Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson returns to Middle-earth with the final of three films based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s enduring masterpiece. Set in Middle-earth 60 years before the epic Lord of the Rings trilogy, the adventure follows the journey of Bilbo Baggins, who is swept into an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom from the fearsome dragon Smaug. Approached out of the blue by the wizard Gandalf, Bilbo finds himself joining a company of dwarves on a journey into wild, treacherous lands swarming with beasts of every ilk. After reaching Erebor and encountering the dragon Smaug, Five Armies assemble for an epic battle that could decide the future of all in Middle-earth. The Extended Edition film is 20 minutes longer with new and extended scenes not seen in the theatrical release.
2015, Color, Rated R, 2 hours 44 mins
DTS-MA 7.1, 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio
Starring: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage & Evengeline Lilly
Directed by: Peter Jackson
I read The Hobbit twice in high school and once in college. Obviously, I loved the story and I escaped to Middle earth as often as I could. This movie, though very entertaining, never quite got me…there and back again. I can’t help but feel that the movie would have worked better in two parts and not three. There was too much filler for my taste and the story was revised a bit too much to help it blend into The Lord of the Rings films. That said, I realize that this story will never be equaled our surpassed with its loving attention to detail and character development. It is a gorgeous film to watch. The 7.1 sound is stunning in its envelopment. However, there are a few things that irked me. The totally unnecessary love angle between the dwarf and Elven maiden, the physics defying stunts of Legolas jumping from falling rocks and hanging upside down from a war bat (it was comical) and that insufferable Radagast character!
The extra 20 minutes actually helped the film for me. If this extra footage was included in the theatrical release, it would have been given an R rating due to gore/violence. Basically, it shows Orcs getting decapitated and dwarfs getting stomped to death by rock trolls. A little too graphic for the kids, but adults wouldn’t bat an eye at it. The real revelation here is in the documentary sections of the extras. Jackson reveals how much of the movie was filmed on the fly, due to time constraints place on his crew. Sometimes he gave the cast an extra long lunch hour just he could figure out how he was going to stage the next scene. Some of the props arrive on the very day of shooting. Dialog had to be written, almost on the spot. It is a wonder he didn’t collapse from a nervous breakdown! My advice if you are a fan, get this box set. The extra footage enhances a generally strong film and fleshes the story out a bit more. The box it comes in, by the way, is very nice and sturdy…for the collector. Recommended!
The movie in all of its CGI glory is a marvel to behold. The PQ is exceptional with amazing detail in costumes and set pieces. Close ups reveal wrinkles and make up effects (really noticeable on Legolas), with deep black shadows and dazzling skyscapes. This is a great movie to show off your home theater, both for picture and sound. Lots of surround action during the battle scenes and the sub woofer gets a vigorous work out most of the time. The question remains, will it be re-released in UHD-BD and Atmos next year?
Did the king return in The Return of the King?
There are over nine hours of extras. There are commentaries, the Appendices (parts XI-XII), New Zealand: Home of Middle Earth-Part 3. An Ultraviolet copy is also included.