or Connect
AVS › AVS Forum › Blu-ray & HD DVD › Official AVS Blu-ray Disc Reviews › The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review

post #1 of 165
Thread Starter 
700
The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109943&d=1210373647

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )
98





Studio and Year: Warner - 2012
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 169 minutes
Genre: Fantast/Adventure

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio, French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Ian McKellan, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, James Nesbitt, Ken Stott, Cate Blanchett, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving, Ian Holm, Andy Serkis
Directed by: Peter Jackson
Music by: Howard shore
Written by: Fran Walsh, Phillipa Boyens, Peter Jackson , Guillermo Del Toro
Region Code: A,B,C

Blu-ray Disc release Date: March 19, 2013







"From the smallest beginnings come the greatest legends"


Film Synopsis:

The Hobbit: An unexpected journey follows the title character Bilbo Baggins, who is swept into an epic quest after joining a company of thirteen dwarves vying to reclaim their home from an evil and powerful menace. Their journey will take them through treacherous lands teaming with enemies and lurking danger. For Bilbo, a simple fellow that looks no further than the warmth of his hearth or the confines of his Shire home for comfort, this journey will come to define him and place in his hands an object of power that will change the course of his life and ultimately that of Middle-Earth.


My Take:

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is the first chapter in Peter Jackson’s new epic trilogy set in Middle-Earth 60 years before J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings saga. Follow Bilbo Baggins as he’s swept into a quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor, long ago conquered by the dragon Smaug. Approached by the wizard Gandalf the Grey, Bilbo finds himself joining a company of thirteen dwarves led by the legendary warrior Thorin Oakenshield.

Their journey will take them through treacherous lands swarming with Trolls, Goblins, Orcs and deadly Wargs. They must escape the goblin tunnels, where Bilbo meets the creature Gollum who he will unwittingly be forever tied to. Alone with Gollum on the shores of an underground lake, the unassuming Bilbo not only discovers guile and courage that surprise him, he also gains possession of Gollum’s “precious” ring that holds unexpected and useful qualities, tied to the fate of all Middle-Earth. Several key talent members from The Lord of the Rings trilogy reprise their roles, along with exciting new cast members.

I love Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. When The Hobbit: An unexpected Journey was announced I looked forward to seeing what he would do with it. The idea of bringing The Hobbit and ultimately Billbo’s story, which links to the events in Lord of Rings, to life in similar fashion appealed to me especially in light of how entertaining the first trilogy was. As I sat watching it in the theater I had an unshakable feeling of déjà vu which I guess shouldn’t have been surprising based upon the subject/director. Of course the opening sequence, featuring Frodo/Elijah Wood and older Bilbo/Ian Holm, which unnecessarily ties into the opening sequence in “Fellowship of the ring” didn’t help.

The film proves to be epic in scope and indeed plies with plenty of moments that remind us why we enjoy Tolkien’s work as well as Jackson’s treatment of it. I didn’t find The Hobbit: An unexpected journey to be as thoroughly gratifying as I’d hoped. I think the reason is that the film feels as though it is building toward a singular goal which is to set in motion the events that will bring us into the next installment. In that vein the material contained therein occasionally felt stretched out (“like butter being spread over too much bread” to paraphrase Bilbo) with over extended sequences. The slow building narrative includes snippets of humor, engaging banter and elements of drama/action. Fortunately it picks up steam and provides a rewarding final act that segues into the next installment.

As an opening chapter it would have been fine and probably flowed better at two hours or less. I did enjoy The Hobbit: The unexpected journey and reveled in the familiarity of Middle-Earth, the introduction of the various components including the characters and look forward for what is to come.


Parental Guide:

The rating is for extended sequences of intense fantasy action violence, and frightening images.



AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


Audio: 96

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699



Video: 100

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692


The Hobbit: The Unexpected Journey comes to Blu-ray Disc from Warner featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 21 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 4.8 Mbps.

This film utilizes a stylized visual design that has a varied color scheme that works aesthetically well for the subject matter. The nature of the photography isn’t lent to high gloss imagery and razor sharpness however there is an enriching and film like quality that abounds. High definition’s increased resolution is readily apparent as textural nuance and subtle refinement is apparent, especially during close-ups. Wide angle vistas views tend to look gorgeous more often than not but can be limited by the film’s post production effects. The color range is comprised of earth tones, shades of dark blue, brown, gray and black with splashes of crimson and green/blue hues. Like the color palette fleshtones shift accordingly to coincide with the mood, lighting and scenic theme. The overall result works perfectly within the film’s narrative construct. Uneven light and shading are prevalent. Contrast is boldly applied which empowers whites and grays with minimal loss of detail. Blacks are dynamic and gradationally revealing and shadow detail is equally discerning. The film’s deep grays, rich contrast and stimulating visual aura makes for a perfect companion to the story‘s elements. The use of CGI/green screens and photographic effects softens some elements but neither distracts. I didn’t see any signs of video degrading artifacts or extraneous noise. The result is a gorgeous high definition rendering that mimics that theatrical presentation.

The DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack is reference quality and is sure to please those who like to play their systems loud. I enjoyed the audio presentation in the theater and looked forward to hearing it in the familiar confines of my theater room. I was treated to an impeccably detailed, dynamic, and demonstrative listening experience. Multi-layered sound effects are appropriately placed within the soundfield so that their purpose is definable yet not overstated. The mix makes effective use of the surround channels to elongate the front soundstage as it reproduces the spatial and discrete sounds contained in soundtrack. The front and rear sound fields are integrated with precision which enables a seamless transference during sequences involving sounds that travel through the room. Dialogue is supremely articulated with excellent focus, clarity and descriptive intonation.

Low frequency content is reproduced with authority and coincides with the recordings extended dynamic range resulting in room energizing bass transients that are deep and palpably rich. It’s easy to sometimes overlook the intricacies that go into the design of soundtracks such as this. In this case even seemingly inconspicuous minutia within the recording is detectable. The end result is a terrific audio presentation that compliments the source material.



Bonus Features:

  • Disc 1:


  • The Hobbit: An unexpected journey in high definition (BD-50)

  • Disc 2:


  • Special Features: (BD-25)

  • (HD) New Zealand: Home of Middle-Earth – 6 minute featurette

  • (HD) 10 Video Blog segments (totaling 123 minutes) beginning in April 2011that take you behind the scenes covering the production, shooting locations, make-up, and more leading up to post-production and the film’s premiere in December 2012

  • (HD) 6 Theatrical Trailers

  • (HD) 3 Video Game Trailers

  • The Hobbit: The desolation of Smaug sneak peek (code) available March 24, 2013

  • Bonus DVD

  • Ultraviolet Digital Copy
700



Final Thoughts:

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is the first chapter in Peter Jackson’s new epic trilogy set in Middle-Earth 60 years before J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings saga. As a fan of Peter Jackson’s LOTR Trilogy I wasn’t as taken with this film as I was with Fellowship of the Ring. I feel it runs longer than necessary and its narrative struggles to stay afloat. That said, there is still much to like and appreciate especially for fans that revel in the epic scope, familiarity with the material and Peter Jackson’s flair for storytelling. The Hobbit: An unexpected journey comes to Blu-ray featuring superb and faithfully rendered high definition audio/video and a noticeably trim supplemental set that will only wet the appetite of true fans. Warner Home Video has delivered a stalwart Blu-ray offering that delivers an enriching home theater experience. I look forward to the next installment and the potential it carries…





attachment.php?attachmentid=109949&d=1210373731






Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews





Reference Review System:


JVC DLA-RS55 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6 Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Onkyo PR-SC5508 THX Ultra 2 Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-103 Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package
post #2 of 165
Fantastic review! Can't wait to pick up my copy on Tuesday!
post #3 of 165
It's really too long in the first act. Pacing suffers. Quality seems great however.
post #4 of 165
I heard it was really good in the movies. I'll admit it's not my type of movie, but after reading the review I'm probably going to get the blu-ray. It sounds like the audio/video is a treat. I'm 90% music, that said, its becoming harder and harder to find good media that I haven't heard 100 times before. Blu-ray makes my 5.1 setup come alive. Great review, thanks.
post #5 of 165
Hi Ralph,
Thanks again for the great review.
The Hobbit - An unexpected journey - comes in one (BD-50) disk (movie only) . Do you or anyone else know how much of the (50G BD) the movie (audio & video) takes up?

I do not have a BD reader/drive.

Thanks

Paul
post #6 of 165
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hidefpaul View Post

Hi Ralph,
Thanks again for the great review.
The Hobbit - An unexpected journey - comes in one (BD-50) disk (movie only) . Do you or anyone else know how much of the (50G BD) the movie (audio & video) takes up?

I do not have a BD reader/drive.

Thanks

Paul

Greetings,

Hi Paul, I don't know specifically how much of the disc space is taken up by the film. There is nothing else on it so it definitely has plenty of room to breathe. wink.gif

Regards,
post #7 of 165
How soon until the Extended Version comes out?
post #8 of 165
Awesome as always Ralph. An automatic purchase for me.
post #9 of 165
Does anyone have a particular online store where they make all/most of their blu-ray purchases?
post #10 of 165
Thanks for the review Ralph and I agree with a lot of your thoughts on the film itself. I was definitely a bit letdown, but part of that was probably my fault as I set my expectations SO high in light of the LOTR movies which are masterpieces IMO and The Hobbit is definitely not in the same league. Long, padded, bloated all come to mind and I strongly believe this film would have been a MUCH better cinema experience as one long movie instead of 3 (or two 2 hour films). Not a total train wreck though of course and there are still some great scenes like the whole Gollum section which was excellent I thought.

Great to hear that the A/V is so good! I am looking forward to watching it again for that alone in the HT. cool.gif
Edited by Toe - 3/15/13 at 2:30pm
post #11 of 165
no 3D review on this one? Ralph?
post #12 of 165
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by fight4yu View Post

no 3D review on this one? Ralph?

Greetings,

I requested the 3D Blu-ray but didn't receive it. I haven't seen it covered by other writers either so I assume that it wasn't available for review.


Regards,
post #13 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph Potts View Post

As a fan of Peter Jackson’s LOTR Trilogy I wasn’t as taken with this film as I was with Fellowship of the Ring. I feel it runs longer than necessary and its narrative struggles to stay afloat. That said, there is still much to like and appreciate especially for fans that revel in the epic scope, familiarity with the material and Peter Jackson’s flair for storytelling.

Good day, Ralph, and thanks for reviewing this for us!

I've not seen it yet but was pretty sure that it wouldn't (and couldn't) be in the same class as LOTR, but would still be worthwhile. My copy (3D version) is to be delivered on release day, so I'm very much looking forward to seeing it. Thanks again...
post #14 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by p5browne View Post

How soon until the Extended Version comes out?

They are saying November on the blu-ray forums.
post #15 of 165
Thanks for the review Ralph looking forward in recieving my copy soon.
post #16 of 165
Great review.

We went and saw this in imax 3d. This was my first Imax 3d (theater) experience and it was terrific.

I'll be tempted to get it when the 3D version comes out, but then I'll be curious to see if they have an extended edition.

Or...

Since the 'chapters' are being released every year, around Christmas, perhaps I'll wait until there is a trilogy BD 3D extended edition set sometime in Spring 2015.

That sure feels like a long time to wait though. smile.gif But I'd hate to buy them twice. And who knows, perhaps 4k will be 'the thing' by then. Sort of like my LOTR set. I've got the first two on regular DVD. Fellowship Extended and I never got Return of the King because I knew I was going to get the BD version. Now I'm looking at getting a BD set of the LOTR Trilogy.

I got my BD player after the Dark Knight series was already started too. So I've got the first two of those on DVD and a trilogy set on BD. Somehow I don't think the studios mind too much.

They probably don't mind that I've got two (if not more) versions of Blade Runner, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Star Wars (good grief, the versions I've bought) Big Lebowski... and the list goes on.... biggrin.gif

Trying to play it a little smarter with my purchases. But once it hits your eyeballs (and ears) it looks (and sounds) so good. smile.gif
post #17 of 165
Thanks for the review Ralph, cant wait to see this next week, especially since I just got a Panasonic TCP-55VT50 (3weeks ago) and 3 days ago an OPPO BDP-103.

Ed
post #18 of 165
I saw this in IMAX 3d 48 fps. The 48 fps made the 3d look stunning. I wonder if they will 48fps 3d version.
post #19 of 165
^^i don't believe the 3D version will have the 48 fps. I believe that is not in the BD spec, unless I am mistaken your bd player can only do 24 fps .

Paul
post #20 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by boondongle View Post

Great review.

I'll be tempted to get it when the 3D version comes out, but then I'll be curious to see if they have an extended edition.

Oh the extended version is coming (which will probably annoy those who felt it already seemed too long). But it's probably doubtful that the longer version will be in 3D. Either way, I'll rent the current version and then see how I feel when the extended one is released.
post #21 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by cinema13 View Post



Oh the extended version is coming (which will probably annoy those who felt it already seemed too long). But it's probably doubtful that the longer version will be in 3D. Either way, I'll rent the current version and then see how I feel when the extended one is released.

I would actually be surprised if the EE was not in 3d since the whole film was shot that way including the dropped extended scenes.
post #22 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toe View Post

I would actually be surprised if the EE was not in 3d since the whole film was shot that way including the dropped extended scenes.

I do hope you are right. But it hasn't happened with the extended HAROLD & KUMAR, GREEN LANTERN (also from Warners, altho it's a conversion) or the two extended versions of AVATAR though.
post #23 of 165
I intend to get the 3D version on Tuesday. I'm not going to wait for an extended version release because I think the movie is long enough as it is now. That's not to say that I'd never get it, but only if or when they do a release of all 3 parts. 4k's not in my plans for quite some time. Do you realize how many movies you can see in a theater for the price of a 4k tv and 4k BD player?!
post #24 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by cinema13 View Post

I do hope you are right. But it hasn't happened with the extended HAROLD & KUMAR, GREEN LANTERN (also from Warners, altho it's a conversion) or the two extended versions of AVATAR though.

You have some great points!
post #25 of 165
I hate it when the studios are forcing us to use Ultraviolet digital copy. All of my movies are on iTunes. Why should they decide for me. It is my choice. It is absolutely ridiculous.
post #26 of 165
Great review Ralph! Huge LOTR fan, both the books and the movies, and I loved The Hobbit pt1 I theaters. Only complaint was that it was a little long as you pointed out. I'm gunna get the 3D pack. Thanks man.
post #27 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by JMCurtis View Post

I intend to get the 3D version on Tuesday. I'm not going to wait for an extended version release because I think the movie is long enough as it is now. That's not to say that I'd never get it, but only if or when they do a release of all 3 parts. 4k's not in my plans for quite some time. Do you realize how many movies you can see in a theater for the price of a 4k tv and 4k BD player?!

+1
post #28 of 165
This will be a rental for me at least at first since I did not care much for the movie when I saw it in a theater. As Ralph has pointed out, the movie is at least 30 min too long and too many scenes go on way longer than they should. I was really disappointed since I really enjoyed the LOTR trilogy. If the reviews for the second installment make the same comment about pacing, I'll most likely skip watching it in theaters and wait for the BD to become available on Netflix. The only reason I will give this movie a try is because of the reference quality tag that Ralph has given the disc.
post #29 of 165
This movie looks great in 3D. It is just too bad that the content, IMO, didn't live up to the visuals. I fell asleep several times -- I kept having the feeling I've seen all of this before. Been there and done that.
post #30 of 165
I was curious if you know how the conversion was done. Meaning was the original 48 fps rate converted directly to 30fps or was it converted to 24fps then upconverted to 30fps as films have traditionally been? I have not been able to find out this elsewhere. Thanks!
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
AVS › AVS Forum › Blu-ray & HD DVD › Official AVS Blu-ray Disc Reviews › The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review