The Hobbit The Battle Of The Five Armies (Extended)
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The Hobbit The Battle Of The Five Armies (Extended)

It is only natural and a movie studio comes across the story that is exceptionally profitable, well-liked by fans and critically acclaimed, but they are going to do everything possible to extend the franchise. Before the Marvel the Cinematic Universe the most lucrative series of films was undoubtedly ‘The Lord of the Rings’ by filmmaker Peter Jackson. The problem with this is that it was restricted in source material by a trilogy of novels by one of the most acclaimed fantasy authors in literature, find J. R. R. Tolkien. For many of us are first exposure to the works of Professor Tolkien is in a high school English literature class and reread the prequel to the Ring Trilogy, ‘The Hobbit’. It should be noted that this was part of the curriculum in high school if you happen to have it more liberally minded teacher. It was perfect for the early 70s a time in the wake of the youth movement of the 60s. The fantasy world of Professor Tolkien fit perfectly with the general mood of young people at the time. The Hobbit was also a rather short book which made ideal for inclusion in a standard semester’s work. Considering the brevity of the book, originally intended as a children’s story of us could have imagined that at some point this delightful tail would be stretched into a trilogy of movies spending over seven hours in the theater. Even more unlikely is that Extended Editions would be produced that would inflate the running time to well over eight hours. Mr. Jackson had started a trend with the Lord of the Ring Trilogy. The material in each of the constituent books of that trilogy was rich with material comprised of elaborate descriptions of the myriad of environments and in-depth character development. There is also plenty of action, danger at every turn as a fellowship of different types of beings made their way to stamp out evil in Middle Earth. In contrast The Hobbit was a much simpler concept in the Extended Edition considered here entitled, ‘The Hobbit: the Battle of the Five Armies’, is the grand dénouement of this admittedly bloated story.

Peter Jackson has set a cinematic precedent with debris he crafted the Lord of the Ring Trilogy. Each film was understandably lengthier than the average hour and 40 minutes to two hours of a typical movie. As mentioned it was necessary and that trilogy because there was plenty of material to work with one novel would be turned into a single movie. Jackson’s innovation was that he was upfront about having an Extended Edition in the wings. New Line Cinema honestly stated the release dates on DVD and Blu-ray about the theatrical and extended editions of allowing the audience to decide who they will wait for the Extended Edition, and just purchased the theatrical cut, great for that edition will be a true collector and purchase both. The added material actually added a significant amount of understanding to the stories. That brings us to the current Middle Earth trilogy. Considering just how slim source material was, it was pushing it to break it into a trilogy. Then go ahead and add another third of the running time for an extended cut makes the decision seems to be more financial than artistic and motivation.

As the name implies the remainder of the film, at least the portion that somewhat relate to actually concluding this seemingly never ending story, has to rely on standard trope that was frequently employed during the sand and sandals craze in Hollywood. You have a number of factions, each with more grudges against one another that are forced by the contrivance of several factors and situations to gather together on immense battle scene. Back in the original trilogy some exceptionally imaginative and innovative techniques were developed by the CGI Masters employed by Peter Jackson. They were able to create huge armies of animated beings each programmed with the characteristics of their race and objective. The massive amount of programming power was driven by a substantial portion of a budget that could exceed the gross national product of a small country, bringing the animation virtually down to individual units. This translated to an incredible emulation of the classic Golden age films that most of the cast of thousands. The virtual cameras of the CGI master craftsman were able to treat the audience to an aerial view establishing the massive scope of the battles. Hordes of individual combatants swarmed together in something that seemed oddly familiar; swarms of ants amassing in the millions as seen on a natural National Geographic special. The computer vantage point and then swoop in for more intimate view of the combat until a few familiar faces can be seen. Scenes within this portion of the film contain something that has always bothered me. In the heat of battle, a deadly melee extending every direction, pair of principal characters takes the opportunity to exchange a few lines of dialogue. Even in the heat of battle director manages to get a few moments more of the requisite padding.

Finally, after exhausting all the preliminary material possible, including a considerable amount lifted from over material by Professor Tolkien regarding Middle Earth, there is nothing left to do but to get down to an epic battle. This would be infeasible to have an over three hour-long melee involving most of the antagonistic factions of Middle Earth, there is the inevitable conclusion of scenes intended to be more dramatic and poignant. A couple of really gory scenes were added the completely uncharacteristic of any of the other films in this franchise. The purpose was to force the MPAA to an issue an R-rating to the movie, and exceptionally rare occurrence. The vast majority of these large epic films are purposely kept to the PG-13 rating to maximize the potential audience. Technically, a film issued solely on Blu-ray or DVD falls outside the purview of the MPAA but the produces submitted it in anticipation of future theatrical releases including showings at conventions in the inevitable cosplay attended marathon showings.

Most of the added material appears to be little more than Jackson going back to the editing bay and re-examining the previously culled material. As for specific details I’m quite sure the on numerous but the general impression I received was that of the 600 pound man gaining another 50 pounds. It most certainly had an effect on him but in context it is barely noticeable. The majority of the changes are little more than just lengthening scenes that were already sufficient to make the point or need of some trimming. For example the character of Dáin II Ironfoot, King Dáin, as his arrival into the fray delayed resulting in an expansion of scenes depicting his progress. The deliberations over the possession of the Arkenstone are extended to such a long to such a pedantic level that you might as well be watching C-SPAN. Super fans may be willing to do a side-by-side comparison of every frame for the typical viewer, inclusive of true fans of the franchise, adding material should pop out at you and that just doesn’t happen in this instance. You might notice the character being highlighted in the battle receiving additional dialogue, but, in the final analysis, this is the most unnecessary of the three extended editions. As for the other additions it is five discs that the 3-D release and I will admit that the illusion of depth was utilized in spectacular fashion. Since I was also true the theatrical addition, again not much is added by the expanded content. They could’ve the least included a coupon for a tube Preparation H anyone who is going to try to attempt to watch all three extended editions back to back. Considering the retail price on many of the online marketplaces is in excess of $50 the purchase of this item is going to require some dedication and for a number of fans coming up with the justification to your wife for the expenditure.

bulletDiscs 1 & 2 - Blu-ray 3D:
bulleto Extended Edition - Parts 1 & 2
bulletDisc 3 - Blu-ray:
bulleto Extended Edition
bulleto Plus The Film Makers' Commentary
bulleto Includes New Zealand: Home of Middle-Earth - Part 3
bulletDisc 4:
bulleto The Appendices Part II: The Gathering Storm - The Chronicles of ""The Hobbit"" - Part 3:
bulleto Learn what it was really like to be on set with stories from cast and crew as they share their most essential, memorable and entertaining moments from production, and see stunts and effects in action as they're filmed.
bulletDisc 5:
bulleto The Appendices Part 12: Here at Journey's End:
bulleto Play alongside the filmmakers as they create one of the most complex cinematic battles ever filmed. Watch how makeup, hair, prosthetics, costumes and weapons come together to form new characters, and explore key realms. Then join the filmmakers as they bid an emotional farewell to Middle-Earth.


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