’t MIX them!

              Wouldn’t it be better if we had TWO Hobbit films, free of any intrusion of Radagast, Galadriel, Saruman and the Necromancer…
              …and then have the THIRD film, which would serve as a LotR prequel, which would show the story of the Necromancer (AKA You-know-who) and the White Coucil.

              In fact, if I remember correctly, that was the INITIAL plan by Jackson & Co. – to make 2 Hobbit film and the third film that will bridge The Hobbit and LotR.
              But in the end, they decided to mix the ”bridge” scenes with the Hobbit scenes, and got a very uneven film.

              • Drvobradi and anyone else who constantly complains about three Hobbit movies…

                Get over it, or don’t see it.

                Obviously, at 1+ billion dollars earned after the first film, there are plenty of us who enjoy spending as much time in Middle Earth as possible.

                • Who says that we do not want to see the films?
                  I was only saying that it would have been better to have TWO Hobbit films, and ONE film about White Council vs The Necromancer, rather than mixing the Necromancer story into the Hobbit’s story.
                  That’s still 3 films.

                  • Perhaps not you, Drvobradi, but there are some others who continually come into these discussions to add nothing positive, but only to express that they feel Jackson et. al. went for a “money grab” (as if any film isn’t seeking a profit), and such a “small book” should not have been expanded into three films (as if screen plays have never differed from books before). Myself and others, conversely, are getting tired of hearing it, especially because no one is forcing these malcontents to see the films, much less post their comments about movies that they don’t want to see. I have indicated over and over again…any real fan of Middle Earth enjoys all the time they can get there. Furthermore, this is likely our last journey there, since no one is likely to redo these epic, Oscar-winning, and wildly popular movies for decades to come.

                  • …and by the way, what you suggest would have been fine, but it wasn’t done that way. I and countless others are enjoying it nonetheless. My only personal complaint, and it is a small one, is that the Orcs are CGI. I would have preferred actors in costume and makeup, like in the LOTR.

                    • @ Jeff
                      I feel the same way about the Orcs.
                      After seeing The Hobbit in the theater the group I was with went to dinner and when we started talking about the movie (which all of us loved) 4 out of 6 of us said how we were bummed that almost all of the Orcs were CGI, especially the White Orc.
                      I understand that every Orc can’t be real and there were a lot of CGI Orcs in TLotR but from what I can tell the percentages of what was real and what wasn’t from the original movies to The Hobbit was pretty drastic.

            • You keep saying that Joe, but most people here already know that. And I still hated the movie. It’s not unusual for writers to have notes of an extensive back story, but it’s also not uncommon for them to tell the basic story without getting into the notes.

              The Hobbit is a great book and somehow manages to tell a story with only minor references to lots of things going on outside the story. It’s also a refreshing story because it has a singular perspective (for instance, when Bilbo is unconscious what happens is relayed to him later). The singular perspective gives the title “the Hobbit” a little meaning. A story can be set in the seventies and refer to the oil shortage, the recession, etc., but it doesn’t have to get into the daily goings on of Presidents and the Middle east.

              I could go on and on, but I’ve done it before. If you like it, then be happy with that. I don’t understand the need to trash every differing opinion, and assume everyone is ignorant of LOTR appendices. I like plenty of things that are trashed daily on this site and I don’t care at all or have to defend it all the time.

              I for one would have preferred a pithy, 2.5 hour single movie that moved along and didn’t have to make everything obviously foreboding and have to glaringly reference the LOTR. That really wasn’t the book I’ve read and enjoyed numerous times.

              • No one is “trashing” your opinion. We are simply expressing ours that we are getting tired of hearing yours, especially when all you have to do is NOT SEE THE FILMS if you don’t want to.

                • Exactly!

                  If you don’t like Peter Jackson’s versions then simply don’t buy a ticket!

                  “What should I do with myself.” You ask yourself. Now you can jump on to millions of other threads as to why Afleck should not be Batman. That is a welcoming and popular whining topic.

                  • Ugh, I hate comments like yours – the ones that have nothing to contribute.

                    ”What should I do with myself”
                    So, basically… you are saying that we don’t get a right to comment on something, because it isn’t made by us?

                    Well then, let me tell you a story about a young man called Peter.
                    You see, back in 1978, Peter watched an animated film called The Lord of the Rings.
                    It left a pretty big impression on him – however, he said to himself: ”There are parts of it that I could do differently, according to my vision.”.

                    Now, I have absolutely no doubt that, in 1978, Peter was saying to his friends:
                    ”I could to it [a certain scene] better than it was shown in the film!”
                    and that there was always some asshole who would say to him:
                    ”Shut up, Peter – if you don’t like what you’ve see on the screen, then don’t buy a ticket and don’t express your opinion!”

                    20 years later, Peter started filming his own version of The Lord of the Rings, which later became a loved classic.

                • How about, DON’T READ THE COMMENTS if you are tired of “hearing” them. And certainly don’t comment on them. They don’t seem to be your thing, and there are plenty of others here who love the movie, so move on. It’s easy to skip the comments and move on to the ones you like.

                  Meanwhile, people who have different opinions and ideas about how any property is handled, enjoy reading like-minded comments and sharing their ideas.

  3. So excited!

  4. Getting really excited for the next film. I’m going to watch the extended Blue Ray this weekend and then I’ll be at fever pitch!

  5. Does anyone know if we’ll see Smaug attack Lake Town in this one? I’m struggling to understand how much we’ll see in this next film and what’ll be left for part 3.

    • I believe Smaug’s fate will be decided in this film.
      They need a climax, and I don’t believe they will end it on clifhanger.

  6. I actually read on Wikipedia that Desolation of Smaugs running time is 170 minutes. When did it change from 160 minutes. 170 sounds good to me.

  7. I can’t wait to see Beorn! He is my absolute favorite character in the book, and it’s a shame Tolkien did not utilize him in LOTR (I know by the time the story of LOTR takes place, Beorn has died). And I’m prepared for the disappointment of not having Bilbo and the dwarves talk to Gwaihir. I don’t think Peter Jackson is into the “talking animals” stuff.

  8. Personally, I enjoyed The Hobbit much more than I did LOTR.

    I found the acting an casting superior (NO ELIJAH WOOD THANK GOD!!!); it has more depth/complexity in mood, tone and atmosphere. I found LOTR stiflingly melodramatic, i.e. cheesy, and drowned itself in long, viscous, anticlimactic sequences set in “dramatic” slow-motion.

    I admit the fights in LOTR were more “epic” in scale and visually appealing (the opening Sauron narrative and Balrog encounter in Fellowship + continuation in Towers being on my short-list for most enthralling movie moments, ever). BUT, to me, they got diluted in the ridiculously over-drawn, poorly edited, soapishly sentimental and/or utterly boring rest of the film(s) with all the repetitive dialogue + endless “dramatic” glances, nods and speeches.

    I strongly feel the first 2 films would have profited tremendously in the artistic sense, with a good 45-60 minutes trimmed around the edges of every major, continuous sequence (excepting large battles), especially all of the character-building (but not really), protagonist conflict/resolution dialogue and/or wistfully orchestral unspoken scenes (mostly all that involve Frodo & Sam talking to each other and Elijah Wood’s puppy dog eyes glancing stupidly/lovingly toward x for tortuously slow, unending minutes).

    In contrast, I felt that the corresponding “slow-paced” scenes in The Hobbit had more character, more color, more wit, more soul, and genuinely enjoyable whimsy. I LOVED the dwarf-gathering at Bilbo’s house, and that great song.

    The Hobbit seems more somber, serious, dramatic in a good way, and dark even in moments of levity. I can take it seriously, instead of cornily, like with LOTR. The troll scene is funny fermented in macabre, and the mountain giants are majestically ominous.

    But my favorite part of all are the Necromancer scenes, which are expertly eerie and deliciously creepy.

    I know my view is in the small minority, but hey, it’s a matter of taste, just putting it out there.

    I’m heartily looking forward to Desolation of Smaug, which I bet will be Jackson’s finest Tolkien film to date, and features one of my favorite villains in all of literature/cinema.