Starring: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Aidan Turner, Graham McTavish, James Nesbitt, Ken Stott, Dean O’Gorman
Written By: JRR Tolkien, Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, Guillermo del Toro
Directed By: Peter Jackson
Studio: Warner Bros
Buy On Amazon.com
The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies theatrical version was okay but wasn’t all I hoped it to be. The extended edition adds about 20 minutes back into the movie and I’m happy with the final result. Peter Jackson knows how to put together a perfect Blu-Ray/DVD as well so this is a must for any Hobbit/LOTR fan.
I already reviewed the Hobbit with my original review (http://new.readjunk.com/reviews/blu-ray-reviews/the-hobbit-the-battle-of-the-five-armies-blu-ray-dvd-ultraviolet/), but I’ll talk about the extended edition scenes that were added back into the movie. Unlike the theatrical edition, this version was rated R because of the added violence to the battle. The dwarves and other characters each get their moment during the battle, which was clearly missing from the theatrical version. You see more of Balin, Bifur, Bombur, Bofur and the rest not named Kili, Fili and Thorin. I still think Beorn got short changed a little during the battle but he has one or two more scenes. We actually see the dwarves vs elves battle before the orcs show up. It adds a lot more to the scene when the elves decide to help out the dwarves and fight side by side.
There’s a lot of more blood, characters getting stomped and flatten and more beheadings. Dain Ironfoot was really shortchanged in the theatrical so he got some much deserved screentime in the extended. More battle scenes with him plus after the battle with him being crowned King of Erebor. That’s kind of an important moment, not sure why it was left out of the original release. There’s a scene involving dwarves vs orcs on ice via a chariot. That was in the trailer so not sure why it was left out of theatrical except maybe it was cut for time? After the battle, we got the funeral scene, Dain as the King scene, and some extended scenes of Bilbo back in Bag End.
Besides the big battle at the end, we got more scenes with Smaug and Laketown early on, a lot more footage from Dol Goldur, and a nice moment between Gandalf and Radagast when he gives Gandalf his staff. That staff is the one he has in Fellowship of the Ring. The biggest complaint I had about the last two movies was the made up character Alfrid. When he didn’t get it in the end of theatrical, it made me mad. He’s such an asshole of a character and one that shouldn’t have been alive. Well my prayers have been answered and he no longer survives in the extended edition. It was a fitting ending and one that should have been in the theatrical release. Peter Jackson pulled this crap in Lord of the Rings as well. He kept Saruman alive in the theatrical but killed him in the extended. I don’t get his thinking on those decisions.
The first part of the Appendices is about 5 hours long. If you’ve seen other extended editions, you know how much work and effort goes into these Blu-Rays/DVDs. You go through the entire filmmaking process, get lots of behind the scenes footage of every scene, actor interviews, crew interviews and other things. What’s great about these featurettes is it’s really WETA and the crew that are the stars of them. You see how much work goes into making these movies. They barely see their own family for a year or so and they consider each other family in a way. There’s also a fair share of goofing around as well. I absolutely love watching these and will miss this going forward.
The last part of the Appendices is dedicated to the Battle itself, the makeup, the costume design, the characters of Tauriel, Dain, Thranduil, set design, and other things like that. I watched a few things of this disc but there’s a lot of to get through so I didn’t see all of it yet. I plan to watch the rest of it this week though. I did watch the touching tribute to Andrew Lesnie towards the end of Appendices. The cinematographer worked on all the Lord of the Rings, Hobbit movies, as well as Planet of the Apes movies. The tribute is about 5 minutes long and it’s just footage of him working, and goofing around. You can’t help but get choked up over it, especially with Shore’s beautiful score from LOTR.
The Hobbit movies aren’t perfect movies but I enjoyed them very much. Battle of the Five Armies might be my least favorite but the extended edition makes it a lot better. Now that everything is done, it probably would have been wise to cut down these movies to two movies like they originally intended. 2 movies and then make them extra long in the extended editions perhaps. With that said, The Hobbit trilogy is still fun, entertaining and I loved watching the majority of it. If The Silmarillion is made in my lifetime, I just hope it’s not stretched out too thin with useless characters.
Plus The Film Makers’ Commentary
Includes New Zealand: Home of Middle-Earth – Part 3
The Appendices Part II: The Gathering Storm – The Chronicles of “”The Hobbit”” – Part 3:
Learn what it was really like to be on set with stories from cast and crew as they share their most essential, memorable and entertaining moments from production, and see stunts and effects in action as they’re filmed.
The Appendices Part 12: Here at Journey’s End:
Play alongside the filmmakers as they create one of the most complex cinematic battles ever filmed. Watch how makeup, hair, prosthetics, costumes and weapons come together to form new characters, and explore key realms. Then join the filmmakers as they bid an emotional farewell to Middle-Earth.
French Dolby Digital 5.1
English DTS-HD MA 7.1
Widescreen 2.40:1 Color
Bottom Line: Extended Edition is a lot better than the theatrical!
Running Time: 144 mins