10 December 2013

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - extended edition [Blu-Ray review]

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
3D Extended Edition - Blu-Ray
Released by Warner Home Video
Blu-Ray provided courtesy of publisher
We all knew it was coming. Just as the Lord of the Rings Trilogy released its extended edition and gave us a metric crap-ton of extra content (which I'm still wading through a year later. Seriously.), along comes an extended version of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey with a set of extras that rolls in at more than three times the length of the movie itself. Do we want all that, and it it worth getting the 'extended' version over the theatrical edition?

I've already reviewed the movie itself, so if you're looking for a movie review of The Hobbit, then click here. Here I'll look at the extra footage you get in the extended edition and the bonus features on the discs.

Note I don't have a 3D Blu-Ray Player, so I couldn't review any of the 3D quality of the movie. Which is probably a good thing, since watching anything in 3D is like the equivalent of having a hot needle inserted into your cornea - I'm pretty sure my sensitivity to light is a direct result of watching Avatar.

How it looks


To put it bluntly, it's gorgeous. The movie menu is a HD delight, with a long pan around Bag End with the iconic score by Howard Shore and sound bytes from the movie. For the first time in I don't know how long I've sat and watched an entire loop of the DVD menu.

The Hobbit is one of those movies that Blu-Rays were made for. The picture quality is outstanding, and the live-action and CG interaction blends really well. The sequences in Goblin Town and the opening sequence in Erebor are stunning.


The extra footage


The extended edition has an entire *wait for it* thirteen minutes of footage! Here's a full breakdown of what you get. I wouldn't say that these additional scenes aren't that integral to the plot, so your standard Hobbit watcher won't be losing much if they opt for the theatrical release.

However, if you're like me and you greedily get your hands on any glimmer of additional Tolkien goodness, then the extra footage is excellent. The prologue scenes have a few extra snippets that show exactly why Thranduil (Lee Pace) is being a gigantic douche to the dwarfs of Erebor. You also get two more songs, Down in Goblin Town and The Man in the Moon Stayed up too Late, the latter a rowdy drinking song by Bofur (James Nesbitt), which is awesome:



The bonus features


This is the only DVD/Blu-Ray I've seen where the bonus features required a video introduction from the director to explain the table of contents. That's how much stuff you get.

The bonus discs are set out like the bonuses from The Lord of the Rings extended editions (Appendices Seven and Eight) with an insane nine hours of extra footage between them.

I'll be honest; I've not watched all the bonus features (I require sleep), but the bits I have watched have offered a brilliant insight into the massive production of the movie. One of my favourite chapters is on creating the music of the movie - interesting fact; there are about eight different versions of Misty Mountains Cold, and they're all awesome.

Where these features trump those of the Lord of the Rings trilogy is that all the bonus material is also shot in HD, so the cast interviews and behind the scenes is by and large in exceptional quality.

Final thoughts


The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Extended Edition would make a great stocking filler for any Lord of the Rings fan this Christmas. It's beautiful and has a breadth of extra material that'll keep you interested for hours.

About the author
Jamie Gibbs is the bearded, bespectacled geek who runs Mithril Wisdom and drinks too much coffee, usually at the same time.
You can follow him on his Google+ or Twitter profiles for a daily dose of fanboy discourse.

7 comments:

  1. We bought this the other day, I can't wait to break into it!

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  2. Might have to break down and get it then. Thought the film was brilliant and would enjoy seeing even more of Middle Earth. And I will watch it in 3D!

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  3. I know I'll be getting the extended edition! Even if it's only 13 more minutes of footage, I like seeing the extra stuff. Plus I have the extended editions of all the Lord of the Rings movies, so it would feel wrong not to do the same thing with The Hobbit.

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  4. Awesome! I have the extended BluRay and the additional 13 mins were great. I loved the songs and the bit about Thranduil and I think the dinner scene with Sarumon was extended as well. I haven't watched the appendices. In college, I would turn on the LotR appendices and it would play for a day and a half while my roommate and I came and went, going about our business with school work. I no longer have that luxury. I honestly don't know when I'd ever have the chance to watch all the extras... But I have to! Especially knowing it's shot in HD!
    Thanks for the review

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  5. 13 mins is awesome!! I also happen to know that someone in my house will be getting this for xmas

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  6. I can't watch movies in 3D. I get motion sick.

    But I'll definitely watch the extended version in plain old 2D.

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