So, Tuesday saw the release of the EXTENDED EDITION of the first HOBBIT movie. And of course that means I had to run an errand to Best Buy to pick it up that same day. Except that they didn't make it easy. When the first film came out on dvd earlier this year, it had its own display stand. This time it was tucked away among the other new releases. Last time they had a stack of copies; this time only a few. Disappointingly for me, they only had two options: blue ray and three-d, and they were out of the blue-ray, having apparently only stocked about four or five copies of each. What I wanted was the dvd: while we have a blue-ray player, I wanted the option to watch this on my computer when travelling. But I certainly didn't want anything in three-d; not only do we not have the right kind of screen for viewing it, but I don't like three-d effects (hard on the eyes).
Which means that, while I want to support our failing megamarts as much as the next guy, I had to pass and made my way up from Tukwila to Renton to the Frye's there, where I found they'd re-arranged all their dvd section since the last time I was there (late August/early September). Once again I was unable to locate where they had the dvd I was looking for, but a helpful employee showed me the spot, and their (modest) display on an end-cap which had all three options: dvd, blue-ray, and three-d. I got the dvd and over lunch did a quick skim through the new/extended scenes, watching the whole thing through that night. Now I'm working my way through the extras, which take up three whole disks by themselves ("Appendix Seven" and "Appendix Eight", respectively).
I know some will be looking at all the new material on this extended edition carefully; thought I'd just quickly list the ones I noticed. All are Spoilers, so avoid if you're planning to watch the extended edition for yourself and haven't yet.
--the Thror/Thranduil scene is slightly longer, showing how the quarrel arose between the elves and dwarves.
--we're shown in a few glimpses how the Men of Dale attempted the defense of their city
--Old Took's party is briefly shown, fireworks and Belladonna and (very) young Bilbo and all. The whole thing only lasts a minute or so.
--we see more of Hobbiton on the day of the Unexpected Party, including Bilbo buying the fish he never gets to eat for his supper that night.
--Bofur's wound and disability are briefly explained
--we get just a little bit more set-up coming into Rivendell.
--the banquet scene at Rivendell continues longer, at first along the same lines as before, with the dwarves very much out of water, but eventually they cross the line to boorish and crass. Who knew they'd been on their best behavior at Bilbo's? We do get to hear another dwarf-song (The Man in the Moon Came Down Too Soon), not as good as either of the ones we've heard before. later we get glimpses of dwarves bathing in fountains (a scene that in Tolkien's book appears at the Carrock).
--we see Bilbo wandering Rivendell, delighting in the place, and a pleasant little conversation between Elrond and Bilbo. This is by far the best part of all the new material.
--we're told explicitly that there's hereditary madness in Thorin's line, to which his grandfather and then his father both succumbed. I found this interesting, since I made the argument in HISTORY OF THE HOBBIT that Thorin's behavior once he sees the hoard is best explained as a kind of madness. There's also mention made of the Ring of Thrain, the last of the Seven dwarf-rings, and its unknown fate (a clear set-up for events to come in, I assume, the next movie).
--the Great Goblin has another song, but this is one of those cases where less would have been more.
--we see onscreen something we've been told in the ancillary material: that Nori is a thief. We see him nick a salt-cellar at Rivendell, and the goblins who capture him empty out a bag of elven candlesticks and the like.
There are a few other bits, but that's most of it. Some are great, like Bilbo's solitary ramble delighting in Rivendell. Some are bad, like the dwarves acting like members of the Drones Club, or the extra bits of the Great Goblin. Most of the rest are nice little bits, helpful (like the bit about Bofur) but not essential.
All in all, I'm glad to have this. And of course it whets my appetite for the second film, now only a little over a month away.
More as I work my way through the film-Appendices.
concert review: San Francisco Symphony
3 days ago