Hobbit, The-The Battle of the Five Armies (Blu-ray) (2014)

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Released 26-Mar-2015

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Fantasy Featurette-New Zealand
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Multiple
Music Video
Trailer-2
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2014
Running Time 144:26
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Peter Jackson
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Martin Freeman
Ian McKellan
Richard Armitage
Dean O'Gorman
Aiden Turner
Orlando Bloom
Evangeline Lilly


Case ?
RPI $39.95 Music Howard Shore


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 7.1
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 5.1
French DTS HD Master Audio 7.1
Italian Dolby Digital 5.1
Chinese Dolby Digital 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
French
Italian for the Hearing Impaired
Dutch
Chinese
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

†††† And so, we come to the end of a great series of films. Six wonderful films (on average), two great stories, many Oscars, a great production team and one truly spectacular location, New Zealand. This series is a phenomenal achievement and one of the most audacious and visionary achievements in the history of cinema. Peter Jackson, Phillipa Boyens and Fran Walsh have spent a huge chunk of their lives bringing these films to the screen and have achieved probably the greatest series of films ever made, to my mind at least, outstripping the Star Wars films. This one, The Hobbit-Battle of the Five Armies, is not the best film of the six but it also isn't the worst (Return of the King and The Hobbit-An Unexpected Journey hold those crowns respectively) but in this company that makes it a pretty awesome cinematic experience. I saw this at the cinema in 3D-HFR which is a significant cut above normal 3D in my opinion. I thought that some sequences were really great in HFR including Legolas fighting the troll towards the end of the film. I am not a big fan of 3D generally and have no interest in having it at home. Those who like 3D and are interested in the home Blu-ray 3D version of this title, it is being released separately to this standard Blu-ray edition and will be reviewed separately on this site.

†††† As many of you would know, The Hobbit films have been based on a combination of the original book written by J R R Tolkien and other stories written by Tolkien with contemporaneous plots. The original novel of The Hobbit, is quite a thin book and certainly doesn't have the complexity of these films or the Lord of the Rings cycle. Originally, I thought it was a bit ridiculous to spread such a thin book over three films but with the additional material such as the role of Saruman, the return of Sauron, Azog the defiler and more, I think it works. I think these films are a great addition to the Lord of the Rings cycle and a wonderful achievement in their own right.

†††† This particular film kicks off with an awesome sequence where Smaug the dragon (Voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch) is attacking and destroying Laketown, only to face Bard the Bowman (Luke Evans) in a particularly belligerent mood. It really kicks off the film on a high note of action and visual spectacle. This gives way to quite a bit of politics, arguing and character development until the massive battle which dominates the film kicks off, featuring Billy Connolly as the dwarf lord, Dain riding on a wild boar. This final battle is spectacular both from a massive battle perspective but also the inventiveness of the individual fights like the one between Legolas (Orlando Bloom) and the troll I mentioned earlier and the final battle between Thorin (Richard Armitage) and Azog (Manu Bennett). Everyone else gets involved as well including Tauriel, the elf (Evangeline Lilly), all of the dwarves but especially Fili (Dean O'Gorman) and Kili (Aiden Turner) and of course, the titular hobbit, Bilbo (Martin Freeman) and the mainstay of all six films Gandalf (Ian McKellan). Another great image is the Elf King, Thranduil (Lee Pace) arriving on his moose.

†††† I thoroughly enjoyed this film at the cinema and then again at home. It's not perfect, dragging a little in the middle but the rest of it makes up for any drawbacks with action, romance, drama, fights, thrills, great effects, beautiful landscapes, Billy Connolly on a pig and much more.

†††† One small note - I had problems with the feature disc in this 2 Blu-ray set on my Sony BDP-760 with two different copies having trouble being accepted as Blu-ray discs by the player. It worked sometimes but not every time. This did not occur with a Panasonic player I have or with a PS4. I have reported this back to the distributor who is investigating.

†††† A great finish to a marvellous cinematic achievement.

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Transfer Quality

Video

†††† This transfer is wonderful with huge amounts of detail on show throughout. There are shots which show the amazing detail on faces, other sequences which show off the marvellous effects (except for one moment where Legolas is obviously CGI), the grandeur of the battle sequences and more. This is the only time I have ever missed the 3D experience from the cinema especially during the opening sequence and the Legolas battle in the mountains. As I mentioned earlier, the 3D version will be reviewed separately. This is a marvellous transfer of a 2D Blu-ray with excellent colour, wonderful clarity, incredible shadow detail and more. I have no criticisms to make.

†††† There are subtitles available in English plus a number of other languages. They were clear and easy to read.



Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

†††† The main audio on this Blu-ray is an awesome DTS HD-MA 7.1 track in English, plus the same in French, an Audio Descriptive track in Dolby Digital 5.1 plus tracks in Italian and Chinese in Dolby Digital 5.1. The 7.1 track is awesome with surround effects coming from everywhere in the room, making the desolation of Laketown an awesome aural experience whether it be dragon fire, the burning town, the booming and sinister voice of the dragon or the spectacular score. The front and rear speakers are in overdrive for most of the film filling the room with the sounds of battle and more. The subwoofer also gets a workout supporting the battles, Smaug, fire and the music. Despite all of this the dialogue is always clear and easy to understand. Spectacular stuff!

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

†††† The extras are decent but you canít help but think there is much more to include on an upcoming extended version or box set of the three films.

Menu

†††† The menu included music and scenes from the film.

Disc 1

New Zealand : Home of Middle Earth Part 3 (6:07)

†††† Promotional featurette for New Zealand which covers the locations used for this third film.

Disc 2

Recruiting the Five Armies (11:39)

†††† Featurette focused on the recruiting of the extras who played the various armies in the film. Covers their costumes, training, prosthetics. Amusing and worth watching.

Completing Middle Earth - A Six Part Saga (9:54)

†††† An interesting featurette led by Jackson and Boyens about the six film cycle and the references they built into them to each other. Worth watching.

Completing Middle Earth - A Seventeen Year Journey (8:59)

†††† Another featurette focused on the six film journey including interviews and behind the scenes footage from the whole cycle.

The Last Goodbye - Behind the Scenes (11:18)

†††† Featurette about choosing the final song by Billie Boyd, including the process of writing and recording it.

The Last Goodbye - Music Video (4:21)

†††† Billie Boyd performing the song.

Credits (1:30)

†††† Credits for the featurettes

Trailer #2 (2:33)

†††† Theatrical Trailer

Desolation of Smaug Extended Edition Trailer (1:39)

†††† Trailer for extended version of second film

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

††† This version of the Blu-ray release seems to be the same globally.

Summary

††† A wonderful end to the greatest series of films in the history of cinema!

††† The video quality is excellent, stunning, amazing.

††† The audio quality is stupendous.

††† The extras are a bit disappointing, decent but underwhelming.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Monday, April 06, 2015
Review Equipment
DVDSONY BDP-S760 Blu-ray, using HDMI output
DisplaySharp LC52LE820X Quattron 52" Full HD LED-LCD TV . Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt into amplifier. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationMarantz SR5005
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

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