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The Hobbit Trilogy 4K UHD Review

“The Hobbit Trilogy” is needlessly long.

After The Lord of the Rings trilogy was released, it was a foregone conclusion that “The Hobbit” would follow suit. Initially, Guillermo Del Toro was hired on to direct “The Hobbit” and, truth be told, I wish we could have seen what he would have brought to the table visually and stylistically. It’s certainly one of the biggest “What ifs?” in cinema history. Alas, Del Toro left the project and Peter Jackson came on board to direct not one, or two, but three movies based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s novel. 

The story of “The Hobbit” trilogy, for those that may not be familiar, is told from the framework of an older Bilbo writing his story down to Frodo. In this adventure, we discover that the Dwarves have been driven from their home Erebor by the dragon Smaug (who has also taken their gold). Gandalf recruits Bilbo to help the Dwarves (Thorin, Balin, Dwalin, Fili, Kili, Nori, Ori, Oin, Bifur, Bofur, and Bombur) reclaim their homeland which is easier said than done as they encounter trolls, giants, goblins, Orcs and spiders. Elsewhere in the story, Sauron begins to cast a dark shadow over Middle-Earth (which sets up LOTR) and Orc armies led by Azog and Bolg begin to emerge which could prove perilous for our heroes.

The first installment in this trilogy (“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”) is far and away the best of the three. Despite some dopey humor, it was a nice trip back to the world of Middle-Earth. We got to Martin Freeman cast as a younger Bilbo (the true MVP of this saga), the return of Gollum, trolls, the kooky Radagast The Brown (played by the 7th Doctor himself Sylvester McCoy), the ring being found by Bilbo, and Howard Shore creating more great music.

With “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” the flaws of this trilogy started to become quite clear. Even though Smaug himself is a vision to behold on the big screen (and perfectly voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch I might add), director Peter Jackson seems to have lost his way as a filmmaker as he has became more concerned with technology, CGI and high frame rate nonsense than he is with storytelling. As a result, ‘Smaug’ (and this trilogy as a whole) feels like a bloated mess. Really, this never needed to be a trilogy at all given the length of the novel. It should have been one 3 to 4 hour movie tops. Instead, we get 3 films that are unnecessarily padded with new characters that didn’t need to be there along with overly elaborate and overlong action sequences that drag on. There’s a good single movie somewhere in these 3 movies, but as 3 movies it simply fails to capture the novel and recapture the magic of the LOTR trilogy.

The third and final film in this trilogy (“The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies”) is a colossal, tedious mess. It’s essentially one long battle with 2 Orc armies, Elves, Men and Dwarves you just want to end. Add in the tossed in romance with Tauriel and Kili, the overcooked Arkenstone plotline, and the atrocious character that is Alfrid (no disrespect to actor Ryan Gage-it’s not his fault) and you’ll see why it’s the worst of the 3.

Note: This set includes both the theatrical and extended cuts of all 3 films.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 2.40:1 2160p. How does it look? I saw some differing opinions on the picture quality, but, in my humble opinions, the 3 films look stunning in 4K. There were times where it felt like I could reach out and touch things in the Shire it was that lifelike and immersive.

Audio Track: Dolby Atmos. How does it sound? If you have the proper sound system set-up, you’re going to be grinning ear to ear by the sound quality. From Smaug’s voice to the epic battles, the Atmos tracks deliver a deep audio experience.

The lone extra is a Digital copy of the trilogy.

December 9, 2020 - Posted by | 4K UHD Review | , , , , , , , , ,

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