Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy concluded last year, and now comes the full trilogy released in a jam-packed extended boxset. The films themselves clock in at over 8 hours, with the excessive special features included in this set making the release itself a whopping 15-disc affair.
By this point in time, if you wanted to have seen Jackson’s Hobbit movies then you’ve had plenty of chances to do so. Following the cinema releases came the individual home releases, then came the individual extended home release editions, before we now get all three films in their extended form. So is this set really worth a purchase? That’s the big question.
Plot-wise, we see Martin Freeman’s Bilbo Baggins embark on a trip with Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) and his group of Dwarves as they look to reclaim the Lonely Mountain and the treasures of their forefathers. Along the way we get to see plenty of familiar Lords of the Rings era faces, such as fan favourites Gandalf (Sir Ian McKellan) and Legolas (Orlando Bloom), whilst new characters, such as Bard (Luke Evans), the dragon Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly), are introduced. It makes for an action-packed affair that all of the family can enjoy, but again, we’re likely not telling you anything you didn’t already know.
To some, the notion of regurgitated new releases of Jackson’s Lords of the Rings and Hobbit movies leaves a bad taste in the mouth. To others, each additional release is a must-have. Granted, the Hobbit itself didn’t really need to be spread out over three movies – two really would’ve sufficed – but that’s an argument for another day. Where this new release will appeal to many is in the excessive extras and special features included. As mentioned, there’s 15-discs of content here to get through, and the package as a whole leaves no stone unturned when it comes to The Shire and way beyond.
The films themselves look absolutely stunning in nearly every possible way, and the performances of all of the key players are perfect for what is needed. The same gripes still exist from when these films were playing on the big screen (the screen time for Cumberbatch’s Smaug in The Battle of the Five Armies still feels just a little too brief), the excellent moments are still just as jaw-dropping (The Desolation of Smaug’s barrel-based escape scene is as frantic and fantastic as ever, if not a little too long), and it feels cliched and repetitive to say that you know what to expect from this trilogy by now… but you know what to expect from this trilogy by now.
Unquestionably, Jackson’s Hobbit movies are visually stunning pieces of cinema that have largely split opinion amongst the masses. Completists will find this release to be a vital purchase, whilst casual fans may deem this more of an unneeded journey than necessarily an unexpected one.
Special Features: Filmmaker commentaries / New Zealand: Home of Middle-earth Parts 1 – 3 / The Appendices Parts 7 – 12
THE HOBBIT TRILOGY – EXTENDED EDITION / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: PETER JACKSON / SCREENPLAY: VARIOUS / STARRING: MARTIN FREEMAN, IAN MCKELLEN, RICHARD ARMITAGE, EVANGELINE LILLY, LUKE EVANS, BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW