IAB’s Take 2: “The Hobbit – The Battle of the Five Armies”, the Extended Edition IAB’s Take 2: “The Hobbit – The Battle of the Five Armies”, the Extended Edition
In a second take, IAB revisits a review he wrote almost one year ago, and sees if the longer cut of the film made... IAB’s Take 2: “The Hobbit – The Battle of the Five Armies”, the Extended Edition

Hola.

I’m gonna do something a little bit different here this Wednesday. It’s actually something that I’ve wanted to do at some point – which is to go back to an earlier review of a film and add to it impressions of a different version of the film. Did it change my original view? Did some of my gripes about the shorter version get addressed by additional footage? And such and such…

And what would be a better candidate for this than to go back to my first – and as of yet, the only – review written right after seeing a new film in the theater; “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies“. The Extended Edition of that has been out for a while now and now I’ve seen it and can give my additional views. But first – here’s my original review I wrote December 15th, 2014 – almost a year ago:

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Hidden to save space. Click to open!

So – as you can see from that, I had several problems with the somewhat obvious cuts in the film; some causing continuity errors, some causing characters magically transporting long distances and even some abrupt jumps in the music. So how did the extended edition change my opinion? Well – I think it’s best to go through the most noticeable additions one by one, so SPOILER ALERT to anyone who hasn’t seen either version of the film yet.

  • Addition 1: Smaug makes one additional divebombing on Laketown and notices Bard for the first time while flying by. It’s just a quick addition that simply adds one beat to the scene. As I mentioned in my review, I really dug the Laketown mayhem and that’s not changed.

 

  • Addition 2: more Dol Guldur-stuff; the orc guard that’s throwing Gandalf around is actually going to cut the Elf ring from Gandalf’s finger – continuing the theme of Sauron gathering all the rings that are still out there. This was actually a continuation to the added scene in “The Desolation of Smaug” extended edition, where Gandalf comes across Thorin’s father Thrain in the catacombs, who also has had the Dwarf-king ring removed from his finger – along with his finger. Another add here is Galadriel’s entrance – this time she actually speaks to the orc, warning him to leave – and then there’s no cut to wider shot, until we see her blast the orc into little tiny bits(here’s the first real signal that this version will have a LOT more carnage(that R-rating was not just a marketing ploy).

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  • Addition 3: a short one, but answers a big continuity issue. Mainly “Where the hell did Gandalf get a new staff?”, because his original was incinerated by Sauron in the last movie. Simple answer, Radagast gives his to Gandalf, saying “you need it more than I”.

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  • Addition 4: just before Bilbo sneaks out over the wall from Erebor, he encounters Bifur(James Nesbitt), who basically knows what he’s doing and agrees to look the other way. A nice little scene, kind of a bookend to a scene between the two in the first movie where Bilbo is also trying to sneak away from the camp at night.

 

  • Addition 5: the Battle begins. Now here’s where the new stuff causes the film to be completely re-edited. Remember when Dain and his army arrived and just kinda taunted Thranduil’s elf-army for a while and then the “Were-worms” busted through the ground and the orcs arrived? Now HERE, the dwarves and the elves actually FIGHT against each other for a good bit before that happens. This is a major new beat to the battle and really actually makes the film earn it’s title “battle of the FIVE armies”. It always felt just…off to me that we have three adjacent scenes of separate armies arriving to the battlefield and NOTHING happening between the first two parties but some taunting. Well done.

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  • Addition 6: this one is the longest added scene and it fixed a giant peeve of mine. In the theatrical version, Thorin and his closest men jump on goats and ride towards Ravenhill – they bust through about three rows of orcs and in the next cut, we already see them ride up the cliff. Those goats sure went to hyperspeed there. In THIS version, however, only Thorin rides a goat. Four others commandeer a so-called “war chariot”, which is a thing that got introduced in some previous added footage as a formidable piece of dwarvish war technology. And DAMN do they mow down those orcs & troll while they race towards Ravenhill! I’d say this sequence is the main culprit for the R-rating, because the carnage they cause to the orc army is one for the books. The war chariot is basically a machine that’s designed for skewering and massive body dismemberment. A little snippet of this scene was actually shown in the theatrical trailers early on, but it took this long to get it. But I’m glad we did.

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  • Addition 7: another important one, mainly because– Well, because that annoying little fuck Alfrid finally buys the farm. Yes, people – I guess you could call it the payoff waited by millions. As Gandalf is having a bit of trouble getting Radagast’s staff to co-operate while fighting a troll, Alfrid – dumbass that he is – launches himself from a catapult he’s been cowering in and right into the trolls mouth. And there was much rejoicing. As I stated in my review, the character of Alfrid was, without equal, the worst screenwriting decision ever – but I’m glad even the filmmakers acknowledged that. Now if we could get the same addition to “Revenge of the Sith” for Jar-Jar…

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  • Addition 8: Beorn actually does some damage. Yup – Beorn’s part in the theatrical film: 3 quick shots. Here we actually get some added material of him – in his bear form – just absolutely MAULING countless rows of orcs. It makes him the formidable force that he was said to be, but what we never really got to see.

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  • Addition 9: the Funeral of Thorin, Fili and Kili and the crowning of the new king. Yeah – this was another little bit that was just totally cut short in the theatrical version. In that, we got just some horns being blown and then cut to Bilbo, leaving. Here we see the wake in the, I guess “mausoleum”-section of Erebor, as well as the revelation that Dain is now the next King Under the Mountain. Again, this addition just flows much better instead of the drastic cut in the earlier version.

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And besides the ones I mentioned, there is a huge number of little added bits here and there – most of them in the end battle, such as the orcs’ “War beasts” – armored trolls – just inflicting heavy damage, each of the original party of dwarves getting their moments in the battle, Legolas making the beheading-record in the whole Middle Earth-series in one shot, the people at Dale both causing damages AND taking heavy casualties and lots more.

So – did the extended edition address my original gripes? Yes. Is is a better film? Yes. But does it fix some story level grievances I – and many a people in the Internet – have about this whole “The Hobbit“-trilogy? Not that much. I mean – it’s now done and finished. Many a debate can be had about “Should Peter Jackson maybe had reined himself a bit from the slapstick that somewhat plagues these films?” Yeah, probably. Some of that can actually be put into context now, as he himself has stated that after stepping in the directors seat with an insanely short prep time, he was “winging it” a lot in the early stages. And there is a certain amount of bloat all over this trilogy because of that. And it also caused him to rely on CGI much, much more than in the “Lord of the Rings“-films.

I’m sure there will be a thousand debates of “woulda, coulda, shoulda” about these films(as there have already been), and I’m sure there’s soon gonna be several fan-edits of the three films hitting the web, but like I said: it’s done now. And I guess, under the circumstances, the creative team did the best they could. Which is “quite not there, but somewhat”.

And that’s the last thing I’m gonna say about that.

 

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I Am Better

Coming from the frozen wastelands of Finnish tundra. Mr. Better seeks warmth from his television & home theater and all the wonders they provide. He occasionally dabbles in the arts of drawing and photography.

  • Damn, I hate it when the light bulb in the magic staff expires.

  • I_am_better

    Should switch to LED’s

  • Tarmac492.1

    Great idea for an article mang. I saw bits and pieces of that dragon attack on the town. It was cool. I have little interest in these films, however. I was happy with the LOTR trilogy.

  • I_am_better

    Yeah I’m happy with that one too.

  • Tarmac492.1

    Jackson might suffer from having “too many toys at his disposal”. he aint the only one. How about a lean, mean hour and 45 minute flick that leaves some stuff to the imagination? Would love to see more of them.

  • After the fucking second Habbit movie, i felt so disgrunted and upset that i just can’t give a rat’s arse to bother to watch the 3rd movie. I just can’t give a fuck. Fucking Hobbit 2 really pissed me off!!

  • Stalkeye

    I never watched any of the Hobbit Films and only the remaining 20 Minutes of LOTR Return of the King. My Ex GF loved the Toliken Books and somewhere in Sheepshead Bay NY, therein lies a huge BD collection.She tried but couldn’t persuade me into LOTR.

  • KilliK

    why?

  • KilliK

    My only curiosity about the movies, is this:

    Their HFR format was an utter failure, even PJ admitts this, so how is this going affect the upcoming Avatar sequels, which is going to have an even faster HFR? Last time I checked, Cameron’s comment about this matter was that his movies will have a mixed frame rate, the established 25fps for the slow,more dramatic scenes and a 60fps for the faster,more action ones. I dont know if he still stands by this or he ll completely abandon the HFR format.

  • Well if anyone can make it work it’ll be Cameron.

  • KilliK

    of course.
    IN JIM WE TRUST.

  • Not giving a damn about part 3 or beingpissed by part 2.

  • KilliK

    I meant why part2 pissed you off.

  • Because the fucking movie goes on stupid no-stop action scenes for no goddam good reason where the characters act like they are ragdolls. Even in fantasy there’s a limit to the mount of bullshit you can throw at an action scene. The movie is twice as long as it should had been ,and it’s so long just because Jackson can’t stop masturbating on his action scene. The movie is nothing but a collection of the worst of Jackson can be as a filmmaker in one movie. The fucking movie can go fuck itself.

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    Cameron is going to use a variable frame rate, which is the correct choice. And the fact is, the establishing landscape shots in the Hobbit looked superior in HFR, as did the action sequences. The scenes that looked odd were the dialogue ones. So, as usual, it’s not a black and white issue.

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    I remember I couldn’t wait for the release of the Extended Editions of LOTR. Almost all the added material enhanced the films considerably, particularly in the second and third movies. But I still haven’t seen the EE of Smaug, and I don’t have much desire to see this, either. No amount of extended footage could improve these movies by much, and it looks like the amount put back in isn’t very substantial, either.

  • Maps

    An r-rated Hobbit film is hard to wrap my head around except to say that maybe they thought it would sell more copies? Honestly what about a Hobbit De-Extended edition where he tries to pare it all down into one film. Probably not doable unfortunately. But Peter Jackson needs to come clean about how he was just winging it out there and that someone else has his blessing to make a new Hobbit film if they have a vision for it. Also now that it’s all said and done I can’t think of anyone who doesn’t want to see what Del Toro had in store for us. It would be really interesting to get our hands on those development materials. REALLY INTERESTING. Anyway the thing about Jackson’s Hobbit pictures is that you just have to see them in 3D on the big screen. If you didn’t have that experience then the whole thing will be lost on you. I saw films 1 and 2 (wrote review at Talkbacker…who knows) on the big screen and liked them a lot but saw Five Armies in 3D and was like…..oh…….yeah it was absolutely spectacular. Spectacular. And Jackson directed the damn things in 3D anyway so…..yeah….if they put it out again theatrically I will probably go see it if it’s done in 3D. Also there was the controversy over film 1 being in that HDFR. I didn’t see that version either and I’m not sure they kept up with that over the following two films? Did they? Anyway it was a thing….that happened….and….good job IAB….it’s a good piece

  • Maps

    I don’t think it was a failure. Supposedly the shots of the landscapes were mind blowing.

  • Maps
  • Maps

    What about an Abyss sequel?

  • Maps

    ALIENS is still probably the most competently made film I have ever seen given the scale of it. I can’t think of a single aspect of the film that has aged technically. It’s a timeless masterpiece.

  • Maps

    You don’t understand these films. They aren’t what you were expecting but are unique flowers unto themselves. People just can’t get outside their geek head space on these films but they are going to stand the test of time, I think. It will take a minute. But they are unique pictures.

  • I_am_better

    So – 48fps is not even in focus?

  • I_am_better

    I’d just like a fucking Bluray release of the original. What the hell is taking them so long with that?

  • The Hobbits movies should be like the LOTR movies. They aren’t. At best they are parodies. I defended the first Hobbit movie, but after the second, i don’t care for this saga. They should had been better. Jackson degenerated.

  • Maps

    Neither is True Lies?

  • Maps

    I have no idea.

  • Maps

    I blame the people – whoever they are – that forced Del Toro off the project and then insisted on the release dates. As Jackson has said they didn’t have any prep time at all. What is the real story behind that fiasco? But you’re right in the main, I’m just saying there is a lot to like.

  • I_am_better

    Same thing, yeah

  • Maps

    I think that is one of those weird motion effects people were complaining about

  • Maps

    Do you like True Lies?

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    “What the hell is taking them so long with that?”

    Three Avatar sequels, obviously. Cameron’s approval is required for transfers and he likes to get involved at every stage, not simply sign off after looking at a new print for a minute or two. I believe he even sat with the color corrector of Aliens’s Blu Ray master and went through it frame-by-frame.

    Anyway, we might as well wait for 4K masters now.

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    There actually was a shitty PC game “sequel” to The Abyss. I don’t think it was official. It played like The Thing.

  • I_am_better

    It has it’s moments. Some of the jokes are on the stupid side and the terrorists are complete cartoon characters.

  • I_am_better

    Bill Paxton steals every scene he’s in though

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    Jackson may have had no prep time, but the worst things about those movies – the bad pacing, the cartoon physics, the silly comedy, the repetitive action sequences – have always been present in Jackson’s work to a lesser degree and now have completely taken over his style. Unless he changes his ways, more time won’t help him.

  • I wanted to like this movies more. There is a lot in the first movie i disliked and still i kept defending the movie because there was as much if not more that i liked. But the second movie… i gave up.

  • Tim R.R. Something

    I don’t much like the series and the third film may be worst. Hobbit was about Bilbo not all this bloody spectacle chariots and war hogs and such.

  • Tim R.R. Something

    The trouble with CGI is it may be “ground breaking” but after ten years it looks like crap. In the future when the CGI in these films is looking dated, there won’t be any reason to watch them.

  • Don’t forget his stomach-churning perception of “romantic moments”.

  • those elements were all described by Tolkien in the secret appendices only Jackson had access to

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    If only Jackson’d had the balls to partner Tauriel up with a dwarf that resembled Gimli! That romance doesn’t really work when the so-called ‘ugly’ party of the “beauty and the beast” dynamic looks like a short underwear model.

  • And that syrupy kitsch romance novel angle. King Kong sliding love-drunk on his ass on a frozen pond was already a crime against taste.

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    No, that’s the trouble with bad CGI (Jurassic Park and T2 don’t look the least bit out-of-date to this day) – and films that only offer CGI as their attraction. The same goes for a myriad of poor practical and optical FX movies from years gone by, as well.

  • Tarmac492.1

    If True Lies were made today the terrorists would be white, anglo something or others probably. I enjoyed True Lies. The bridge scene with the Jets and stuff was amazing. Fun flick. I also think the point of it was to be cartoon characters. Pretty much every thing was .

  • I disagree somewhat. When you look at movies from the 40s and 50s when effects were primitive, we enjoy them in spite of the shitty fx. I’ll wager we’ll use the same nostalgic eye for these.

    Having said that, I still dislike the hobbit trilogy.

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    I have no problem with the terrorists’ depiction. I think a fine line was walked by making a joke out of them and still having them be a credible threat – which they were, especially the lead villain. Serious issues are always good fodder for humor – it helps take the sting out of them.

  • KilliK

    It doesnt need it. only a good bluray release.

  • KilliK

    I am referring to not becoming a game changer like 3D.

  • KilliK

    and a bluray for True Lies. I want Curtis’ striptease in glorious HD.

  • KilliK

    they are supposed to be cartoon characters. the whole movie is a comicbook spy movie. even Nick Fury has a cameo.

  • Sagamanus

    The series has too much action. There’s a fear in slowing down, as if there was nothing to talk about and they needed to cover it up.