Notes From Hobbiton: Breaking Down Peter Jackson’s Extended Hobbit Trilogy

Peter Jackson’s Hobbit films came under fire for stretching out J.R.R. Tolkein’s slim 300-page novel into a whole damn trilogy. With the recent release of the Extended Edition of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, I decided to watch the entire Hobbit trilogy over the course of one week. Sticking with the Extended Editions, this came out to nearly nine hours of Hobbit goodness.

I’m taking a broad look at what worked and what didn’t. I’m not going to list every new scene in minute detail, but I’ll mention some points of interest along the way. Smoke your finest strain of pipe-weed, invite your dwarven friends over for dinner, and keep your Tolkien fully extended — it’s time to talk Hobbit!

THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY (EXTENDED EDITION)

The Never-Ending Dinner

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Opening scenes are full of exposition, and the dinner scene with the dwarves near the start of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is no exception. Although relatively faithful to the book, it repeats the same information over and over again to make sure the audience understands the quest Bilbo is about to undertake. One can imagine how the dwarves clogged Bilbo’s toilet with their massive after dinner shits after.

Interesting Dwarven History

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Both of the dwarven historical flashbacks are much more interesting than what little else happens in the movie; Smaug’s introduction reveals only a tiny glimpse of his full form. An early battle between Thorin and Azog is even more exciting, setting up the trilogy’s somewhat lame villain in an intense battle.

Wizard Gossip

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Of all the exposition on display, the wizard forum at Rivendell is the most interesting. Christopher Lee’s portrayal of Saruman as a good wizard foreshadows his larger role in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. You rarely get the chance to see such serious characters talk shop about the bigger events at hand.

A Decent Musical Sequence

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In the theatrical version of the film, the sequence where the goblins kidnap the dwarves is a bit rushed. The Extended Edition lets the sequence breathe, with a big musical number called “Down to Goblin Town,” sung by the Goblin King. Moldy feet and large butts are on display for a brief comedic moment that works well with the flick’s light tone.

Flaming Pine cones Are Fun

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Leave it to Peter Jackson to make a climax where our heroes toss magic flaming pine cones from a tree more exciting than the dragon battle at the end of the following movie. You get some Looney Tunes physics with the trees swaying to and fro, but Thorin and Azog have a cool fight to cap off the sequence.

The Desolation of Smaug is on page two!

3 thoughts on “Notes From Hobbiton: Breaking Down Peter Jackson’s Extended Hobbit Trilogy

  1. Good article, I had the opposite reaction to the Hobbit Trilogy than I did Lord of the Rings. I felt Lord of the Rings got better as the story progressed where as I feel the Hobbit got worse. I’m sure I’ll watch the extended editions eventually but the last movie left a rather bad taste in my mouth.

  2. You should check out the fan edit that cut this bloated mess to a single 4-hour movie. No lame love story, the goofiness of the orcs are cut to make them a little more menacing and an all around tighter experience.

  3. Thanks for liking the article.

    If I was to rank the Hobbit films (best to worst), it would be Battle of the Five Armies, Unexpected Journey, and Desolation of Smaug. If I was to rank the LOTR trilogy, it would be Fellowship of the Ring, Two Towers, and Return of the King.

    Wouldn’t mind giving the fan edit a watch. Loved watching that really short Hobbit cartoon from Rankin Bass as a kid!

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