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on October 4, 2001
For the first time in my life, I wish I had a VHS copy even with the DVD released. I first noticed a problem when the first spider dies in the movie, and there is no vortex sound effect. Then the entire scene in Lake Town is... muted. The arrows are silenced, the dragon roars as a mouse, and the fire, it crackles as a loud annoyance. I wish I had read the reviews online prior to purchasing, now I am stuck with a poor quality DVD. I will be buying the VHS shortly.
33 comments143 of 148 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 22, 2014
My rating here reflects two things: the quality of the movie (which I would give four stars even after I took off my nostalgia blinders), and the new DVD reissue (one star).

The new DVD is just an exercise in frustration for those of us that waited years for it to happen. I should have been more wary when they unveiled the horrible kiddy-oriented cover online. Granted, this is a kids' movie, but the funky art style is a big part of the draw; the horrible rendering on the cover (that looks nothing like the movie) was just a bad move. Clean up a still from the movie itself and you'd have a much better cover than this.

But that's a minor quibble. The big sticking point for me is that I don't know what is so remastered or deluxe here. The print looks the same as the previous DVD. And worse - far worse really, and the reason I'm writing this at all - the infamous missing sound effects are still missing. It just goes to show that the people putting this out have no interest in or love for the project at all - just the money it will generate. So once again, spiders die in curiously quiet ways, swords and arrows fly without making a sound, and in many crucial moments that I remember from repeated viewings in my childhood, the only sound effect you can hear now is the cash register chiming.

I'll be returning my copy. Hope I've saved you the trouble of having to do so, too.
55 comments103 of 106 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on September 18, 2001
I have grown up with this story of The Hobbit, its one of my favorites. I have always had this movie in my collection and know the lines by heart. I have bought this DVD and the DVD stinks! Warner Brothers ruined this story on DVD. How? The sound was re-mastered for the DVD and there are sound effects MISSING! They used an old copy of the soundtrack that was used on a four record set that issued in 1978. If you want the complete soundtrack I recomend you buy the VHS tape. (The older the copy the better) They have also added new sound effects and lines that are NOT in the the original soundtrack! There are also problems with their DVD's of The Lord of the Rings and The Return of the King. (See my reviews for those DVDs under there listings) If Waner Brothers really cares they will re-issue These 3 DVDs after correcting their problems. ~Rob~
2424 comments385 of 426 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on October 6, 2002
While the picture quality excells, several audio tracks are inexplicably missing. I even dug out my VHS copy and compared the two, and sure enough, there are several places in which there are missing sound effects! I can't explain it, but someone must have accidentally tossed an audio track in the bin as they remastered the sound. This DVD doesn't give me reason enough to get rid of my old VHS copy. Your best bet would be to comb online auctions or browse pawn shops for an original video release.
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on July 22, 2014
I am scratching my head in confusion about this release. First of all, it isn't remastered AT ALL. It is the same exact quality and sound as the older DVD release of it, plus it still doesn't have the missing segments that others have discussed. What is so "Remastered and Deluxe Edition" about it? The extras make no sense either. There is the usual "facts and bio" nonsense and then for some reason there are three Bugs Bunny cartoons as extras that also aren't remastered and there is a loud hissing sound in the audio when they play. When I first heard about this rerelease I was so excited thinking that the animated version would finally get the royal treatment, but no. I am going to return it to Amazon and get my money back.
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on July 23, 2014
This "remastered deluxe" edition has the SAME famously screwed-up soundtrack problem, with loads of missing sound effects (ones crucial to the movie's ambiance, too), as the previous DVD release. The problem that fans have been complaining about for years has not been fixed whatsoever. (Plus the new cover art is ugly and inaccurate, but I'd forgive that if they'd actually offered a real remastered edition as promised.)
0Comment26 of 26 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on October 9, 2009
I own both the VHS and DVD versions of this movie and recently watched them both. I've read many reviews from viewers who did not recommend the DVD version of this movie because of a few missing sound effects. While I did not notice any of these issues until I read about them, I had noticed something slightly different about the movie, which I couldn't place. It wasn't a huge deal though. However, the DVD version is missing certain sound effects which were left out of the remastering such as:

-No Spider slaying vortex sound
-No dwarf complaining while in barrels
-No sound of arrows plinking off Smaug's chest
-Smaug's fire breathing at one point seems to not coordinate with the movie, as he is flying towards the town, and the fire crackles almost like static.
-Smaug does not roar at all when he is attacking Laketown, at least not until he gets shot.

Again, I did not really notice these issues until they were pointed out. What I did notice about the remastered DVD was:

-Much improved visual quality. It's like you are looking at the original artwork! There is no color distortion.
-Much, MUCH improved audio and balance. I never could make out the words of many songs until the DVD. I actually have a hard time now enjoying the audio on the VHS because many sound effects were too loud, making it hard to hear all the words, without turning up the volume. Struggling to hear everything on the VHS gave me a bit of a headache, actually.
-Do you remember the scene where Bilbo runs out of the secret passageway with his behind on fire? This part was cut out of my VHS version.

To be honest, the strengths of this movie are the wonderfully done artwork, and the wonderfully done music. Having the DVD only highlights these core parts. Although the small missing sound effects are unfortunate, I still recommend the DVD, because you will enjoy the movie more, overall.
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on October 7, 2003
First off, let me say that I'm a big fan of this movie...I grew up with it, and have always loved it. Unfortunately, if you want to experience this movie for yourself you will be better off buying the VHS version. The sound dubbing in the DVD version is inexcusable. There are portions where all of the background sound is missing entirely. The most notable points are during the spider attack in Mirkwood, and inside of Smaug's cave, although after watching this several times I realized that the sound problem was endemic. It made me think that the DVD was cut with a first draft of the sound recording instead of the final draft.
Do not buy this DVD! You will be disappointed, especially if you grew up watching this on TV as a kid (as I did). Buy the VHS tape instead.
WB (or whoever produced this DVD) should be ashamed. I personally think they should be flogged as well.
11 comment42 of 48 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on August 1, 2002
Let me preface this by saying that I am a HUGE fan of The Hobbit by Rankin/Bass. I own it on VHS and have watched it over 100 times. It ranks among my favorites of all time. That's the VHS version. Now let's talk about the DVD version. It [is not good]! Buy The Hobbit on VHS but avoid the DVD version. How can this be you ask? Let me answer that by quoting the letter I wrote to Warner Bros about the DVD:
"Dear Sir or Madam:
"I have been a huge fan of the Rankin/Bass production of "The Hobbit" since it was first shown on television in 1977. As soon as it was available on VHS, I bought it. I have watched it well over 100 times. I know every word of dialog and every bit of the music. It ranks among the very best animated films ever.
"So imagine my delight when I learned that it was available on DVD - finally!
... I bought the DVD anyway (after a long wait and a lot of pondering) in hopes that perhaps the problems had been addressed in a newer version. Much to my dismay, the problems are even worse than the reviewer lead me to believe. It sounds to me like the original sound-effects track is completely missing. To compound such an egregious omission, new sound effects have been plopped in that do not remotely mesh with the original soundtrack.
"This is outlandish! This is not just incomprehensible but reprehensible! I cannot possibly express to you the degree of disappointment, nay anger, I feel over this. You cannot possibly have a valid reason for such foolishness. At the absolute least, you should have simply released an unchanged version of this excellent film on DVD with some attempt at enhancing the image and sound quality.
"I was eagerly awaiting the DVD release of "The Hobbit." I am incensed,...
To sum up: I love the movie (5 stars). Get it on VHS (5 stars). Avoid the DVD version like the plague.
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on October 9, 2001
I saw this movie for the first time as a pre-schooler, and loved it. Believe it or not, I actually saw this movie before I read the book. In retrospect, I realize that my mother introduced me to this movie to prepare me for the book, which she later read to me as a bedtime story. Anyway, I still like the movie, which now holds additional nostalgic value. In my opinion, this movie is a better adaptation than the other attempts to translate Tolkein's work into animation. Part of this is probably due to the fact that The Hobbit actually was a simpler book, and was made to please younger children, as well as older kids and adults. Even though the encounter with Beorn was left out, this movie is an excellent adaptation of the novel, covering all significant plot points, and making excellent use of Tolkein's songs and poetry in the soundtrack. I still think of the melodies in this film when I read the musical sections of the book. The vocal acting was done brilliantly, with Orson Bean making Bilbo simultaneously mild-mannered and courageous; John Huston giving Gandalf a vigourous personality and resonant voice to match; and Hans Conreid making Thorin suitably proud and surly. The animation, which some people call "dated" is perfectly adequate, is not so spectacular that it takes one's attention away from the story, and has a feel that I have never found outside of a Rankin-Bass film. In fact, it actually resembles a moving illustration. This film has survived the test of time, and remains an excellent way to get someone (child or adult) interested enough in Middle Earth to read the books, at which point they are firmly hooked.
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