Saturday, 4 January 2014

Film Review: The Hobbit, An Unexpected Journey - Extended Edition

Yes, I know I've reviewed The Hobbit before but for Christmas I received the latest iteration of the first of the three Hobbit films. I know that people's views of the Extended Editions of the Lord of the Rings trilogy are somewhat mixed; it's either a cash cow to pump people for more money, or it's a new way of watching a favourite film. I view it as the latter and ever since we went to see The Hobbit in Glasgow I've been looking forward to the Extended Edition.

I'm one of those people who loves not only watching the film, but also really enjoys hearing how it was made, I love the hours of special features on the Lord of the Rings Extended Editions and I'll happily watch the film six times in order to listen to all the commentaries. I've not even touched the special features on this box set yet, so I'll just talk about the film itself.

Firstly, the case is so cool! Mr Click got me the Blu-ray 3D box set. This is a great deal because the film was made in 3D (which got mixed reviews, but I loved it) but obviously we don't have a 3D TV setup. Not a problem because this set also includes the regular Blu-ray and a digital copy of the film as well. Now you can't see it in the picture above but that image on the front cover is in 3D as well. It's a sort of holographic cover and it just looks awesome. I kind of want to just prop the case up on the bookcase so I can see it all the time because it looks like there's a little Bilbo trapped in there!

As to the film itself. Well, it's not got a much longer runtime, it works out at around fifteen extra minutes of footage, most of which was not really missed from the original theatrical cut. That said, it does help to add a little more depth to the story and builds up to things to come.

Mr Click and I watched it the Saturday following Christmas and played 'spot the extended scene'. The first we spotted was right at the beginning which helped to show the rift between the Elves and the Dwarves. I'm glad they've popped that back in because it makes the later scenes when Gandalf leads the crew to Rivendell make more sense in terms of Thorin's reluctance to go.

Some scenes just have slightly different shots, like the view of the dragon attacking Erebor. Again I can see why that was cut; the dragon was barely revealed in the theatrical cut because, hey, he's going to be the main attraction in getting bums on seats for the sequel. Now that's out in cinemas, they can throw viewers a bone and let them see a bit more of him at the beginning.

There's also a nice little addition of baby Bilbo at Old Took's birthday party when Gandalf did a pyrotechnic display. It's a really short little scene but it helps to establish Gandalf's place in Bilbo's history and sets up the later scene when Gandalf is talking about the 'young hobbit [he] used to know'.

I like that the Extended Edition includes a little bit more of Hobbiton and a bit more of Rivendell. I have been predicting extra Rivendell scenes since we saw the film in the cinema, but the Hobbiton scenes were a pleasant surprise. One of these Rivendell scenes is a bit of a marmite one by the looks of what I've seen online; people either love it or hate it. I'm of the opinion that anything extra is good so I love it and rather than try to describe it, or post screencaps that might not make it clear what it is, I've found it on YouTube:

The stuff in Rivendell is a lot more light-hearted than the Rivendell scenes of The Fellowship of the Ring, and I think that's how it should be. At the time of The Hobbit they're enjoying peace, this is Rivendell in it's summertime, by the period shown in The Fellowship of the Ring it's the Autumn of the Elves and they're beginning to decline and leave Middle-earth. Sauron is causing problems and no one is carefree and relaxed anymore.
The songs the Elves sing in The Hobbit with their 'tra-la-la-lally'ing was never going to fit into this film, but I feel like these scenes help to recapture the mood of that part of the book. And yeah, it's got naked Dwarves in a fountain too. It made me laugh.
There were also more scenes with the Goblin King as well as more singing in general. Over all I love the Extended version of the film and I know it's one I'll happily watch over and over again. Hopefully I'll get to see the second film soon and also get through some of the (over) nine hours worth of special features on the discs with this set.
Look out for my reviews of those here in the future!

No comments:

Post a comment

Let me know what you think. :-)