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

THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES (EXTENDED EDITION)

Shut Up, Alfrid!

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Alfrid Lickspittle, the toady to the Master of Laketown, is basically the Jar Jar Binks of the Hobbit trilogy. He comes off as more annoying than conniving. Bard the Bowman is already a fine enough character; you don’t need him bantering with Alfrid the whiny asshole to show off how noble he is.

Epic Titular Battle

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If there’s one thing Peter Jackson proved in the Lord of the Rings movies, it’s that he can pull off an epic battle scene. In the immortal words of Bubsy, “What could possibly go wrong?” The titular Battle of the Five Armies delivers in spades, almost to the point where the action is too much to handle. You get dwarves charging against orcs, elves flipping over crumbling bridges, and a one-on-one face-off between Thorin and Azog.

Deleted Dwarves On Ice

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In one of many additions to the Battle of the Five Armies in the Extended Edition, some of the dwarves ride a war machine over a frozen river to reach Azog’s outpost. You get humorous moments, bloody squishing heads, and some nice interplay between the minor dwarven characters. All the actors look like they had fun in this sequence, and it’s a real shame it wasn’t in the theatrical cut.

Alfrid Helps Gandalf

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As annoying as Alfrid is, you do get to see him die in another remarkable Extended Edition scene. Alfrid’s greed gets the better of him as he indirectly helps Gandalf in a fight against a troll. This scene is hardly necessary, but it’s nice to see such a dopey character get his just desserts.

An Uneventful Return

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The Return of the King had too many endings, yet The Battle of the Five Armies has too few. Bilbo’s journey home is so quick you don’t get the emotional resonance you crave from the end of this unexpected journey. It feels all too clinical. To misquote Amadeus, the ending of the Hobbit trilogy could use “too many notes.”

Article by contributor Mat-Bradley Tschirgi.

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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