For fans who have been waiting to get their hands on actual disks before watching The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Extended Edition, today is the day when releases begin! The Blu-ray and DVD sets are available today in America, Nov 18th in New Zealand (so almost today already in NZ!), and across Europe and the rest of the world in the coming days. (Read our International Shopping Guide for further details.)
This is the Home Entertainment release which completes the set for all fans of Peter Jackson’s Middle-earth movies. Many have written how the extra footage in the extended cut makes this the version of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies that they wanted to see. (You can read some staffers’ thoughts here.) Others have commented that they had hoped for the full extra 30 minutes Peter Jackson had said would be in this cut, not just the 20 minutes we got. There are certainly more scenes I had hoped to see – but that is where the Appendices come in…
At last we have parts Eleven and Twelve of The Appendices; parts One and Two came out with the Extended Edition of The Fellowship of the Ring, so this has been a long time coming! It’s great – if sad – to see the end of this journey. The tales from the set, behind-the-scenes glimpses, and memories from cast and crew are wonderful, and give us some insight into moments we perhaps wish had made it into a cut of the movie. Have tissues ready for the filmmakers’ ’emotional farewell to Middle-earth’!
There are over NINE hours of bonus features included in this Home Entertainment release, so it really is an essential part of your The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movie collection. In the 2D version, the disc with the film also includes Part 3 of ‘New Zealand: Home of Middle-earth’; Disc 2 contains The Appendices Part 11: The Gathering Storm, The Chronicles of The Hobbit – Part 3; and Disc 3 is The Appendices Part 12: Here at Journey’s End. There is also audio commentary on the film, with Peter Jackson and Philippa Boyens; I haven’t had a chance to watch with the commentary yet, but I’m sure it’s fascinating. I’d still like, at some point, to have some commentary from the cast – maybe that will come with the ‘super mega all-six-films’ box set….? (For the completists amongst us, you can already purchase the Extended Edition Box Set, also available today.)
Whether you prefer the Theatrical or Extended cuts of these films (and I think most of us come down on the side of the Extended Editions), it is really the bonus features which make this Home Entertainment release a ‘must have’. If you are patient enough to wait, maybe it’s one for your Holiday Gift wish list? (Look out for TORn’s Holiday Gift Guide, coming soon!)
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to get back to watching those nine hours of extras….