Synopsis: Having reclaimed Erebor and vast treasure from the dragon Smaug, Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) sacrifices friendship and honor in seeking the Arkenstone, despite Smaug’s fiery wrath and desperate attempts by the Hobbit Bilbo (Martin Freeman) to make him see reason. Meanwhile, Sauron sends legions of Orcs in a sneak attack upon the Lonely Mountain. As the fate of Middle Earth hangs in the balance, the races of Men, Elves and Dwarves must decide whether to unite and prevail — or all die.
Review: Out now is the final extended edition of ‘The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies’, which closes out the adventures of Bilbo Baggins and his quest to help Thorin Oakenshield and his Dwarfs reclaim Erebore.
As somewhat of a casual fan of this series that has never read ‘The Hobbit’ and this being only my second viewing of the film, but my first of the Extended Cut. I can’t help bit feel that the this trilogy should never have been a trilogy. Its a change of my opinion from earlier in the year when I reviewed the standard edition of the Blu Ray, but truthfully I really struggled to retain interest and found my attention drifting a lot during the film. Something that never happened with the extended versions of the LOTR trilogy.
I’m not sure what it is. Maybe some scenes were unnecessarily long where as others were perhaps to rushed. But it certainly wasn’t the fault of the actors.
There are still some great moments and wonderful acting performances and the CGI creature work from Weta Workshop is just a brilliantly as it was in the previous films.
I just feel that the decision to create three films from the one book has fallen a bit flat and with the extra 20 minutes of footage added to this edition of the film. It shows moreso than it does on the original release.
The Extended Edition: The 20 extra minutes of footage in my opinion doesn’t really do anything to improve the film. Some of the extended sequences are barely noticeable whereas others add to the narrative of the film. The extended scenes where Gandalf is rescued from Dol Guldur being one of the high points. The biggest differences, and the ones more likely to attract fans, are the longer battle’s, most notably a fabulously fun and entertaining exchange and initial conflict between Dáin’s and Thranduil’s armies just before the Wereworms show up.
We also have an added scene set in Dale where Gandalf has a brief encounter with a large troll where we also witness Alfrid’s appropriate comeuppance while the dwarves drive a war machine pulled by goats towards Ravenhill and Azog. Perhaps the most welcome difference between this and the original version is a longer funeral sequences, which has a little more emotional resonance to what seemed to be a rushed funeral for Thorin in the original version.
Extras: As you’d imagine the set is loaded with extras and this set includes the long anticipated parts Eleven and Twelve of The Appendices; parts One and Two came out with the Extended Edition of ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’.
As always you can literally spend hours going through the extras and become an expert on most things regarding the Hobbit and how the films came together.
By far the most enjoyable extras for me though are the ones that involve the actors journey through middle earth. Most notably where the actors talk about filming the sequence for the Dungeons of Necromancer.
The full list of extras is below:
- Audio Commentary — Writer, producer and director Peter Jackson is joined by co-writer and producer Philippa Boyens
- New Zealand: Home of Middle-earth Part 3 (HD, 6 min) — Peter Jackson, cast and crew travel the various shooting locations across the New Zealand landscape and share their thoughts while explaining how they transformed it to represent Middle-earth.
- In the Dungeons of the Necromancer (HD, 30 min) — Cast and crew share their thoughts on the production set of Dol Guldur, the performances and characters while having some fun as well.
- Fire and Water (HD, 30 min) — A behind-the-scenes look at the making of Lake-town’s destruction, constructing the iconic black arrow and CG work behind Smaug’s death.
- Under the Shadow of the Mountain (HD, 18 min) — While on location in the remote Rock and Pillar Range, the cast and crew are met with some unexpected weather, bringing forth some new challenges.
- In the Wake of the Dragon (HD, 27 min) — A look at some very enthusiastic extras filming at Lake Pukaki while cast members receive a few unforeseen surprises, particularly Luke Evans.
- The Gathering of the Clouds (HD, 30 min) — As filming nears its end and the entire crew finds itself in a time crunch, cast members break the tension with some fun and laughs.
- Many Paintings (HD, 30 min) — The final goodbyes in the film turn out to be more heartfelt than expected and Jackson presents everyone with a gift as principal photography wraps.
- The Clouds Burst (HD, 30 min) — Interviews and BTS footage of cast and crew showing everyone in high spirits, but a fire on set interrupts shooting for a few days.
- A Last Desperate Stand (HD, 30 min) — Orlando Bloom and Ian McKellen give their final performances as the fictional iconic characters while Evangeline Lilly and Richard Armitage talk their memorable moments on set.
- Out from the Gate (HD, 30 min) — The Dwarf actors film their charge out of Erebor while looking at more CG work, and Martin Freeman gives his final farewell to Middle-earth.
- The Last Stage (HD, 34 min) — On the final days of shooting finds Jackson posting on Facebook, Armitage’s last performance and an emotional but fun wrap ceremony.
- Beneath the Thunder (HD, 90 min) — Broken into three segments that can be watched individually or sequentially, the documentary chronicles the creation of the final battle sequence, from designing the look and military tactics to carefully incorporating the digital filmmaking.
- The Peoples and Denizens of Middle-earth (HD, 88 min) — A closer look at the casting and stage production while giving special attention to characters Tauriel, Thranduil and Dáin.
- Realms of the Third Age (HD, 90 min) — Follows the construction and completion of Dale, Dol Guldur and Erebor by the art department and the design work of Weta Digital.
- Farewell, Friends! (HD, 33 min) — Precisely as the title implies, a collection of BTS footage and interviews looks at the end of a fifteen-year journey to bring Tolkien’s mythology to the screen.
- Bonus Features (HD) — Three more featurettes show Jackson and McKellen surprising Harry Knowles for his birthday (12 min), Jed “Nori” Brophy performing “Rivers of Gold” music video (5 min) and a one-on-one conversation with actor Adam Brown.
- Andrew Lesnie Remembered (HD, 6 min) — A special and fairly emotional commemorative piece for the late cinematographer behind all ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’ films.
- Impressive CGI and Battle Sequences
- Although a solid movie. It lacks the emotional impact and punch of the LOTR finale
- CGI and Models10
- Music and Sound Effects9.0
- Blu Ray Extras10