So it would seem that an extended edition of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is back on the cards, after the rumours were initially quashed two months ago. You may remember earlier this year Warner Bros. published and infographic of scheduled releases for 2013, which is their 90th anniversary. It included a reference to an extended edition of THAUJ but the press department promptly withdrew the image and back pedalled with regard to its existence. Well Mr. Jackson has confirmed himself (via Ain’t It Cool) there will be an extended edition after all, so it would appear that the entire marketing strategy that we saw with The Lord of the Rings, trilogy is to be repeated.
Peter Jackson confirmed that the extended edition will include an additional 20 to 25 minutes of material, making the total running time for THAUJ approximately 189 – 194 minutes. Ironically, one of the common criticism that has emerged from those who have already seen THAUJ is that is is somewhat ponderous already. There were similar opinions regarding the theatrical release of King Kong in 2005. The inclusion of a further 14 minutes of material for the extended edition did not significantly alter the critical consensus on the movie. However, I’m sure the release of a lengthier cut of the THAUJ will be welcomed by fans.
In fact I saw a tweet from from an excited individual who stated that “True Tolkien fans don’t care how long it is”. Such boundless enthusiasm will surely net Warner Bros. a lot of money from this clever double dip. Exactly what a true Tolkien fan is I am not quite sure but such terms are crass. Perhaps it would be more pertinent to replace the phrase “true Tolkien fans”, with “fanboys”? As a lover of both Tolkien’s work and cinema, I am more concerned about a quality narrative, irrespective of the movies running time. However, simply making a film lengthy for the sake of it or to try and endow it with a sense of epic scope, is not necessarily a good thing.
Assuming that Warner Bro’s previously published road map is still being adhered to, then the extended version of THAUJ should materialise in late 2013, shortly before The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is released