Hobbit, The-The Battle of the Five Armies (Blu-ray) 3D Special Edition (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
Multi Disc Set (4)
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 ? 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

   

It's safe to imagine that when J.R.R. Tolkien sat down to write The Hobbit in the 1930s he did not think that some 70 plus years later we would be sitting down in a vast megaplex watching his slight children's adventure story turned into a sprawling three-part epic. Many fans of the original novel were dismayed at the adaptation of the book, fondly remembering the first time they had delved into the story of Bilbo Baggins on his little adventure out of the Shire.

The truth is, of course, that after filming Lord of the Rings it would have been impossible for Jackson to make a movie suitable for adults and children alike out of the original novel. As it is the series captured the spirit of adventure of the novel yet providing more dramatic action (and a female elf!) to make it more universally enjoyed.

In the book The Battle of the Five Armies took place over a couple of pages, there was no evil Orc overlord to deal with and no overarching love story between and elf maiden and a handsome dwarf. In the film both these elements are given epic status.

Daniel B reviewed the standard Blu-ray version of this film. The version provided to me is the 3D 4 Disc set which includes the 3D version of the film, spread over two discs, the Blu-ray version and a disc of extras.

Now that the three films are complete it will be interesting to see whether they stand the test of time. Each had their qualities and highpoints and each was justly accused of running over length. This third film ramps up the action in the spectacular battle sequences both at the beginning with the fiery shootout with Smaug the Dragon and at the end with the titular battle.

The sequences are exciting and well handled. Other decisions were not so effective. The addition of a comic relief character in the form of Alfrid (played by excellent actor Ryan Gage) was no doubt designed to lighten the mood a little but his scenes simply slowed down the pace of the movie as did the seemingly endless ruminations over the curse of the dragon's gold that kept Thorin Oakenshield in its thrall.

Overall this was an exciting conclusion to the series. Enormously successful at the box office, the series brought in almost $3 billion, it justified its existence from my financial viewpoint. From a point of view of quality it was perhaps a less successful series but there is enough in the films to entertain and justify travelling with a little Hobbit on his mighty journey.

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Transfer Quality

Video

   As said, the Blu-ray version of the film has been reviewed. I concentrated on the 3-D version of the film. Peter Jackson is a strong proponent of film science pioneering the high frame rate technology, which may become a staple of cinema in future years, though it is interesting that only James Cameron has seriously taken up the banner for his upcoming Avatar films.

The 3D film is split over two discs. For someone who usually choses to buy the standard 2D Blu-ray versions of most films (where they are available in both formats) this came as a surprise. The break came about two thirds through as Thorin paces the golden floored room of his newly-claimed castle.It was disruptive, though minorly so, to the overall experience.

The 2.40:1 transfer looks glorious in 3-D. Jacksons love of technology means that he took the 3-D process seriously. None of the films are gimmicky in their use of 3-D. The occasional pointy sword and the flame of the dragon's breath arise naturally from the story and simply enhance the presentation.

In his review Daniel spoke of his general dislike of 3-D in home cinema and it is fair to say that many people would prefer to watch a standard 2-D version of this film rather than strap on the glasses for the full 3-D experience. There are reasons why this makes sense. Until 3-D technology reaches the stage where glasses aren't needed people will still find them annoying to wear. Aside from anything the glasses darken the image making for a more sombre experience in the case of this film.

Generally the 3-D is used to give a sense of depth to the image. In the battle sequences that sense of depth is impressive, taking us deep into the melee.

The other aspects of the image quality are as described in the earlier review. It is a crisp good-looking film with an incredible level of detail.

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

Audio

   The 3-D version of The Battle of the Five Armies carries the same audio as the Blu-ray - an English DTS HD-MA 7.1 track as the main event and other tracks in French, Chinese and Italian.

There is also an Audio Descriptive track in Dolby Digital 5.1 which is entertaining in its own right. The description of the battle scenes is full of life and colour.

The surround effects are exciting throughout and there is constant action from the sub-woofer.

Dialogue is clear and easy to understand and the sound effects are precise and thrilling.

A superior audio track.

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

Extras

The four disc edition contains the same features as on the standard Blu-ray:

New Zealand : Home of Middle Earth Part 3 (6:07) Promotional featurette for New Zealand which covers the locations used for this third film. Recruiting the Five Armies (11:39) Completing Middle Earth - A Six Part Saga (9:54) Completing Middle Earth - A Seventeen Year Journey (8:59) The Last Goodbye - Behind the Scenes (11:18) The Last Goodbye - Music Video (4:21) Credits (1:30) Trailer #2 (2:33) Desolation of Smaug Extended Edition Trailer (1:39)

Here's the odd thing. The first disc of the 3D film contains an extra copy of the Home of Middle Earth feature - not sure why...

R4 vs R1

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

    This is the same feature set as other Regions - buy local.

Summary

  Anyone who has a Middle Earth fancy will have rushed out to buy this set now, only pausing to put in an order for the extended edition. The film, and indeed the series, may divide viewers but the presentation of this set will not - it is universally good.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Trevor Darge (read my bio)
Saturday, April 18, 2015
Review Equipment
DVDCambridge Audio 752BD All Region Blu-ray, using HDMI output
DisplayJVC DLX 700 with 4K e-shift on 140" Screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationPioneer SC -LX 78K 9.2 Channel
SpeakersAaron ATS-5 7.1

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