Director: Peter Jackson
Cast: Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage
Release Date: Own it today on 3D & Standard Blu-Ray Combo Pack, 2-Disc DVD & Digital HD
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 9.5/10
Disc Rating: 9/10
“The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” brings to an epic conclusion the adventure of Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) and the Company of Dwarves. The Dwarves of Erebor have reclaimed the vast wealth of their homeland, but now must face the consequences of having unleashed the terrifying Dragon, Smaug, upon the defenseless men, women and children of Lake-town.
As he succumbs to dragon-sickness, the King Under the Mountain, Thorin Oakenshield, sacrifices friendship and honor in search for the legendary Arkenstone. Unable to help Thorin see reason, Bilbo is driven to make a desperate and dangerous choice, not knowing that even greater perils lie ahead. An ancient enemy has returned to Middle-earth. Sauron, the Dark Lord, has sent forth legions of Orcs in a stealth attack upon the Lonely Mountain.
As darkness converges on their escalating conflict, the races of Dwarves, Elves and Men must decide – unite or be destroyed. Bilbo finds himself fighting for his life and the lives of his friends as five great armies go to war.
Serving as both the final chapter in Peter Jackson’s ‘The Hobbit’ trilogy and the bridging point between ‘The Hobbit’ trilogy and ‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy is no easy task to take on and while many have expressed disappointment over not only this chapter but with ‘The Hobbit’ series as a whole, I for one still remain baffled by it. While it may be initially based on a much shorter book that was stretched into three films, these films are no less fantastic as a result of that fact and Peter Jackson once again does a brilliant job recreating the impressive world of Middle Earth with ‘The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies.’ Fans of the previous entries should not be disappointed in the slightest with the final installment and for those who have yet to check the series out at all, I would highly urge you to reconsider, especially if you’re a fan of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ films, and honestly even if you’re not as there is no better place to start than with ‘The Hobbit’.
While following and wrapping the path laid before us in the previous two entries, ‘The Battle Of The Five Armies’ also does a great job of taking the tone to a slightly darker place, a more fitting middle ground to balance the drastically different tones of ‘The Hobbit’ and ‘The Lord of the Rings’. The lengthy final fight along with some truly emotional moments (both happy and sad) add a touch of the real heart and soul of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy and I don’t think Jackson could have possibly done a better job than he did here.
Overall, ‘The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies’ serves as a wonderful conclusion to ‘The Hobbit’ trilogy and a perfect bridging point between the two trilogies, plus probably the best 3D quality that I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing in a film so far. Perfectly guided by Director Peter Jackson and complimented by the incredibly talented cast along with the fantastic effects and a final battle that does not disappoint; ‘The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies’ (along with its predecessors) come highly recommended.
The 3D Blu-Ray release of ‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’ features a full 1080p High Definition 3D presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.4:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio, once again spread between two discs. The 3D video presentation looks absolutely phenomenal, easily the best home entertainment 3D release of the year so far. Every single detail down to each edge of the frame looks fantastic, the colors are rich and vivid and the gorgeous surroundings are so detailed and solid that they feel as if they are almost surrounding you in 3D. Warner once again choosing to spread the film between two discs for the 3D version may seem silly to some with the shorter run time for this one (144 minutes), but I personally think it was the wisest choice. It’s great to see them continue with the same formula as the previous entries and the more than suitable bitrate provided along with the outstanding 3D high definition presentation that is delivered here as a result speaks for itself.
The Blu-Ray release (Both 3D & 2D) features a lossless 7.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. As with both of the previous installments in ‘The Hobbit’ trilogy, this lossless multichannel soundtrack is truly breathtaking, it really does not get any better than this. All seven available channels are consistently utilized with everything from the beautiful score, to birds (and other winged creatures) swooping by, swords swishing, rocks falling and every other possible auditory effect surrounding the viewer throughout, while never causing any dialogue occurring simultaneously to become distorted or inaudible in any way. This 7.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack is absolutely outstanding and should have even the most diehard audiophiles more than satisfied.
The 3D (and 2D) Blu-Ray release of ‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’ includes an additional disc dedicated solely to a nice collection of some nice and entertaining bonus content, though mostly just a number of short Behind The Scenes Featurette’s. The Featurette’s include: ‘New Zealand: Home of Middle-Earth Part 3’ (which runs approximately 6 minutes in length and is the sole bonus feature on the Feature Film disc, the rest are contained on the ‘Special Features’ disc), ‘Recruiting The Five Armies’ (approximately 11 minutes in length), ‘Completing Middle-Earth: A Six-Part Saga’ (app. 10 minutes), ‘Completing Middle-Earth: A Seventeen-Year Journey’ (app. 9 minutes), and ‘The Last Goodbye: Behind The Scenes Featurette’ (app. 11 minutes). Also included are ‘The Last Goodbye: Music Video’ and Trailers.
*Please note that the above images are taken from the Blu-Ray and resized. They additionally will suffer quality loss as a result of .jpg compression. It should additionally be noted that for the purpose of convenience, the images present for this specific release represent the 2D version of the film, even though the review itself covers the 3D version. Larger versions of each image can be viewed by clicking on the image. All images and content included on this Blu-Ray release are the property of their respective owners.
Film Rating: 9.5/10
Disc Rating: 9/10
‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’ arrives onto Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack, 2-Disc DVD Special Edition and Digital HD on March 24th from New Line Cinema & Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
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