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351 of 382 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars EXTENDED EDITION: BLU-RAY STEEL-BOOK.
As usual with my reviews, I will limit my comments to the product advertised, in this case the steel-book limited edition blu-ray of the extended version of The Hobbit, An Unexpected Journey. Hopefully helping you to make the decision on whether the extended cut of the film is really worth the expenditure, especially if you, like me, already have the theatrical cut. I...
Published 18 months ago by J. Blakemore

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars The Necromancer has returned
“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” comes across as an extended piece of LOTR (Peter Jackson version) fan fiction. The characters are essentially the same, so are the situations. Both the good, the bad and the ugly from the original LOTR films has been included: the heroism of warriors, the loyalty of Hobbits, the supernatural wizards, the evil orcs and the...
Published 1 month ago by Ashtar Command


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351 of 382 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars EXTENDED EDITION: BLU-RAY STEEL-BOOK., 17 Nov. 2013
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
As usual with my reviews, I will limit my comments to the product advertised, in this case the steel-book limited edition blu-ray of the extended version of The Hobbit, An Unexpected Journey. Hopefully helping you to make the decision on whether the extended cut of the film is really worth the expenditure, especially if you, like me, already have the theatrical cut. I will also give you a run-down of all the additional scenes.
The packaging itself is the usual black plastic box sandwiched between metal covers, and in all honesty looks cheep when compared to the extended versions of the original trilogy in their book-style, individually coloured sleeves. Inside are the two-disc 3D version of the film; a single disc containing the extended blu-ray version and two discs containing the appendices which are numbered parts seven and eight, to fall in with the nomenclature of those in the extended version of The Lord Of The Rings, and hints at a box set containing all six films and their appendices in the not too distant future.(No surprise there then).
The quality of the blu-ray, as you'll already know if you have the theatrical version, is second to none, with dazzling colour saturation, perfectly solid blacks and stunning detail, as one would expect from twenty first century high def'. And the additional scenes or partial scenes fit in seamlessly. I can not comment on the effectiveness of the 3D version as I do not have a 3D player and have little love for the medium in any case.
Subtitles are included on the Blu-Ray version, as are various language options which include: French, Italian and Spanish.

The scene-extensions are as follows:(Please read no further if you want it to be a surprise)

1. During the prologue, the Elf-king Thranduill is shown a chest of stolen elven treasure when he confronts Thror, King Under The Mountain, which further explains why the elves are reluctant to help the dwarves when attacked by Smaug.
2. During the dragon attack on the town of Dale, we glimpse some of the large arrow-firing machines that form that towns defense.
3. A firework flashback during old Bilbo's narrative at the beginning of the film proper, reveal the origins of Bilbo's friendship with Gandalf.
4. The afternoon following young Bilbo's stressful meeting with Gandalf outside his Hobbit hole, Bilbo goes for a wander through Hobbiton searching for the wizard in the hope that he has truly gone. This is the longest of the additional scenes, and is a wonderful opportunity for us to get a lingering look at Hobbiton market. For every Hobbit-loving person, this is truly a magical addition, though does nothing to add to the story as a whole.
5. During the dwarf dinner scene, we get to learn a little about Biffor, and how the axe that remains embedded in his head has effected his speech.
6. As the dwarfs and hobbit approach Rivendell, we get a sense of Bilbo's character as he talks to Gandalf of a magical feeling he has as he looks down on the Last Homely House. Gandalf begins to sense that there is more to this hobbit than meets the eye.
7. There are a few additional scenes during the dwarf's stay at Rivendell, these include: kili winking at an elf who he thinks is female, only to be told that in fact it is a male elf. The dinner scene itself is extended with a food fight as we watch the growing irritation of the elves with their rowdy guests, during which Bofur sings a song. Interestingly the song, 'The Cat And The Fiddle' is a song originally sung by Frodo Baggins in the book, The Fellowship Of The Ring, as he dances on a table in The Prancing Pony, prior to his finger slipping into The One Ring ad his introduction to Aragorn. So for all Lord Of The Rings aficionados, this is an interesting little addition and nod back to the books.
As the dwarves feast, Bilbo's growing affection for Rivendell is revealed as he wanders off along tree-lined balconies and through open rooms, where Elrond finds him and invites the hobbit to stay in Rivendell if he so wishes. This little addition gives us a better understanding of why Bilbo should later want to return to the elves when he finally decides to leave the dwarves as they sleep in the porch of the goblin cave.
Following the feast, the dwarves finally test their hosts patience to the limits, as they strip off and dive into a fountain in the centre of Rivendell to bathe, overlooked by stunned elves.
8. A meeting between Gandalf and Elrond, where they discus Thorin's past, is overheard by Bilbo and the dwarf leader. This further helps to explain Thorin's decision to leave Rivendell unannounced and unexpectedly.
9. The meeting at Rivendell between Gandalf, Elrond, Saroman and Galadrial, is extended, and we get some important information about the missing rings of power and how the dwarves fit in with the One Ring story.
10. Finally, we get another song, this time sung by the Gobblin King, which does little in my mind but add length to an already overly-long story line.

So there it is, a breakdown of the extra 13 minutes in the extended edition. They are all nice little scenes, with the expanded views of Hobbiton, for me the highlight. But none of the extended scenes really add anything to the storyline, with only the background information on the One Ring and the missing rings of power, really adding anything to the narrative subtext of the overall story of Middle Earth, and which ties in with later events in the 'Ring' trilogy.

What really counts in this extended edition however are the appendices. Nine hours of extras which I am still wading through, all shot in wondrous high-def' and a vast qualitative improvement over appendices one through six of the original trilogy.

I promised myself when purchasing the theatrical edition of the Hobbit, that this time around I would not buy the extended version when it was released, as I knew there would be nothing important added - the Hobbit storyline having been already stretched to breaking point. In the end I couldn't resist it. Was it worth the £17.00 I paid for the steel-book? The jury is still out as I have only watched it through once at time of writing. I'm certain in time that the question will be irrelevant however, as I will certainly get my monies worth out of it in the end, having already watched the original blu-ray some fifteen times. I'm certain I will never grow tired of The Hobbit - An Unexpected Journey.

If you have enjoyed reading this review, please read my others.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not quite there yet, and certainly not back again, 25 May 2013
By 
Squirr-El (The Metropolis, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This is an adaptation of Tolkien’s small book of the same name, but much expanded, though not padded, with scenes not shown in the book itself. We get an opening scene based on the that of the Fellowship of The Ring, as Bilbo is busy writing his memoirs and hiding the valuables before the Sackville-Bagginses arrive for the birthday party, and Frodo setting off to meet Gandalf, who is bringing the fireworks; and then it is sixty-years earlier, and Gandalf makes his first appearance, soon followed by a company of dwarves. We get an extensive view of the Dwarves struggle to survive Smaug’s attack on their city under the Lonely Mountain and their epic battle with the Orcs that gave Thorin Oakenshield his name. We also get the story of the Brown Wizard fleshed out prior to his meeting with Gandalf. The film ends with Bilbo and the Dwarves getting their first sight of the lonely Mountain in the distance:
Bilbo: ”Well, the worst of it is behind us now”.

It is also fun trying to work out who is behind some of the faces; two of the dwarves sounded like Ken Stott and James Nesbit, and I knew I’d heard the Goblin King’s voice before, but couldn’t place him until the credits rolled. The dwarves are an odd bunch of accents, with Thorin sounding just like Sean Bean, and the others being a mixture of Scots and Irish.

It does feel like a lighter film than the Lord of the Rings, despite the Orcs, Wargs, Trolls and Goblins, though the shadow of a certain dead sorcerer does slowly start to make its presence felt.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Elen sila lumenn' omentielvo" - a bright star shines indeed on our meeting with this new great, wonderful adventure..., 17 Dec. 2012
By 
Maciej "Darth Maciek" (Darth Maciek is out there...) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
I was very impressed by "Hobbit". Below you will find the reasons why I liked this film so much, with some limited SPOILERS.

1. A successful combination of great fidelity to Tolkien's vision with some skilful alterations. In second part of LOTR ("Two Towers") Peter Jackson allowed himself some very considerable liberties with the characters of king Theoden of Rohan and captain Faramir of Gondor, and as a consequence he harmed this one part of his great trilogy. He clearly learned his lesson and in this film, even if there are some differences between the scenario and the original book, those modifications were done with a great skill, good taste and in deep respect with the general vision contained in Tolkien's books in general.

Amongst those successful modifications are a greater development of the story of Smaug's coming to Erebor, of dwarves wanderings and their wars with Orcs from Moria (those last elements are taken from original annexes to "Lord of the Rings") and a larger inclusion of scary and extremely creepy Dol Guldur fortress (which is only briefly mentioned in the book). There is also a longer and more dramatic chapter devoted to Great Goblin's caves, a brief but impressive look at stone giants (creatures only suggested in Tolkien's lore) and last but not least, some real screen time devoted to Radagast the Brown, an extremely odd but very, very attaching character. Radagast also shows in this film that he is definitely a force to be reckoned with and not just a sidekick - although, as Saruman venomously suggests it, he also appears to be all the time "tripping on 'shrooms"...)))

There is also more place devoted to the White Council (with Saruman, Galadriel, Elrond and Gandalf present and Radagast and Cirdan absent) and those passages come in fact from the annexes to LOTR rather than from "Hobbit" itself. Finally, even if many good jokes are included, the general tone of this film is more serious than in the book, with the dwarves being a little less comically represented and their leader, prince Thorin Oakenshield, being a much more impressive character, conserving a very great dignity and majesty even when being stuffed in a troll's bag...)))

Finally, the leader of Moria Orcs at the time of dwarves expedition is still Azog the Defiler rather than his son Bolg - but I forgive willingly Peter Jackson this change, as Azog is a really IMPRESSIVE creature! On another hand, and this is one of the very few things I found a little objectionnable, Orcs seem to not fear sunlight in this film (Goblins of Misty Mountains on another hand still fear the light of the day) - but after all it is a rather minor thing.

As you can see Peter Jackson changed the story for the needs of his "Hobbit" trilogy, but he did it with the greatest care and by showing this time the greatest respect to the general spirit of Tolkien's works.

2. A great mastery of the visual aspect of the film. The images of Middle Earth are breath-taking, the creatures (good and evil) are excellent and the costumes and weaponry simply perfect.

3. Gollum; All the chapter about Bilbo's meeting with Gollum is pure perfection and in this film we finally can realise how REALLY DANGEROUS this creature is!

4. Tom Troll, William Troll and Bert Troll. Hilarious and scary in the same time, their moment in the film is simply a treasure.

5. Goblins of the Misty Mountains. In this film we have a real insight into goblin's government (tyranny), administration (anarchy), strategy (mostly blunt force trauma) and communications, although the little pearl about this last point, you will have to discover by yourself...)))

6. Dwarves/elves mutual cultural shock - one of the best scenes of the film...)))

7. Music. It mostly uses the same themes than in LOTR (ex. Shire theme, Rivendell theme, Ring theme, Company theme, etc.) which gives a familiar feeling of continuity, with just enough new elements to underline the fact that we are in a different chapter of Tolkien's tales.

8. Action scenes - they are many and of excellent quality, thanks to some modifications of the story by Peter Jackson (see above). They help also to set a rather fast rhythm of events, once the initial Shire chapter is concluded. If you think that to make a trilogy out of "The Hobbit" Peter Jackson had to drag things and slow the events, well, think again... This is a reasonably long film but I didn't feel the time pass.

9. Actors. Unlike in LOTR II "Two Towers" (when he seriously blundered by casting Miranda Otto as Eowyn), in this film Peter Jackson didn't commit any mistakes in the choice of actors. Martin Freeman is more than perfect in his interpretation of Bilbo - for me, after two minutes, he WAS Bilbo. All right, OK, maybe they just should have given him ten pounds more around the waist in the first part of the trilogy, but this is just a detail. Ian McKellen is of course perfect as Gandalf. Richard Armitage as Thorin is THE revelation of this film. Hugo Weaving and Christopher Lee are of course brilliant - and Cate Blanchett swept me of my feet in this film (something that didn't happen in the LOTR...).

The one objection I could have is that I didn't quite picture Balin, the friendliest of dwarves, as being that old - but this is a very minor detail.

10. Clever little details of the scenario. Peter Jackson put in the scenario some little but significant details which explain better some important questions, like why did Gandalf wanted SO MUCH to help Thorin Oakenshield in his quest and why exactly did he choose precisely Bilbo Baggins as the "burglar" for the Company. Those little details didn't figure in the book, but they are VERY faithful to the spirit of Tolkien's story - and it is a very precious thing...

CONCLUSION: Since attacking the LOTR Peter Jackson learned a lot in last 10 years and he put all this experience to good use in "The Hobbit" - and the result is immediately visible on the screen. This film is on the same very high level of quality as LOTR I and III and BETTER than LOTR II. In some aspects he even did a better job than in LOTR, because here he had to manage a Company larger than the Fellowship of the Ring (15 characters instead of 9) - and he succeeded very, very well indeed. I loved this film and I cannot wait to see "The desolation of Smaug".
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339 of 388 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Critical dilemma, 28 Oct. 2013
This review is from: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - Extended Edition [Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray] [2012] [Region Free] (Blu-ray)
How can there be 1,357 reviews of the Blu-ray extended version of this marvellous film before it has been issued on 13 November 2013?

Really Amazon, we don't need all the reviews from all the other versions of the same title! We need to know by how long the film itself has been extended and the quality of the technical improvements on the original DVD.

I have given this 5-stars only because I don't wish to harm the reputation of a great film but wish to air a weakness in the salesmanship system of this particular company who have the money and the expertise to do far better for the customer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not quite there yet, and certainly not back again, 5 Dec. 2014
By 
Squirr-El (The Metropolis, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This is an adaptation of Tolkien’s small book of the same name, but much expanded, though not padded, with scenes not shown in the book itself. We get an opening scene based on the that of the Fellowship of The Ring, as Bilbo is busy writing his memoirs and hiding the valuables before the Sackville-Bagginses arrive for the birthday party, and Frodo setting off to meet Gandalf, who is bringing the fireworks; and then it is sixty-years earlier, and Gandalf makes his first appearance, soon followed by a company of dwarves. We get an extensive view of the Dwarves struggle to survive Smaug’s attack on their city under the Lonely Mountain and their epic battle with the Orcs that gave Thorin Oakenshield his name. We also get the story of the Brown Wizard fleshed out prior to his meeting with Gandalf. The film ends with Bilbo and the Dwarves getting their first sight of the lonely Mountain in the distance:
Bilbo: ”Well, the worst of it is behind us now”.

It is also fun trying to work out who is behind some of the faces; two of the dwarves sounded like Ken Stott and James Nesbit, and I knew I’d heard the Goblin King’s voice before, but couldn’t place him until the credits rolled. The dwarves are an odd bunch of accents, with Thorin sounding just like Sean Bean, and the others being a mixture of Scots and Irish.

It does feel like a lighter film than the Lord of the Rings, despite the Orcs, Wargs, Trolls and Goblins, though the shadow of a certain dead sorcerer does slowly start to make its presence felt.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, 22 Dec. 2012
By 
D. Smith (Staffordshire, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
It's epic, all the critics that say they were wrong to shoot at 48 FPS are idiots, it looks amazing. My only criticism is I wish they did Azog for real with prosthetics, he just doesn't come across very realistic being totally computer generated, it's like watching a cartoon sometimes. Some of his movements are too smooth and fluid and just very unnatural looking, Gollum and the other CG characters don't really suffer from this problem (or for some reason it is not as obvious) but most of the time Azog just doesn't look quite right, maybe it was a case of Peter Jackson dumping too much work on the CG guys again.

ADDITION - After watching the full making of documentary on the extended edition it seems my last sentence wasn't too far off, they did initially do Azog for real (a bloke with prosthetics) but after the film had been shot they decided they didn't like the design of Azog so at the last minute they redesigned him and patched him in as a full CGI character.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'BILBO'S STORY --SO IT BEGINS', 9 April 2013
By 
rbmusicman (U.K) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
'Bilbo Baggins' is persuaded to join 'Gandalf' and a small band of
dwarfs on a quest to regain their lost kingdom.
as with the awesome 'L.O.R' trilogy this is again a 'dark' tale, along
again with eye-popping c.g.i throughout.
many characters that became familiar to us throughout 'L.O.R' also
feature in 'Bilbo's' adventure of some 60 years before 'Frodo's' quest.
of course the link to the future is laid.
can't wait for the next part of the spectacle to surface.
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3.0 out of 5 stars The Necromancer has returned, 9 April 2015
“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” comes across as an extended piece of LOTR (Peter Jackson version) fan fiction. The characters are essentially the same, so are the situations. Both the good, the bad and the ugly from the original LOTR films has been included: the heroism of warriors, the loyalty of Hobbits, the supernatural wizards, the evil orcs and the comic relief which often borders the ridiculous (think dwarfs in Bilbo's cabin or Radagast's rabbits from Rhosgobel). The combination of all these elements strikes me as somewhat weird! The plot is strikingly similar to the first LOTR film, with the main characters forming a brotherhood, visiting Rivendell, and being chased by evil creatures both above and below ground. Although I'm finally starting to like the LOTR concept, I'm honestly not sure what to do with this particular little detour through Middle Earth, so I tentatively give it three stars. Funny detail: when “The Hobbit” was recently shown on Swedish TV, the translation was based on Åke Ohlmarks' ditto, which both J R R Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien and their loyal brotherhood of fanatical Swedish fans loved to hate. Ha ha ha, it seems “The Necromancer” has returned…
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387 of 477 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The King Returns, 14 Dec. 2012
Since Sir Peter Jackson's last foray into Middle Earth, he's created the fantastic (King Kong) and the fantastically awful (The Lovely Bones), and now we're back and it's like we never left. Sir Ian McKellen (Gandalf), Hugo Weaving (Elrond), Elijah Wood (Frodo), Cate Blanchett (Galadriel)... they've aged like elves - not a day. Tonally this is breezier than the Lord of the Rings (let's call it LotR) trilogy, but great care has been taken to ensure that it fits seamlessly into the same universe. The same exquisite detail in close-up; the same use of long shots to make the characters tiny in a vast world.

J. R. R. Tolkien's little book concerns a little hobbit, who lives in a hole, who finds himself on a big adventure with a gang of dwarves, overseen by the wizard Gandalf. Tolkien's dwarves, seeking an almighty golden hoard hidden under a Lonely Mountain, are closer to Time Bandits than a heroic Fellowship, but Jackson and his co-writers (now including Guillermo del Toro) have shifted their purpose to something more laudable: the reclaiming of their homeland.

In a beautifully crafted opening, after elegantly intersecting with The Fellowship of the Ring, the bumbling dwarves are introduced to Bilbo and ourselves one by one, as unwelcome visitors to his humble home. They eat, they sing, they talk, and the scene is set. These are the characters we'll follow in almost every scene. The Hobbit is much more linear than LotR; scenes concerning Radagast the Brown (a wonderfully eccentric Sylvester McCoy, channelling the spirit of Tom Bombadil) and Azog (the orcish slayer of Thorin's father, Thrain) are brief asides rather than parallel plots.

So it's all about the dwarves, and we get to know a few of them well, particularly the bold leader, Thorin (Richard Armitage). He's as close to our Strider, except more reckless, driven by rage, and far less trusting of the titular halfling. As Bilbo Baggins, Martin Freeman is a more subtle performer than Elijah Wood. And he needs to be - a hero as reluctant as Bilbo is a tough sell, but Freeman convincingly depicts a gradual self-realisation: a drive from within, rather than a compulsion from without.

Jackson proves once again that he's the master of combining CGI with human emotion (even though actual humans are conspicuously absent from the story). The scene involving the Storm Giants - living, fighting mountains - is a good example: rather than giving us an omniscient hawk's eye-view of the battle, Jackson focuses on the real drama: the dwarves and the hobbit, clinging to the giants' knees. And then there's Gollum, arriving for a late cameo. The best chapter in the novel becomes the best scene in the film, with Bilbo and the unlikely keeper of the One Ring riddling in the dark. The special effects might not be technically groundbreaking as they once were, but their integration with real actors remains unsurpassed in cinema.

A couple of issues. Not everyone will get along with the joviality and the slapstick. Once or twice I do feel that certain scenes contain a knowing look too many. (When Gandalf is telepathically communicating with Galadriel, I swear he nods at the audience.) Thankfully, it's consistent, and rarely at the expense of immersion. Also, given what we know, perhaps more could have been done to foreshadow the LotR trilogy - there's certainly room for this in the Rivendell sequence (in which a shabby Gandalf the Grey, in the presence of even greater greatness, looks humbler than we've ever seen him). It's conceivable that an extended cut will provide more references to the impending doom of Middle-Earth.

Given the brevity of the book, what concerned me most was how Jackson et al could possibly
expand the story into the first part of an epic trilogy. The fact that they have, without the film feeling baggy (Bag-Endy?), is, in a sense, an even mightier feat than the adaptation of the LotR novels. It doesn't have the emotional depth of LotR, nor the narrative breadth. It never did. But it has humour and action in droves, along with warmth and intimacy. And it's amazingly good fun - more Jim Henson than Game of Thrones; more Whedon than Nolan. Which is okay by me.

Expect An Unexpected Journey to be condemned as boring and overlong by professional critics (the same critics who probably laud Bela Tarr). Expect it to be dismissed as frivolous and silly. But, more than anything, expect to be entertained by a delightful fantasy film.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Worth Viewing: Epic Battles And The Same Type of Action As Seen In Lord of the Rings, 1 Oct. 2013
I enjoyed all the Lord of the Rings films but my expectations were not high because I read the "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" reviews and they weren't great.

The film explains how Bilbo got the ring of power and the action is similar to Lord of the Rings: the dwarfs lost their kingdom which was taken by a dragon and now 13 of them plus Bilbo and Gandalf are trying to get it back.

Their journey is full of hidden dangers because the dark power grows and they must fight against orcs and goblins.

In conclusion: a film with a lot of adventures and epic battles between Bilbo, Gandalf and the dwarfs on one side and dark forces on other. You will find a lot of well known characters from the Lord of the Rings films like Saruman, Bilbo, Frodo, Gollum and Gandalf. Although is not as exciting as Lord of the Rings it is definitely worth seeing. And arm yourself with patience because this film is quite long.
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