CERT: 15 / PLATFORM: 4K UHD / RELEASE DATE: NOVEMBER 30
With so many favourites of yesterday currently getting swanky 4K upgrades, now comes the turn of Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogies to get a new sheen. A 4K restoration overseen directly by Jackson himself, then, lets see how An Unexpected Journey, The Desolation of Smaug and The Battle of the Five Armies shape up under the 4K spotlight.
To loosely skirt over the plot, The Hobbit sees Martin Freeman’s Bilbo Baggins on a reluctant journey to accompany some Dwarves in their quest to get their mountain home back. Along the way, there’s all manner of creatures and fantasy tropes dotted out in a trilogy of films adapted and expanded from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit book.
It almost feels redundant to say it, but this new release of the beloved Hobbit movies looks utterly fantastic. Whereas The Lord of the Rings trio of movies can often be a dark and grizzled affair when it comes to their colour palette, The Hobbit trilogy is a more vibrant triumvirate of films – and that vibrancy lends itself beautifully to the 4K UHD format.
During their cinema run, An Unexpected Journey, The Desolation of Smaug and The Battle of the Five Armies all looked marvellous. Likewise, the initial Blu-ray home release of those pictures looked stunning. But here, with a 4K sheen, your appreciation of the time and detail that’s gone into every single frame of these movies will be taken to a whole other level. The work from Peter Jackson, WETA and co. for their characters, landscapes, outfits, weapons and so much more is just jaw dropping here.
Whether it’s the backdrops of Middle-Earth, the menacing visage of Azog, the sun-drenched skies, the intricate scales of Smaug, the rendering of Gollum, the iconic barrel escape sequence, the trinkets in Bard’s house, or just the shimmer of the corduroy adorned by Bilbo Baggins, The Hobbit Trilogy will have you in awe at what this 4K UHD restoration brings to the table. Until the capability of 4K is increased, however, it’s 24 frames-per-second here rather than the 48 fps that winged its way to the silver screen.
Although there are six discs included as part of this release – with 4K treatments for both the theatrical and extended cuts of all three films - fans hoping for new bonus material will be left disappointed on that front. In fact, Warner Bros. actually has a new ‘ultimate’ release planned for next year which will be crammed for a new additional content. Here though, there is no extra material on offer whatsoever. That obviously throws up the question of whether or not to shell out for this new trilogy release, or hold off until next year when you can get a release that’s adorned with new special features.
Visually and aurally, The Hobbit Trilogy is the sort of release that’s worth investing in a 4K player for. It’s just, as mentioned, whether you’d rather hold off until next year to get a fix of new bonus content.