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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon August 6, 2013
WHAT WILL WE SEE IN THE EXTENDED EDITION:

1. More of DALE, including the BLACK ARROWS. Director Peter Jackson mentions a previously unseen character: "Girion, who is defending [the city of] Dale using black arrows against Smaug. And the black arrows play a part in an ongoing story, for they are the one thing that can pierce the dragon's hide."

2. More king of the wood elves; THRANDUIL. Peter Jackson: "There are also issues with Thranduil. We get some of the reason why he and the dwarves had a falling out - to do with these white gems..."

3. More of HOBBITON. Producer Phillipa Boyens: "You are going to get more of Hobbiton. We always wanted to wend our way through Hobbiton, but in the end Bilbo has to run out of the door."

4. The OLD TOOK'S PARTY: In which we see a younger Gandalf meet Bilbo Baggins as a young child, convincing the wizard of the young hobbit's bravery and courage. I won't spoil it for you, but it involves a dragon and a bit of magic.

5. Dwarf antics at RIVENDELL. Peter Jackson: "You are going to get some serious Dwarvish disrespect of the elves at Rivendell." Bofur leads the troupe in a rowdy chorus of "The Man in the Moon", a classic Tolkien pub-song.

6. The SONG of the GOBLIN KING. Producer Fran Walsh: "You are going to get more Goblin Town, and the Great Goblin singing his song. It is a great song, but it was just another delay in terms of moving the story along." Peter Jackson: "A number one hit from the Goblin King. Barry Humphries is going to rise up the charts!"

Well, all looking good on these fronts! The roads lead ever on and on...
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on August 5, 2013
The packaging is great, the slipcase is thick and sturdy and the back features an embossed acorn emblem of Bilbo's waist coat buttons. The case that the Blu-Ray discs are in is black, just like the Lord Of The Rings Extended Edition Blu-Ray set. Not a blue case like most other Blu-Ray movies which I think makes this version cohesive with the Lord Of The Rings set, which I as a fan appreciate the continuity. The special features are as follows:

-The Filmmakers' Commentary - Director/writer/producer Peter Jackson and writer/co-producer Philippa Boyens provide their perspective and stories on creating the first film.

-New Zealand: Home of Middle-Earth - From Matamata to Queenstown, travel with Peter Jackson and his team across the stunning locations of New Zealand, transformed by the filmmakers into Middle-Earth.

-The Appendices Part 7: A Long-Expected Journey - A 14-part chronological history of the filming of An Unexpected Journey, covering pre-production in the various departments of the film in the months leading up to the start of principal photography, the boot camp training for the main cast, and the work done on set chronologically through the three shooting blocks and in the world of its digital effects. Chapters include:

*The Journey Back to Middle-Earth
*Riddles in the Dark: Gollum's Cave
*An Unexpected Party: Bag End
*Roast Mutton: Trollshaws Forest
*Bastion of the Greenwood: Rhosgobel
*A Short Rest: Rivendell and London
*Over Hill: The Misty Mountains
*Under Hill: Goblin Town
*Out of the Frying Pan: The Forest Ledge
*Return to Hobbiton: The Shire
*The Epic of Scene 88: Strath Taieri
*The Battle of Moria: Azanulbizar
*Edge of the Wilderland: Pick-ups and the Carrock
*Home Is Behind, the World Is Ahead

-The Appendices Part 8: Return to Middle-Earth - Another selection of documentaries and featurettes, further detailing the development, design and production of An Unexpected Journey:

-The Company of Thorin - Explores the characters and backgrounds of the five families of dwarves and the company of actors chosen to play Thorin's company on the Quest of the Lonely Mountain. Chapters include:

*Assembling the Dwarves
*Thorin, Fili & Kili
*Balin & Dwalin
*Oin & Gloin
*Dori, Nori & Ori
*Bifur, Bofur & Bombur

-Mr. Baggins: The 14th Member - A revealing look at the film's charismatic and talented lead actor, Martin Freeman.

-Durin's Folk: Creating the Dwarves - Reveals the journey and process of designing, conceptualizing and physically realizing the dwarves in The Hobbit.

-The Peoples and Denizens of Middle-Earth - Focuses on the realization of new characters and creatures encountered in the first film, from casting to characterization to physical and digital design. Chapters include:

*The Stone Trolls
*Radagast the Brown
*Goblins
*Azog the Defiler

-Realms of the Third Age: From Bag End to Goblin Town - Follows the creation of the Middle-Earth locations from conceptual design to set and prop building to fully digital realities. Realms explored include:

*Hobbiton
*Rhosgobel
*The Misty Mountains
*Goblin Town

-The Songs of The Hobbit - A look at the realization of Tolkien's songs in An Unexpected Journey.
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on March 1, 2013
Almost clicked the order button, but due to my love of the extended versions of the original trilogy, I decided to do a little research before I made that mistake. in doing so, I discovered that the Blue-Ray/DVD set for release on March 19th will contain only the theatrical version of the movie. Warner Bros is including a teaser trailer containing Dragon Smaug with this version in order to entice people to buy it. The extended version of 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey' will be released in time for Christmas 2013. As with the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Warner Bros. is trying to stick it to the consumer again by hoping people will buy both versions. Sorry, WB... I can wait another nine months. In the meantime, I'll rent a copy to satisfy my urge to see it sooner.
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on November 11, 2013
Man, I love this movie. Unfortunately I haven't seen it in about a year, because I didn't want to purchase the DVD until the extended edition came out. But it was definitely worth the wait!

The extended/new scenes are great bonuses, just as they were in LOTR (I actually hadn't seen the theatrical versions of LOTR until after I had seen the extended editions about a billion times, and I always felt like so much was missing). It's perfectly understandable why these were not included in the theatrical version, but I'm so glad they were put in for the extended editions.

Of course, similar to the movie, if one is expecting the book of The Hobbit exactly, you'll be disappointed. But what I love about Peter Jackson's Hobbit is that he explores many details of Tolkien's world and tries to bridge the gap between The Hobbit and LOTR. Is it necessary? Not at all, or else Tolkien would have done it that way. But I do think it's incredibly fun and interesting to see things fleshed out more. I know the story of the book well, so it's just great to be able to see Jackson's adaptation, including the addition of things created by Tolkien and things Jackson and his team created--again, it is, after all, an adaptation, and in my mind, a great one.

A brief breakdown of the extended scenes:

-More of Erebor. You get to see a little more of Erebor and its wealth, as well as more tension between the Dwarves and the Elves--an offering of gems is made to King Thranduil, but taken away once he tries to take it.

-Slightly more of Smaug. Not much at all, and I didn't even notice this edition until I read it on another site, but you do see an extremely quick flash of his silhouetted body. Which, on that note, this is one thing that I never minded when seeing the movie--a lot of people wanted to see more of Smaug, but I actually liked this choice better. I definitely wanted to see more of Smaug because of how excited I was to see him, but in this scene, the unseen Smaug works better, in my opinion. But to each his own.

-More of Hobbiton. This was one of my favorite additions--we get to see quite a bit more of Hobbiton (which is now permanently built into the hills in New Zealand--I definitely need to visit that before I die). We see a party much like Bilbo's birthday party in Fellowship but this time Bilbo is a child, and at one point hits Gandalf with a wooden sword, which is completely adorable. Later, you see Biblo walking through the marketplace in Hobbiton as he's shopping and trying to avoid Gandalf. I love Hobbiton, and having these scenes was great.

-Probably more of the Dwarves in Bilbo's house. I couldn't tell you what they were, but the scene did feel slightly longer--perhaps just my imagination.

-A lot more of Rivendell. All very short scenes, but there's quite a few of them. There's more of the Dwarves eating, including one of my now-favorite scenes where Bofur stands up on the table (quite rudely) and starts singing a pub song (which is actually a song from The Fellowship of the Ring that Frodo sings, who says he learned it from Bilbo. I believe it's Jackson who explains in the Appendices that it's up to the viewer to decide if Bilbo learned it after Bofur sung it, or if Bilbo had taught it to Bofur before--I like both ideas, really). I just love songs like this, and hope to see more in the next two movies. You also see more of Bilbo exploring Rivendell (including looking at the image of Sauron fighting Isuldur behind the shards of Narsil that you see in Fellowship). You also hear Elrond and Gandalf discuss the quest, and the White Council scene is extended as well.

-The Goblin King. This is quite possibly my favorite new scene, because the Great Goblin sings a song based on the text in the book. It really adds a bit to his (and the goblins as a whole) character, and on top of that it's just a really fun song. It's out of tune and very goblin-y and torture-filled, but I still loved it. "Down in the Deep of Goblin Town." There's various other small bits added to the goblin scenes, too.
There may have been a little more of the pale orc, but I can't remember anything specifically. Probably a few other small scenes I missed.

I'm really only disappointed with two things:

1. That the "Riddles in the Dark" were not extended. There's more in the book, and I completely understand only having the ones they did in the theatrical version, but I just wish more had been added in the extended edition. This was my single favorite scene of the whole movie (I mean seriously, Andy Serkis just did such a supurbly amazing and fantastic job--Martin Freeman, too), and I would love to have seen a longer version. Ah, well; and

2. I wish that the "Misty Mountains" song was extended. The song in the book is much longer, and I just absolutely love the melody in the movie. I wish they could have made it longer.

One thing that I thought was a little funny was how the extended edition is kind of similar to the Fellowship extended editions. Both mark their half-way points (Disk 2) in Rivendell, both have the cast running from goblins in the second half of the film, both start with Hobbiton. . . . Not a bad thing at all, IMO, but yeah.

Overall, I love the extended scenes in An Unexpected Journey, and I still love the movie as a whole. I still couldn't help to feel that some of the time the digital effects were a little much. I'm not sure exactly how to explain it, but LOTR just felt so real to me, and in The Hobbit, some things seem more obviously digital. Maybe it's just nostalgia or something, but yeah.

The movie also seems to have a constant struggle between being a kid's movie and not. The movie is by far much darker than the book, which I didn't mind, but there's also moments that it seems so close to the feel of the book that it feels much more kid-ish. LOTR seemed to have a much more consistent tone throughout the movie. It had light-hearted (Hobbiton, for example) and comedic moments, yet those scenes didn't seem to change the overall tone at all as it sometimes did in The Hobbit.

I also would have loved to have more focus on the dwarves individually. Viewing the Appendices, you can see just how much detail and depth they went into creating individual personalities for every dwarf, but I didn't feel like enough of that went into the film. Yeah, they're still more fleshed out than they were in the book overall, but just knowing how much work they put in to making each dwarf a singular character, it made me want even more for them to be more individualized. However, considering the sheer numbers, I do have to commend them for the job that they did, because that's an extremely hard thing to do. Doesn't mean I don't wish they could've been fleshed out slightly more, though, especially in the extended edition (which they were, but I wanted even more =P).

I still wish the dwarves could've had their colored hoods and instruments, I still wish the troll scene could have been a little closer to the book (though I do like some of the changes they made), I still wish the stone giants were just in the distance (though this doesn't bother me too much at all), I still wish the tree scene at the end would've been different . . . but overall I do love the film, especially the extended edition.

I have yet to watch the film commentaries, but I suspect I will soon enough--the Appendices, as I've said, were really great to watch, though.

Part 7 (which is actually two disks, instead of the usual one--parts 1-6 were covered in LOTR) is titled "A Long-Expected Journey" and covers a lot of pre-production; includes a great introduction where Jackson explains how the film came to be and how he came to be director once again; the actors' boot camp and various other training; the shooting of the film and the various sets; pick-up shooting; and more.

Part 8, "Return to Middle-Earth" further details the development, design, and production of The Hobbit, and explores in-depth the background of the main characters and the casting for said characters. There's a section on creating the dwarves as a whole, and how Jackson wanted to do for the dwarves what Tolkien did for the elves, and really go in-depth to their past and history and life. It also shows the concepts, creation, and design of the various sets (both physical and digital), and lastly, there's a look at the songs of The Hobbit.

The first disk of the movie also has "New Zealand: Home of Middle-Earth" which is a cool look into the various places in NZ that were used for the film.

I always loved watching the Appendices to LOTR, and The Hobbit was no different. I would definitely recommend this five-disk set--the extended edition of the film is amazing, and all the special features/appendices are just really great and interesting, too.

Original Film Review Here: [...]
Gallery of Product Images Here: [...]
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on December 14, 2012
This movie is FREAKING AMAZING!!! I was getting really worried before going to see it because of some negative reviews, but there is nothing to worry about. If you loved the Lord of the Rings movies, especially the extended editions, then you will love The Hobbit too!

A little bit about me: I grew up on the animated movies, read the books when I was in sixth grade, and have reread them several times over the years. I'm a HUGE fan, but not a "purist", and saw each of the live action films several times in the theaters. I took a class on Tolkien in college (and knew more about the books than even the teacher lol), went to view the original manuscripts at Marquette University in Milwaukee twice, and borrowed most of the History of Middle Earth books from the library but just skimmed them. I'm pretty familiar with much of the appendices/deleted chapters/abandoned attempts at revising The Hobbit and sequelizing Lord of the Rings, etc.

I've been waiting for The Hobbit since 2003, and have been following the production online. When it was announced 5 months ago that Peter Jackson was splitting the story into 3 films (after already completing production on the 2-film adaptation), my heart sank. It's not that I was opposed to turning The Hobbit into a trilogy (despite that it's meant to be a children's story and not an epic), but I just didn't think there was enough story and it seemed like a cash grab that would probably destroy the pacing. But, Peter Jackson hasn't let me down before and so I held out hope. In fact the more I heard him talk about giving the dwarves a bit more character development and backstory and adding in all the stuff about the White Council, I began to look forward to it.

When a couple weeks ago reviews starting coming in saying that, as I had first feared, the movie dragged and the pacing was terrible, I prepared myself for disappointment. Even though hardcore fans on messageboards like theonering.net who had seen the movie early kept saying it was terrific, the negative reviews from professional critics kept coming in. The movie is "bloated" and "dull" and "misses the point", they said. And so I was VERY nervous going to see the movie this afternoon.

I'm pleased to say that not only is the movie incredible, but it's on par with the Lord of the Rings movies. I haven't felt this way about a movie since Fellowship of the Ring 10 years ago. I haven't been able to stop thinking about it all night, and I can't wait till I can go see it again. I sat in the theater for nearly three hours with the biggest grin on my face the entire time. The movie didn't feel bloated or stretched thin to me. I was worried that there would be all these scenes that went on too long or belonged on the cutting room floor, but I can't think of anything I would have left out. It was like watching the book acted out on the screen in front of me with really great acting, music, and production values.

The cinematography has really improved in the last 10 years! Wow this movie is beautifully shot! Howard Shore's music is once again great, though there are some little deletions and changes from the Original Soundtrack -- the only one that really bugged me though was the use of the Nazgul theme over Thorin fighting Azog. There was better music there in the Original Soundtrack and changing it was a horrible decision.

I love the added stuff with the White Council/Necromancer. It's all there in Tolkien's appendices and in "Unfinished Tales", and (blasphemy for saying so) depending on how this continues to play out over the next two movies I may end up liking this even better than the book! Either the next film or the one after that will have the Battle of Dol Goldur and, from what I've heard, we will see Gandalf, Saruman, Radagast, and Galadriel battling werewolves and giant spiders as they try to drive out the Necromancer. I can just imagine how awesome that will be if Peter Jackson pulls it off!

And, yes, this felt to me like a complete movie. One of the reasons I originally hated the idea of a trilogy was I expected to feel short changed by only seeing a small fraction of the story and then having to wait another year. But I felt like there was plenty of story and they got into plenty of adventures.

My only nitpicks are few: I liked the design of the Great Goblin but I thought he acted way too cartoony. My other is there were a couple times where Bilbo and the dwarves fell from a height of like 500 feet and just got back up. They would have been killed. I also thought the character Azog was fine, but why did he have to be all CGI? Why couldn't it have been an actor in makeup like Lurtz in Fellowship of the Ring? Those are really my only nitpicks though.

As I sat in the theater I had a feeling like this is one of the best filmgoing experiences I've ever had. I had the same feeling watching Lord of the Rings. As someone who originally hated the idea of making this into a trilogy, now I say bring it on!!!

UPDATE: I got to see the movie in 48 frames per second (HFR 3D) yesterday. I had only seen it in regular 24fps 3D before. 24fps has been the standard for film since the Silent movie days. The Hobbit is the first movie to be shot at 48fps to give it a sharper look. Unfortunately the technology is new so only a few theaters are equipped to even show it at 48fps. Many of the reviewers were saying they hated it, that it looks like a BBC TV movie. I was still curious to give it a try because it's new technology and it's how Peter Jackson intended you to see the movie, but I didn't want it to distract from my first viewing if I ended up not liking it, so we saw the movie first at 24fps 3D.

Anyway, I liked it and I didn't think it looked "cheap" or like a "soap opera" at all. It looked really sharp and there were some parts where the people looked like they were really right in front of you. In addition to that, motion blur is completely gone now and I've heard from other people who get headaches from watching 3D movies that they were fine watching this one, thanks to the 48fps.

Peter Jackson has confirmed that there WILL be an extended edition dvd/blu ray like they did with the Lord of the Rings movies. So you may want to hold out from buying the theatrical dvd when it comes out and get the extended edition.
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VINE VOICEon January 3, 2013
Are you ready to return to middle-earth? Why wouldn't you be? Peter Jackson, with the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, brought us to a place that many thought wasn't possible except in the written form. A product of many of our childhoods, J.R.R. Tolkien constructed an elaborate world of wizards, trolls, elves, dwarves, humans and most importantly Hobbits. It is an elaborately detailed world of maps, homelands, stories and adventures. It couldn't possibly be realized anywhere close to what J.R.R. Tolkien's imagination did. Yet, Jackson pulled it off better than anyone could have hoped. Now, he's trying again.

"The Hobbit" is a step backward into the history of middle-earth. It is quite simply the adventure that Bilbo Baggins takes that leads to him writing his book, "There and back again". Peter Jackson is trying to do the unthinkable with this trilogy, duplicate the magic he pulled off before. Much can be told from this first installment and whether or not the magic is still there.

The movie, filmed at twice frame-speed as traditional film (48 frames) has many geeks talking about how it will look too real. Ultimately, at 48 frames, it could look as crisp and real as a soap opera. Well, first of all, with a film like this, it takes a lot of guts to attempt such a thing; a movie with such obvious special effects and makeup. Yet, the opposite could also be achieved; a level of escapism and realism that not only delivers a quality movie experience, but also sucks you into a world that you don't want to leave.

Peter Jackson has learned a few things from his first trilogy and you can see it in "The Hobbit". This world is even more realized. The characters are more fleshed out. Richard Armitage's depiction of Thorin is full of heart and passion. The faithfulness to the book itself is even more realized. More importantly, the journey is even more colorful and creative.

"The Hobbit" is a lot of the same. It's another journey full of adventure and trolls, dwarves and orcs, but again, it is a quality journey. The escapism you feel in this film is like nothing you've ever felt before. When it was time to go, at the end of the film, I didn't want to. I was there. I was in middle-earth, ready to take the journey ahead with Bilbo, Gandolff and the band of Dwarves. I didn't care about length or how long I had been sitting there. I was invested. That, is really all any movie can do.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon August 25, 2013
WHAT WILL WE SEE IN THE EXTENDED EDITION:

1. More of DALE, including the BLACK ARROWS. Director Peter Jackson mentions a previously unseen character: "Girion, who is defending [the city of] Dale using black arrows against Smaug. And the black arrows play a part in an ongoing story, for they are the one thing that can pierce the dragon's hide."

2. More king of the wood elves; THRANDUIL. Peter Jackson: "There are also issues with Thranduil. We get some of the reason why he and the dwarves had a falling out - to do with these white gems..."

3. More of HOBBITON. Producer Phillipa Boyens: "You are going to get more of Hobbiton. We always wanted to wend our way through Hobbiton, but in the end Bilbo has to run out of the door."

4. The OLD TOOK'S PARTY: In which we see a younger Gandalf meet Bilbo Baggins as a young child, convincing the wizard of the young hobbit's bravery and courage. I won't spoil it for you, but it involves a dragon and a bit of magic.

5. Dwarf antics at RIVENDELL. Peter Jackson: "You are going to get some serious Dwarvish disrespect of the elves at Rivendell."

6. A scene between BILBO AND ELROND, in which Elrond speaks to Bilbo about his QUEST.

7. The SONG of the GOBLIN KING. Producer Fran Walsh: "You are going to get more Goblin Town, and the Great Goblin singing his song. It is a great song, but it was just another delay in terms of moving the story along." Peter Jackson: "A number one hit from the Goblin King. Barry Humphries is going to rise up the charts!"

Well, all looking good on these fronts! The roads lead ever on and on...
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on October 10, 2014
If you are already invested in the motion picture version of J.R.R. Tolkien's books, high chances are you are already investing in the about to conclude Hobbit Trilogy. What if you haven't yet? Should you return to Middle Earth one more time with the prequel story? If you enjoyed the previous trilogy, then the answer is obviously a yes. Like Fellowship of the Ring, this will probably be my favorite of the trilogy because I love how it starts and I love how it ends with that "the journey is far from over" message. Once again I find myself in awe of Peter Jackson's and WETA's production team presentation with this movie's fantastic settings and numerous colorful characters of An Unexpected Journey. I usually love dwarves in most fantasy settings. I find them more interesting than typically athletic and beautiful elves. I'm not going to lie, but that is one of the main reasons why I loved this movie. Each Dwarf looks and has a unique personality that I can't take my eyes off when on screen. We all know how Jackson does like to draw out parts in and out the book, but there are certain moments where I was in complete fantasy nerd heaven. I'm so glad he wanted to elaborate on the dwarf history parts. It's as if Peter Jackson knew that Warhammer nerds like me would want to splatter that type of imagery of orcs and dwarves in an amazing hate relationship with such emotional expression. To this date, I doubt anything is going to capture what I thought was entirely impossible to film. Even the return to familiar settings like Hobbiton and Rivendell brought that feeling of fantasy escape rushed back to me like I did when watching the first LOTR movie back in 2002. And little things that I remember from reading the book somehow made it in anyway. I ended up enjoying the hell out this film. Even dwarves singing (yes, they actually did sing in the books) somehow made it into this movie and it was wonderful to watch.

Now, the real question is what version you should buy of An Unexpected Journey. Unless you are a completion-ist that has to have every scene and every special feature for each entry (i.e. me) then this should be your choice. However, I have a reason I knocked a star off of this review. For nostalgic reasons, this edition did not feel like an extended edition such as the previous LOTR movie. For starters, the actual movie case doesn't have that old timey book feel like the original trilogy DVD versions. Here we get a character insert picture no matter what as if it was a typical bu-ray cover you find anywhere in a retail store. The extra minuets added to the film are barely noticeable with not real new emphasis to have you go "whoa! This is a brand new scene altogether! Or "holy crap! That's awesome they added that in!" One scene is either hit or miss depending on your humor level. I like anything that displays how dwarves feel about elves and I laughed regardless, but for some, yeah I can kind of see why it was pointless. As much as I liked the singing in the movie, I could have done without the Goblin king's. It sounded better on paper, but you can see why they decided to leave it out.

Overall, this is a nice package to buy if you do not have An Unexpected Journey yet. If you just need the first entry for movie narrative sake, you could honestly just skip on this and purchase the theatrical version. However, if you are a fan, then this should already be in your movie collection. The only thing that would have sweetened the deal, is if it came with a DVD copy.

Nerd moments for the rest of this review:
This movie was met with a mixed bag of disappointment or content. I can understand a few of the gripes like it takes too long to get things started, maybe parts not originally in the book were elaborated too much, that certain something is missing to what made reading the Hobbit so special. But you know what? The reason I liked this movie as much as I did was due that I knew what I was getting myself into. Even when I watched this in the theater, the DVD theatrical release, and the extended Blu-Ray version, I still find myself enjoying an Unexpected Journey quite a bit...almost more than Fellowship of the Ring. I was already used to Peter Jackson's adaptation of the Lord of the Rings. In fact, I'm glad he wanted to pick up the pieces and finish what Guillermo del Toro started. They did the same exact thing with the previous trilogy, so why not? And to be honest from a business side with WB, it was probably the smarter choice. Instead of 1 movie to tie it all together, why not push it into an epic trilogy format that has a strong beginning, darker middle, and the defining end to it all?.... Of course the irony of that statement comes crashing into a wall with the last segment of Desolation of Smaug... but let's not get there yet.

But what I cannot understand is how anybody would want to compare this movie to the much loathed Episode 1: The Phantom Menace for the Star Wars franchise. I'm sorry, but I think you are ignorant if you think so. Why? Because this movie can actually be watched without feeling embarrassed about piss poor dialogue, nonexistent acting, and terrible use of CGI. I promise you the parts with Radagast the brown are leagues beyond whatever the #$&% Lucas and company were trying to achieve with Jar Jar Binks. Even though there is a heavier use of CGI and green screen in this title than compared to the LOTR trilogy, it is still a fun and beautiful movie to watch. So much effort was put into this and this is just the first part of the Hobbit movie trilogy. Yes, it can feel bloated and it drags on, but at least it's interesting bloat and drag. Not, "oh my god, the magic is dead" reaction so many of us felt with each Star Wars prequel. Hey, imdb.com and rottentomatoes.com's ratings speak the truth. In my opinion, an Unexpected Journey will probably be the strongest out of the whole trilogy. It's not as strong as Fellowship of the Ring, as most will tell you. But if I have to return to the world of Middle Earth for a prequel, then I prefer it this way.
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on December 14, 2012
I have four words for you: Erebor, Thranduil, Rivendell, and Elrond. (In order of appearance, of course!)

This movie was absolutely gorgeous. Costumes, effects, design, everything was amazing. The Radagast sections didn't need to be quite so long but I do appreciate that PJ's trying to get the Dol Goldur/Necromancer bits in. Similarly, Galadriel's comments about Angmar and Rhudaur probably will be incomprehensible to the average watcher but they do hold a deeper significance. (Elrond's 'watchful peace' comment, anyone?)

You can tell where the scenes slow a bit - in a more 'taking our sweet time telling the story' fashion - but it does take some energy from the Lord of the Rings in its battle scenes. It is a fresher, younger look at the world of Middle-Earth between Morgoth and Sauron and the environments and attitudes of the characters reflect that. Each dwarf manages to be unique (Bofur turned out to be my favorite, honestly, for his frank oddness) and makes an impact, and McKellen and Freeman are fantastic. There's a very Arthur Dent air about Bilbo, but it works wonderfully.

I hadn't expected Thranduil in this movie, so his appearance nearly sent me into a faint.

This is a MUST SEE.
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VINE VOICEon December 2, 2013
Fans of Tolkien can argue about Peter Jackson’s handling of the beloved stories of Middle Earth, what he left out or changed, but no one has accused him of getting in ‘wrong.’ And considering the legions of fans all working from books that is a heck of a thing. A fan himself Jackson treats Tolkien’s works with the love and respect any fan would hope for.

After 3 Lord of the Rings films fans were looking forward to The Hobbit, the first prequel to LotR’s in which we see a younger Bilbo Baggins get swept up in an adventure with the wizard Gandalf and a troop of dwarves to rescue their home land from the dragon Smaug who captured it years ago.

As with his earlier films Jackson does not disappoint. Ian McKellan returns as the wizard and Martin Freeman, known to most as Dr Watson from Sherlock, is wonderful as the easily flustered, fish out of water gentle hobbit who finds himself in the wilds.

That having been said if you bought the dvd of the Hobbit when it first came out 6 months ago, sad to say, there really isn’t a reason to buy the extended version. With the three LotR films Jackson was unsure of his audience so the theatrical releases were only 2 hours long, with his true vision coming through on the 3 hour long versions released on DVD. It was worth it to buy those. With the first of the ‘Hobbit’ films though Jackson knew what he had and that audiences would support him. It was about 3 hours long and when I heard ‘extended version’ one can rightly ask “what the heck extra was there?”
A VERY brief scene of the young Bilbo meeting Gandalf.
There is a scene of a flustered Bilbo in a market in Hobbiton and I’m not really sure why it was included, it was obvious why it was cut.
A little more, a very little more, development of some of the dwarves who got little exposure in the film version.
A bit more development of Rivendell, the elven strong hold which plays up the dwarves being someone uncouth compared with their hosts, an over heard conversation between Gandalf and Elrond where they see this as a move in a long war against Sauron, not just a quest for its own sake, and a conversation between Bilbo and the elf lord Elrond.
Lastly a song by the goblin king about being down in goblin town, yes it was in the book but on the screen you suddenly feel like it’s a 1940’s B film that HAS to have a musical number shoehorned in.

The behind the scenes discs are interesting if you haven’t seen them on the original LotR’s discs but if you have seen those older ones there really isn’t too much new on these.

Still my point is Jackson has once more created a beautiful version of the works of Tolkien that any fan would be happy to own and if you didn’t buy the original version when it came out but held out for the extended version, then YES buy it, you’ll love it. BUT if you bought it when it first came out then there really isn’t enough here to justify the additional expense.
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