<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>
Peter Jackson’s 17-year journey with JRR Tolkien’s saga that began with The Lord Of The Rings and was followed by the prequel story of The Hobbit ends valiantly and epically with Battle Of The Five Armies. The DVD has an extra disc just for the Special Features that are informative, emotional and entertaining. Certainly a collector’s fantasy come true.
Here’s our review of the film:
1) Recruiting The Five Armies
This 11-minute feature tells us about the multitude of extras used on the film for all the battle scenes. It certainly was a task outfitting and doing the make-up for hundreds of extras and teaching them how to charge during battle and wield a sword correctly. That’s because extras are the people who create the world around the story. It’s funny to hear their side of the story and how it is to be dead one minute then in another scene fighting the next minute. “Another death, another dollar,” says one extra. And some of the extras are fans of the series so for them it’s not about just the money; it’s the thrill of being part of it all.
It’s also interesting to see how bits and pieces of the scenes are filmed on small stages with green screen all around.
2) Completing Middle Earth
- A Six-Part Saga
The filmmakers including Director/Writer/Producer Peter Jackson talk about the interconnectedness of The Lord Of The Rings trilogy and The Hobbit prequels, which gave them a chance to tie in the character histories and links to their evolution. The WETA artists give you insights into the production along with co-producer Phillipa Boynes and actor Elijah Wood telling us how the story leads up to saving Middle Earth.
- A Seventeen-Year Journey
The epic saga began in 1999 in New Zealand, where all three of The Lord Of The Rings films were shot simultaneously on location with the same cast and crew. Actor Elijah Wood calls it “a massive undertaking,” and Peter Jackson remembers it as “Organised chaos.”
We get to know about how different units shot separately and some doing 3 months of night shoots that made them look like zombies. But it was all done with love and care.
3) The Last Goodbye
- Behind-the-scenes featurette
The making of the final song of the final film was a huge production in itself and this feature details the process and the passion that went into it. Singer/Songwriter Billy Boyd is featured talking about how they used Celtic instruments to create unique sounds to give you a taste of Middle Earth.
- Music Video
The song The Last Goodbye’s music video with Billy Boyd lovingly wraps up the special features with visuals from the film.
- Trailer #2
- The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug Extended Edition Trailer
The credits for the special features run by with audio of farewell comments and messages by the cast and the crew.
PS: Don’t forget one more Special Feature that’s on the Main Movie Disc.
6) New Zealand: Home Of Middle Earth Part 3
All the films have been shot in ‘God’s Country’, which the actors describe as another character in the film. “I was expecting a T-Rex to pop it. It does look prehistoric,” says actor Martin Freeman about the country.
You may think that some backdrops are CGI but it’s in fact just the magnificent scenery of the magical country called New Zealand.
DVD Courtesy Sony DADC