Blu-ray Review: The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies Extended Edition

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The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is based on the popular masterpiece The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien. The movie was directed by Peter Jackson and returns Ian McKellen as Gandalf the Grey, with Martin Freeman in the central role of Bilbo Baggins, and Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield. The international ensemble cast is led by Evangeline Lilly, Luke Evans, Lee Pace, Benedict Cumberbatch, Billy Connolly, James Nesbitt, Ken Stott, Aidan Turner, Dean O’Gorman, Graham McTavish, Stephen Fry and Ryan Cage. The film also stars Cate Blanchett, Ian Holm, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving, Orlando Bloom, Mikael Persbrandt, Sylvester McCoy, Peter Hambleton, John Callen, Mark Hadlow, Jed Brophy, William Kircher, Stephen Hunter, Adam Brown, John Bell, Manu Bennett and John Tui.

This epic conclusion picks up right where The Desolation of Smaug left off. We get to see a great battle between Smaug and Bard the Bowman at the very beginning of the movie where Bard the Bowman finds a way to defeat the evil beast and then the story sets off in a new direction that focuses mainly on Thorin Oakenshield.  The Dwarf king is now battling the dragon-sickness and is turning on all of his friends and allies. He has become extremely ill and paranoid and doesn’t want to share all of the new found riches with anyone. It’s almost like he’s possessed.

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As we watch all of these armies approach the Lonely Mountain, Bilbo takes it upon himself to try and make a truce between these armies because he knows that a much bigger threat is coming. They all find out that Sauron – the Dark Lord, an ancient enemy has returned to Middle-earth and has sent forth legions of Orcs in a stealth attack upon the Lonely Mountain. As we watch the darkness arrive, the races of Dwarves, Elves and Men put aside their differences to unite against this powerful dark army of Sauron’s.  The Battle of the Five Armies begins and it’s an amazing and lengthy watch. Ultimately the war comes to an end but not without sacrifice. Good does prevail over evil but Bilbo and everyone else that survives this battle will never be the same.

Okay, simply put this was an exciting watch and a near epic way to finish this fantastic fantasy trilogy that Peter Jackson and company created. From the breathtaking locations and scenery in New Zealand, to all of the amazing characters, I absolutely loved everything about this finale to The Hobbit saga. The camera has captured everything needed here to make this movie something really special.  The story has its dark and serious moments but it also has some humor at times as well, as expected in any of The Hobbit movies. The large and impressive cast assembled here is absolutely amazing, they all do a great job and have their moments to shine and it’s rare to see this many big names cast together like this. Hey we even get to see a little romance blossom for a brief time and we all saw this sort of begin during The Desolation of Smaug.

There’s also the amazing special effects that help bring this world of Middle-Earth to life and it’s all done very well. There might be a little too much CGI at times but I’m not complaining because it still looks really good. You want action? You got it because this movie is nonstop action from the exciting beginning to the touching ending. The characters slow down just enough at times to crank out some dialogue but the rest of the time, this movie is a wide open action extravaganza.

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The packaging for this Extended Edition Blu-ray comes with a thick slipcase instead of the slipcover the normal release came in. The front of the slipcase features the artwork you see up top. Inside is a black Blu-ray case that features the same artwork on the front and the back includes movie details, some images and list of extras. Each Blu-ray disc features individual “classic style” artwork. Inserting each disc, the menu screens were simple and easy to navigate. The picture and sound quality for this high-definition release were crisp and clear.

Bottom line is, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Extended Edition was a very long and fantastic watch and a near perfect way to end this fan favorite trilogy from Middle Earth. There’s twenty more minutes added and at least it wasn’t boring filler because the movie was still fast-paced and played out really smoothly. To me, the movie was already an instant classic and this Extended Edition makes it even more of a special watch in a few ways. First of all, you get more bloody action and secondly, this movie is Rated-R because of these added scenes and this is a first for this series. This 3-Disc Extended Edition Blu-ray releases on November 17th and is a must have.

Distributor: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

Run Time: 164 Minutes

Rated: R

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition 16×9 Widescreen (2.40:1)

Blu-ray Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 / Dolby Digital 5.1 French

Subtitles: English SDH, French and Spanish

All-New Special Features: The nine plus hours of new special features boasts audio commentary with Peter Jackson, the film’s director/producer/screenwriter, and Philippa Boyens, co-producer/screenwriter, as well as The Appendices, a multi-part documentary focusing on various aspects of the film and the Trilogy.

  • Commentary with Peter Jackson, Director/Producer/Screenwriter and Philippa Boyens, Co-Producer/Screenwriter
  • The Appendices – The Appendices Parts XI and XII showcase a chronological history of the filming of The Battle of the Five Armies, documenting the work done on set chronologically through the three shooting blocks and in the world of its digital effects.
  • New Zealand: Home of Middle-earth – Part 3
  • Digital HD Copy

 

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