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Check out our review of the epic conclusion to 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.




The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Film:


Extras:


Audio/3D Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )

93



Details:

Studio and Year: Warner - 2014
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 144 minutes
Genre: Fantasy/Adventure

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC/MVC
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, Orlando Bloom, Evangeline Lily, Lee Pace, Luke Evans, Kate Blancett, Hugo Weaving
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 24, 2015


"The epic conclusion to ‘The Hobbit’ Trilogy"


My Take:

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.


The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is the final 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. Beginning with Bilbo Baggins who at the request of the wizard Gandalf the Grey, joins a company of thirteen dwarves led by the legendary warrior Thorin Oakenshield, soon finds himself entangled in a quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor, long ago conquered by the dragon Smaug.

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.


Their flight leads them to several encounters beginning with Beorn, the skin-changer, The Elven realm of Mirkwood led by King Thrainduil who has a deeper understanding of the foreboding evil that threatens Middle-Earth and the Men of the fishing village of the Lake-town of Esgaroth which sits at the base of the Lonely Mountain. Their plan is to utilize the talents of their “burglar” to recover the Arkenstone out from under the sleeping dragon Smaug. In the Meanwhile Gandalf investigates the portending darkness emanating from the Dol Gudur ruins to south. All the while the group is being actively pursued by a pack of Orcs led by Azog The Defiler whose hatred for Thorin is fueled by a vengeful thirst that is eons old.

What lies in wait in the bowels of the mountain amidst the vast horde of riches is the most imposing, vile and bloodthirsty villain to pose a threat to Middle-Earth in ages. Awakened, angered and bent of vengeance Smaug descends upon the unsuspecting and unprepared inhabitants of Esgaroth as the impending evil prepares to reveal its true identity and purpose.

In the meanwhile having reclaimed the vast wealth of their homeland the Dwarves of Erebor and Bilbo come face to face with an unexpected peril. 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. As darkness converges, the races of Dwarves, Elves and Men must decide – unite of be destroyed.

As with each installment of The Hobbit trilogy I saw The Battle of the five armies in the theater with my daughter Having been left on the cliffhanger that was The Desolation of Smaug I was all in to see where things would shake out to close the story. I thoroughly enjoyed it and reveled in the action, drama and epic nature of the telling. I am not certain that this needed to be a trilogy but I still found it rewarding. The pacing in the last two installments versus An unexpected journey was smoother and I found myself engrossed in the plot, and the characters both old and new. The building storyline includes snippets of humor, engaging banter and typically entertaining elements of adventure as it steams toward a rewarding final act. Some have complained about the addition of certain plot points such as the Tauriel/Killi subplot but I had no problem with it.

It all comes together with ties to the events that will transpire in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. While this series doesn't have the depth, emotion and superlative scope of those films there is still much for fans of Middle Earth to feed on. As a fan I enjoy these films and appreciate director Peter Jackson’s attention to detail and handling of the production design/elements and casting choices. It has been a fun ride and I am pleased to place The Hobbit alongside The Lord of the Rings in my video library.


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: 92
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Dynamics:
  • Low frequency effects:
  • Surround Sound presentation:
  • Clarity/Detail:
  • Dialogue Reproduction:
  • Low frequency extension * (non-rated element): NA
  • DSU Rating * (non-rated element):


3D Presentation: 94
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Depth (Onscreen):
  • Dimension (Beyond the screen):
  • Realism:
  • Clarity/Detail:
  • Color Reproduction:


The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies 3D comes to Blu-ray Disc from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment featuring 1080p MVC encoded video and lossless DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 4.7 Mbps.

I have watched a variety of 3D high definition video both animated and live action. I must admit that over the years I have enjoyed its implementation on Blu-ray and the better quality releases have elevated the experience. I am pleased to report that The Hobbit: The battle of the five armies great terrific in 3D. Detail is well preserved as the image retains its high level of clarity as objects within the frame are delineated and sharp. I was drawn in by the depth and realism of the three dimensional imagery. The separation of objects and or characters layered in the foreground/background creates an involving sense of virtual space occupied by things of various sizes and shapes. This is done to superb effect. Shot in 3D there is an incredibly natural sense of dimension and any use of screen popping effects never feels overtly gimmicky but rather serves to enhance the storyline. Fidelity is intact as the film’s gorgeous array of colors, defining contrast and rich blacks bring the world of Middle Earth to life with visually arresting results. If I had to describe the experience of watching this film in 3D I would describe it as natural and engaging. I didn’t any signs of ghosting or video related artificats.

I enjoyed the audio presentation in the theater and looked forward to hearing it in the familiar confines of my theater room. The 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio surround mix treated me to an impeccably detailed and rewarding listening experience. Dialogue is supremely articulated with excellent focus, clarity and descriptive intonation. 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. The opening sequence sounds terrific as Smaug swoops back and forth, spewing fire upon the village below. Listening later to the rotation of voices throughout the soundstage, as Thorin battles the torment of the dragon-sickness, is effective and pretty cool.

As with the last two installments on Blu-ray bass response remains in the upper registers with occasional dips that engage the room. The battle/rescue at the ruins has a few moments that bring everything together as does the extended series of engagements during the final act. Low frequency effects are palpably reproduced with respect to points of contact during battle and large scale proportional events/elements. I couldn’t say with absolute certainty that there has been filtering applied to the LFE channel but the lack of extended low frequency response is notable. That shouldn’t be taken to mean that the soundtrack has anemic bass quality as there is ample punch to the low end however given the nature of the source material it doesn’t descend into the infrasonic depths that bass lovers clamor for.


2D Video Quality:


Video: 100
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity:
  • Black Level/Shadow Detail:
  • Color Reproduction:
  • Fleshtones:
  • Compression:


The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies comes to Blu-ray Disc from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 21 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 innately softens some elements but doesn’t detract in my opinion. 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.


Bonus Features:

  • Disc 1 & 2 :
  • The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies 3D Blu-ray
    Disc 3:
  • The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies 2D Blu-ray
  • (HD) New Zealand: Home of Middle-earth part 3 – 6 minute documentary
    Disc 4:
  • Special Features:
  • (HD) Recruiting the Five Armies – 11 minute featurette
  • (HD)Completing Middle-earth (2 segments totaling 17 minutes):
    1. A six-part saga
    2. A seventeen year journey
  • (HD)The Last Goodbye: Behind the Scenes – 11 minutes
  • (HD)The Last Goodbye Music Video (featuring Billy Boyd)
  • (HD) Trailers
  • Bonus DVD
  • Digital HD Copy



Final Thoughts:

The Hobbit: The Battle of the five armies brings a close to 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 the LOTR film Trilogy I thoroughly enjoyed it, reveling in its epic scope, familiarity and Peter Jackson’s flair for storytelling. The Hobbit: The Battle of the five armies comes to Blu-ray featuring superlative and faithfully rendered high definition video in both 3D and 2D flavors mated with excellent lossless surround sound and a noticeably trim but serviceable supplemental set that will only wet the appetite of true fans. Warner Brothers Home Entertainment has delivered an excellent Blu-ray offering that comes highly recommended for fans.






Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews



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JVC DLA-RS4910 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
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Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-103D Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (With Darbee video processing)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
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SVS PC12-NSD
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Can't wait for the UK release after reading this review. Thank you.
 

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Thanks Ralph. Disappointing, but not surprising that the low end once again did not get the respect it deserves in relation to the on screen material just like parts 1 and 2. For me, this is the most disappointing trilogy ever for low end support and I am left scratching my head as to what happened considering the now MUCH older LOTR films have superior low end support. :confused: Bummer......


Would you say the 3d is basically on par with the last two installments?
 

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Thanks, Ralf. I held off from seeing this in the theater as I'm waiting for the inevitable Extended Version that should be out by year's end then I plan a back to back to back viewing in 3D. :)

One quick observation in your review. Under "My Take" you wrote the following, " I am certain that this needed to be a trilogy but I still found it rewarding." Did you mean to write "I am not certain that this needed to be a trilogy..." ?
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks Ralph. Disappointing, but not surprising that the low end once again did not get the respect it deserves in relation to the on screen material just like parts 1 and 2. For me, this is the most disappointing trilogy ever for low end support and I am left scratching my head as to what happened considering the now MUCH older LOTR films have superior low end support. :confused: Bummer......


Would you say the 3d is basically on par with the last two installments?
Greetings,

Todd, I would say the 3D presentation is indeed on par with with the first two installments.


Regards,
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks, Ralf. I held off from seeing this in the theater as I'm waiting for the inevitable Extended Version that should be out by year's end then I plan a back to back to back viewing in 3D. :)

One quick observation in your review. Under "My Take" you wrote the following, " I am certain that this needed to be a trilogy but I still found it rewarding." Did you mean to write "I am not certain that this needed to be a trilogy..." ?

Greetings,

YES! Thanks for catching that CyberScott. It reads correctly now.. :)


Regards,
 

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First day purchase. ...This is first rate 3D fantasy entertainment. ...This trilogy of the Hobbit complements perfectly the one from LOTR, except that LOTR trilogy is in 2D.
I'm very happy to read that you liked the 3D version Ralph. ...With a score of 94 I would say so. ...Reference all around, right on! :cool:

* I hope that the future of 3D is guaranteed. ...Avatar 2, 3 & 4. ...Because without 3D we live in dimensionless flat world.
But the biggest tragedy of them all is Blu-ray 4K without 3D. :eek::( ...Can you imagine; a large OLED UHD TV without 3D on 4K Blu-ray...it just doesn't fit.

@ least we still have The Battle of the Five Armies in 2K/3D; it'll have to do for the time being. ...Next; DTS:X
 

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I'm continuing my annual tradition here (for the last time maybe until the inevitable money grubbing reboot): I'm going to wait a few months for the inevitable and inescapable Extended Edition in 3D.
 

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I can't watch LotR unless its the extended editions, but with the Hobbit trilogy, I just don't even see how there are extended editions.
After having seen BotFA, I left with one inescapable feeling: there should have only been two movies, as originally planned. They just did NOT have enough material for three movies. The first Hobbit film worked as it was, it was fine. And maybe there is even something worth watching in the extended version of it. But for the 2nd and 3rd films... if you combined them and then took out all the slow motion and the long periods of silence, it would be one movie long. I literally feel like BotFA should win an award for the most slow motion of any film ever, and by halfway through it, I really felt like it was being used purely to make the movie longer and justify a 3rd cash-grab movie instead of the original two movies planned. I really came away disappointed, because I felt like instead of making two great movies, they got greedy and thereby made one great movie and two half movies stretched out beyond what the story could hold and still be great. So with that said, what the heck is left for extended versions of 2 and 3, if they already stretched them beyond what good storytelling could support?

And to prove the point, after seeing BotFA, me and the wife watched the LoTR EE blurays for the second time ever. And we found them absolutely engaging the whole way through, even the four-hour RotK. Luckily, they still hold up decently even after seeing the Hobbit films; in fact better in some ways. I feel like the costumed bad guys in LotR trilogy actually were far more menacing than the over-cg'd bad guys in the Hobbit films. Just goes to show that even in 2014, physical sets and props and characters are still better than cg. -- Personally, I don't hate the prequels, and I don't hate the special editions either, but I certainly agree that it would have been better to leave the miniatures and models as much as possible in the original Star Wars films instead of redoing everything in cg. I think if Lucas had used a light touch in the special editions, only enhancing them and touching them up when needed, with just a few updated effects, I think most people would have been fine with it (see: Blade Runner).
 

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Nice review. Been a while since I saw something score a "100" but I would say I do agree with your entire well written review. Thanks Ralph. I should probably say thanks more often to you, since I read the majority of your reviews but don't always comment. So this is thanks for those too... :D
 

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Gonna pick this one up, then maybe the UHD versions if they ever come out, later. It would be killer to get HFR native ones, it's sad you can't even get that on Netflix. Of course, on Netflix you can't even use SVP so I rarely watch movies that way.

Another thing I'm now curious about, is whether due to the original being filmed at 48 fps, which requires a faster shutter speed, results in less motion blur, even on the 24p version. That would mean that frame interpolation should work better. Not as good as native HFR, but it should work better in theory.

Anyone ever watch these 3D Blurays with frame interpolation on? Does it look better than a typical 2d or 3d Bluray does? In terms of less haloing / artifacts, etc. My projector doesn't have FI, so I'm forced to use SVP which I can't use in conjunction with frame packed 3D.
 

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Thanks for the review Ralph, been waiting to read it but I (like others) will be waiting for the extended cuts and hope that it's 3d in both picture and sound. Perhaps they will have some super elaborate collectors extended edition with all 6 films...who knows.
 

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The Movie Studios are already rubbing their hands in anticipaton of re-selling the whole library of Star Wars, LOTR and Hobbit in 4K! And of course, the same again in 4K for the Extended Versions a year later. Then again with a massive All Inclusive of all the Films. So, a lot of work up front, then sit back and watch the monies roll in!
What's with some Movies being 3D in the UK, but North America - nada! Trying to get Amazon UKs sales up?
 
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This was my second favorite of the 6 movies behind the ROTK. I must say I really hated Frodo and Sam as well to a degree, they were just tedious to watch. Freeman's Bilbo on the other hand was just fun. It probably helped that no other hobbits were around as well. Anyway the last two Hobbit films were entertaining, but like Ralph says they did lacked the LOTR's depth and emotional impact. It also lacked a memorable score as well.....and decent bass. Having just watched for the first time[owned the EE DVD's] the extended version BD's of the LOTR trilogy it sounded thin compared, no big surprise there. I also noticed on that set a whole lot of issues with SFX thanks to the BD resolution vs. DVD's but that's another story.....
 
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