While people insist that size doesn’t matter, we all know it does. Just consider The Lord Of The Rings and The Hobbit movies, the extended versions of which have all been better than their shorter, theatrical counterparts. And that’s once again the case with The Hobbit The Battle Of The Five Armies Extended Edition, which is now available on Blu-ray, DVD, and 3D Blu-ray.
For those who didn’t see…
The Hobbit The Battle Of The Five Armies in theaters, the movie ends this prequel trilogy by [SPOILER ALERT] having Smaug die at the hands of Bard, and the dwarves finally getting their home back, only to find that half of Middle-earth have shown up because they want the treasure inside. Which, being a fantasy film, leads to a massive battle of good vs. evil.
The problem being that after Smaug is killed, the rest of The Hobbit The Battle Of The Five Armies feels somewhat anticlimactic much the same way The Lord Of The Rings The Return Of The King after Sauron was destroyed. Yes, in both cases, what happens afterwards is important and part of the story, but the way it comes across in both movies make them seem less so. Which is real problem in The Hobbit The Battle Of The Five Armies because Smaug gets taken out in the first half hour.
Still, The Hobbit The Battle Of The Five Armies — like the other two films in this trilogy — is an epic and exciting fantasy film, with all the crazy fight scenes and overly dramatic speeches that implies. Plus there’s a dwarf riding a pig. You can’t beat a dwarf riding a pig.
As for The Hobbit The Battle Of The Five Armies Extended Edition, it adds about twenty minutes to the film by expanding fourteen scenes and adding four short new ones. None of which add as much as what was added to the expanded versions of The Lord Of The Rings films, though they still improve some parts as well as add some emotional resonance. Which is why, like The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey Extended Edition and The Hobbit The Desolation Of Smaug Extended Edition, The Hobbit The Battle Of The Five Armies Extended Edition is the definitive and thus only acceptable way to watch this movie.
Oh, and for those who’d like to just see these expanded parts, the “Scene Selection” section helpfully indicates which bits are new and which are extended.
The Hobbit The Battle Of The Five Armies Extended Edition Blu-rays and DVD have great picture and sound, especially if you watch them on a nice TV with a good surround sound set-up and not on your phone with a cheap pair of ear buds. That said, there is a sound issue that’s sadly not uncommon on movie discs: the audio mix was done for theaters, not home theaters or stereos, and thus has times when you’ll have to turn up the volume to hear the dialog, but then have to turn it down when some action happens and the music begins to swell.
As for the version included on the 3D edition of The Hobbit The Battle Of The Five Armies Extended Edition Blu-ray, I can’t comment on how well that works at home, having not seen it, but in theaters, the 3D didn’t add much.
Along with the movie, The Hobbit The Battle Of The Five Armies Extended Edition Blu-rays and DVD also have basically the same extras as the Hobbit An Unexpected Journey Extended Edition and The Hobbit The Desolation Of Smaug Extended Edition. Well, except that they’re about The Hobbit The Battle Of The Five Armies.
First up, the Hobbit The Battle Of The Five Armies Extended Edition Blu-rays and DVD have a commentary by director, producer, co-writer Peter Jackson and co-writer, co-producer Philippa Boyens. Like the ones they did for the previous extended editions, things get a little too film school-esque at times, but there are also some engaging, insightful, and even funny moments as well, in part because the two of them do this commentary together.
the Hobbit The Battle Of The Five Armies Extended Edition Blu-rays and DVD also have “The Appendices: Part 11: The Gathering Storm” and “The Appendices: Part 12: Here At Journey’s End,” which are a series of in-depth making-of featurettes that will illuminate every aspect of the film’s production. All of which are fairly straight-forward but still as enlightening as they are engaging.
The Hobbit The Battle Of The Five Armies Extended Edition Blu-rays and DVD also have “New Zealand: Home Of Middle-earth, Part 3,” which once again will make you want to visit this island nation.
Finally, The Hobbit The Battle Of The Five Armies Extended Edition Blu-rays and DVD have the movie’s three trailers, including the “Legacy Trailer” that covers all six movies, and was made to promote The Hobbit The Battle Of The Five Armies as well as the idea of watching the other five films as well.
Sadly, while The Hobbit The Battle Of The Five Armies Extended Edition Blu-rays and DVD has the most complete version of the movie, it isn’t the most complete Blu-ray or DVD. For starters, it doesn’t have any of the extras that were included on the Blu-ray of the theatrical cut, though most were making-of featurettes that would’ve been redundant with “The Appendices.” It also would’ve been nice if the commentary had featured members of the cast, or a second commentary with Jackson and the cast instead. Though as long as I’m wishing for things, I’d also like a commentary with Jackson, Sir Ian McKellen, and Hobbit fan Stephen Colbert.
The Hobbit The Battle Of The Five Armies Extended Edition Blu-rays and DVD are the best way to watch the final, er third film in this epic saga. Which shows once again, it’s not the size of the film in the theater but the length of the cut at home.