The physical release of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Extended Edition may not hit stores until mid-November, but a special one-night-only theatrical showing of the movie gave fans an early look at the scenes that were cut from the original release.
The first two extended editions didn’t come with too many extra scenes, but the 10 hours of behind-the-scenes features on each release made them worth buying all on their own. An Unexpected Journey only came with 13 minutes of additional scenes, while The Desolation of Smaug came with 25. For comparison, Return of the King had 50 minutes. BotFA only has a whimpy 20 minutes of additional scenes, and I can honestly say that the real value in its upcoming physical release will still be the special features.
That’s not to say the extra scenes themselves weren’t wonderful. Actually, for the most part they were really great. I think my real issue comes from the fact that they weren’t included in the theatrical release, because they would’ve dramatically improved pacing and characterization.
For example, the initial battle between the elves and the dwarves of the Iron Hills was quite a few minutes longer, and was really incredible to watch. I think it was one of the best done battle sequences of the trilogy and it was a real shame it was cut. Some of the weaponry the dwarves had developed specifically to combat elves was astonishing.
We also saw a hero moment from just about ever single dwarf of the company. So many incredible shots were cut from the theatrical battle that showcased each of the characters in a wonderful way. I know one of the biggest fan complaints was how few moments we got from the theatrical release of the less prominent dwarves. The shots also added a lot of color to the battle and made it drag less.
The most stand-out deleted scene was the funeral for Thorin, Fíli, and Kíli. It’s shocking to me that this wasn’t included in the theatrical release because it provides actual closure to that story line, and is honestly an incredibly touching moment. Watching the company observe the bodies of their fallen comrades is heart shattering, particularly Bilbo’s face as he comes up to Thorin. This scene also includes Dáin’s coronation, which is also essential to show the audience that Erebor isn’t just being handed over to a rag-tag team of dwarves.
These are just a few of the standout scenes, but there were other small things peppered in here and there. One thing that’s definitely worth mentioning is the fact that this movie definitely earned its new R rating. There were several gory moments that were fairly heavy handed compared to what we’ve seen in the past, and it was significantly more violent than the original. It’s not really what I expected from this film series, but it wasn’t exactly outside of Peter Jackson’s usual style.
Overall, I really did love the extended version of the movie, but I still question why most of this content wasn’t just tossed into the theatrical version. I mean, the original runtime was still significantly shorter than the LotR trilogy, so it wouldn’t have done much damage. I can’t help but wonder if the original movies suffered content wise purely for the sake of creating an extended edition for later.
Either way, the extended edition of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is worth picking up if you want to see some of the best scenes from the movie. Not only are the bonus scenes great, but the behind-the-scenes content is going to be fantastic. The extended edition hits stores November 17.