Please note that this article contains spoilers. Like Peter Jackson’s extended editions of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the new longer version of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is superior to the theatrical version. The new scenes provide a lot of important plot exposition and provide a greater insight in to characters and events. Although a longer movie, the new material improves the flow of the narrative. The film is still not without flaws but I feel that this version has a lot more polish and includes some clever touches that reiterate Peter Jackson’s consummate love for all thing Tolkien.
One of the most striking differences between the extended edition and the theatrical release is the use of song. The Dwarves lament for the loss of Erebor was a standout scene in the original cut of the movie and reflected Tolkien’s use of music in the book as a key part of the narrative. The new cut of the film includes further songs, many of which have their roots in the source text. This greatly enhances the adaptation, although I understand why the studio saw fit to remove them for the theatrical version. The casual viewer may may see them as an impediment to the story moving forward, where the fan will see them as an enhancement.
I have done my best to list the major differences between both versions of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey but I would not say that this is a definitive comparison. I have had to do this mainly from memory as I did not have the facilities to run both version simultaneously. I’m sure once again that Movie-Censorship.com will produce a more thorough breakdown in the not too distant future.
The Glory of Erebor:
The first new material featured in the extended edition show the growing rift between the Dwarves of Erebor and the Elves of Mirkwood.
Thrór welcomes a delegation from King Thranduil and a chest filled with gems and a necklace is offered. The Elven King reaches towards it but the lid is closed before he can reach it.
Thrór seems amused as the King leaves, who although calm is visibly perturbed. The scene then cuts back to Bilbo who reflects upon the sundering of the two races and the nature of greed.
The destruction of Dale:
During the destruction of Dale by Smaug, we seen a little more of the dragon and one of the guards fire a ballista at him.
The bolt bounces harmlessly off his scales.
Gandalf meets Bilbo as a child:
I found this scene charming despite it’s somewhat contrived nature. It does serve to show the special bond between Gandalf and Bilbo.
Whilst setting off fireworks during a midsummer festival, a young Bilbo playfully pokes and prods the old wizard with a wooden sword.
His mother rushes to stop him but Gandalf joins in the fun and pats the young rascal on the head.
Bilbo goes shopping and tries to avoid Gandalf:
After Bilbo flees indoors from Gandalf at the suggestion of going on an adventure , we see Mr. Baggins go shopping in Hobbiton.
Once again we see the rich and colourful visual realisation of Hobbit culture.
Bilbo buys a fish from a vendor (the same one he intends to have for his supper that Dwalin eats).
He also stops and converses with Mr. Worrywort about the state of his root crop. Bilbo ask whether he’s seen Gandalf at all and the response it a witty reworking of a joke featured in The Fellowship of the Rings.
An unexpected party:
I saw no major difference in this section of the movie apart from a brief scene where Bilbo tries to talk to Bifur and cannot comprehend him.
He turns to Oin and the subject matter of the axe embedded in his head is raised but never fully explained.
The journey to Rivendell:
As the party of Dwarves travel through the narrow rocky cravass to avoid the Orc warband, Bilbo “feels” that there being a powerful presence nearby. Gandalf is surprised that he has picked up on it.
Bilbo has detected unwittingly that they are close to Rivendell and the scene shows his sensitivity and that he is not some blockheaded Bracegirdle from Hardbottle.
The Dwarves at dinner:
There is quite a lot of extra scenes regarding the time the company spends in Rivendell. These demonstrate the cultural differences between Dwarves and Elves as well as reinforce the distrust. The first takes place during the dinner that the Elves hold for the Dwarves.
Kili winks at an Elf maiden playing the harp.
Dwalin scowls at him, so he states that Elves are “all high cheekbones and creamy skin” and they lack enough “facial hair”.
He then points out one Elf maiden who’s “not too bad”. Dwalin points out that is is not a maiden but an Elf man and winks at Kili. Make your own mind up as to whether this is a reflection of New Zealand’s earthy humour or a dated stereotype from a bygone era.
Elrond is curious at Gandalf keeping such strange company. Gandalf replies that these are the last of the House of Durin and that they are a cultivated and noble people.
Nori takes a liking to some of the silverware being used at the feast and steal a condiment pot.
The Dwarves grow restless with the formal Elven music and so Bofur sings a tavern song. The Dwarves boisterous behaviour offends some of the Elves, especially when food and fruit is thrown about.
Bilbo explores Rivendell:
Bilbo finds the room in Rivendell with the shards of Narsil.
He contemplates the frieze on the wall depicting Isuldur fighting Sauron.
The camera focuses on the Ring of Power on the Dark Lords finger, then cuts to Bilbo gazing on.
The company enjoy Rivendell:
This sequence features a brief montage of Bilbo exploring and enjoying the wonders of Rivendell.
We then see a humorous scene in which Elrond’s advisor Lindir informs him of the upset that the Dwarves are causing with their behaviour.
As they walk and talk, they encounter the Dwarves naked in an ornamental fountain indulging in horseplay and Shenanigans.
Elrond and Gandalf debate the quest for Erebor:
This is a short but very interesting additional scene. Bilbo while out on a balcony at night, sees Gandalf and Elrond below discussing the Dwarves quest and whether it is wise.
Elrond implies that the madness of Thrór may well be hereditary, thus questioning Thorin’s fitness to lead.
Bilbo become ware that someone is behind him and turns to find Thorin. It is clear that Bilbo has heard all as has the Dwarven leader. Bilbo discretely withdraws as Throin reflects upon the words of Elrond.
The White Council:
This new material in this part of the movie again will delight Tolkien fans as it delves in to Ring lore and also establishes the importance of the quest for Erebor and the state of peace in Middle-earth.
Gandalf raises the subject of what has happened to the last of the seven Dwarven Rings. Four were consumed by Dragons and two were taken by Sauron. What happend to the last and it’s owner Thrain?
Saruman dismisses the significance of the question as the One Ring has been swept down the Great River Anduin and lost to the sea. The scene also gives an insight in to the purpose of the White Council and in this longer version shows the growing different in views between the two wizards.
The Goblin King:
After the Dwarves capture in the cave in the Misty Mountains, they are brought before the Goblin King.
The King sings a mocking song, again based heavily upon the source text. Due to his excessive bulk the Great Goblin has an entourage of petty goblins who prop him up and act as foot stools.
During his capering he impales a Goblin on his sceptre and when he finishes his song, the Goblins applaud and cheer uproariously.
The Goblins search the Dwarves:
The Great Goblin order that the Dwarves are searched. During this, all of the stolen items that Nori took from Rivendell are emptied on the floor, much to his embarrassment.
One of the Goblins surmises that the Dwarves may be in league with the Elves, citing the swag as evidence. The Goblin King examines a candlestick and dismisses it as being only “Second Age” and that you couldn’t “give it away.
Demanding that the Dwarves explain themselves, they proceed to give a tortuous and wholly inaccurate explanation of their activities, claiming that they were on their way to visit relatives in Dunland.
Bilbo and Gollum:
As far as I could tell there was only one extra sequence added to this part of the movie. The lionshare obviously made it into the theatrical cut because it is by far the best part of the entire movie. Performances are from both actors are outstanding and superbly interpreted.
The new scene shows Gollum singing a variation of his “fish” song that featured in The Return of the King, as he prepares to kill the Goblin he found. This is punctuated rhythmically as he beats it to death with a stone. Bilbo looks on in shock and the sense of fear and genuine danger is strongly reinforced.
You can win a copy of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Extended Edition in this months CMP giveaway.