THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES Ext Ed
released OUT NOW! 2014 | 15 | Blu-ray 3d/Blu-ray/dVd Director Peter Jackson Cast Martin Freeman, richard armitage, Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom, evangeline lilly, luke evans
The backlash against the Hobbit trilogy has been surprisingly vicious, but not unexpected. While it’s true that a tale as slight as Tolkien’s original novel didn’t need to be told over 10 hours, The Battle Of The Five Armies features some of the most inventive and entertaining moments in any Middle-earth movie. And while the Hobbit Extended Editions haven’t felt as definitive as the longer cuts of The Lord Of The Rings, this one is a worthy upgrade.
Roughly 10 minutes have been added. Most of the pre-battle extensions are minor, but meaningful: Radagast giving Gandalf his staff, Bofur catching Bilbo sneaking out at the gates of Erebor, Thorin stalling for time before Dáin’s arrival… The majority of the new footage comes during the battle itself, and boy is it bloody. It’s so violent that you might want to vet it before showing it to young ’uns, with mass Orc decapitations accompanied by fountains of necrotic fluid. There’s a brilliant battle between the Dwarves and the Elves, Gandalf fights a troll, Alfrid gets a satisfying send-off and there’s a great gag involving the axe in Bifur’s head. Best of all is the spectacular chariot sequence. Glimpsed briefly in the trailer, it’s huge fun and arguably the highlight of the entire battle.
Extras Around 10 hours of insanely in-depth Making Ofs spread across three discs (plus commentary by Jackson and co-writer Philippa Boyens and a few fun featurettes). The bulk (four and a half hours) is dedicated to the main shoot, with 90 minutes for pickups and three and a half hours of assorted bits and bobs. Those first two (parts 11 and 12 of the Appendices) are exemplary – consistently insightful and surprisingly emotional, and not just because the late Christopher Lee and Andrew Lesnie put in brief appearances. The third chunk is a little more problematic. Clearly assembled from off-cuts that didn’t make it into the Appendices, it feels unfocused and occasionally covers the same ground as the main doc. There’s some great stuff, but it doesn’t feel essential.
If you’re a Rings fan who has skipped the Hobbit Extended Editions so far, this is well worth a watch just to see Ian McKellen’s final moments as Gandalf and the team that crafted the finest fantasy movies ever made at their most confident and capable. Jordan Farley
Most shots of Gandalf’s staff in battle had to be digitally replaced – he was wielding the wrong one for three days’ shooting.
This edition is a worthy upgrade
Kevin’s mum had always told him not to pull a face when the wind blew.