After hearing so many of my friends and family telling me how they didn’t care for Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy, I never made any effort to watch them right away, but I knew I would see them eventually. The saying “good things come to those who wait” appears to be true as I was able to watch them at long last in 4K UHD at that in The Hobbit: The Motion Picture Trilogy set. While I agree these films aren’t as well crafted as the Lord of the Rings films, they’re still some of the best fantasy movies out there.
Taking place 60 years before Lord of the Rings, this adventure follows a younger Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), a Hobbit who just wants to live quietly and write about adventures instead of going outside and having them. This all changes when the great wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) forces adventure upon Bilbo as his once quiet house soon becomes a busy and noisy gathering place for some dwarves led by their king, Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) who are trying to retake their kingdom that was lost to Thorin’s grandfather’s love for treasure, and a dragon named Smaug who now sleeps with said treasure.
Gandalf has a plan, though he usually just wings it as they go, but he’ll need someone small to sneak past and procure things, a burglar if you will, but Bilbo wants no part in the plan. After everyone leaves the next morning, he has a change of heart and decides to go on the most epic adventure of his life, with the events leading to the beloved Lord of the Rings stories.
One of the biggest complaints about these movies is how they took one book and broke it up into three movies: An Unexpected Journey, The Desolation of Smaug, and The Battle of the Five Armies. All three are in this set, and even better (or worse for some) is that both the theatrical and extended versions for each film are included, making for a six disc set.
I have to say watching these adventures unfold in 4K UHD with HDR color was amazing. I read that Peter Jackson had filmed these movies in 5K at 48 fps, and he personally oversaw these 4K transfers and made sure the visuals and audio matched up as best as they can for the 24fps home release. It goes without saying the movies look and sound great in 4K UHD with HDR color to really make the picture and visual effects pop, and the Dolby Atmos / DTS-HD audio tracks are the same used during its theatrical run. So if you’ve got a nice home theater setup, these are the discs you’ll want to test it / show off with.
Sadly there are no special features included as Warner Bros is planning to double-dip with another set in summer 2021 that includes both the 4K and standard Blu-rays of both The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings films along with all the special features and some new ones. So until then, if you’re looking for the best way to watch the first set of these movies, The Hobbit: The Motion Picture Trilogy set is the way to go thanks to beautiful 4K HDR visuals, awesome HD audio, and fun fantasy action for all.