Review Detail

9.1 1 10
(Updated: January 03, 2021)
Overall rating
Audio/Video Quality
Visual Editing
Audio Editing
I found the theatrical version of The Battle of the Five Armies extremely tedious to the point of being nigh unwatchable, so I was really interested in seeing what Kerr would do with this film. To the surprise of no one who's followed these edits, he's revealed the emotional core of the story and molded this unwieldy movie into a satisfying conclusion to the adventures of Bilbo and the Dwarven company.

Wonderful little character moments from the Extended Editions and even the Appendices bring warmth to the film, and Kerr has given these moments the opportunity to shine by cutting back a lot of the weightless, tensionless cgi spectacle. While turning The Hobbit into a trilogy may not have been the best approach for Peter Jackson and co to set out with, it's clear to me that the films, as they were made, work best as three seperate stories. I'm glad I can finally enjoy them with these edits.

My only real disappointment is the fact that's it's only available as an >8GB MKV file. The first Arkenstone edition had an excellent 25GB Blu-Ray version that preserved the video quality of the source. The smaller file size of this release led to noticeable compression artifacts and visual muddiness throughout the film. Now that The Hobbit trilogy has been released on 4K HDR Blu-Ray, the gulf in visual quality will be even more severe. I do hope Kerr eventually releases a higher bitrate version of this edit.
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