Ultra HD: Recommended
4 Stars out of 5
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Release Date: December 1st, 2020
Movie Release Year: 2014
MPAA Rating: Restricted
Release Country: United States
COLLAPSE INFO -

The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies - 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray

Review Date December 17th, 2020 by
Overview -

Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies concludes the bloated, grandiose adaptation of Tolkien's book with more of a whimper than the roaring, electrifying applause promised by the previous two movies. The final chapter goes to war on Ultra HD with a gorgeous 4K video, a reference-quality Dolby Atmos mix but sadly, lack in special features. Nevertheless, the UHD package makes for an awesome addition to the 4K collection and a Recommended purchase for those loyal fans.

Read our review for The Hobbit: The Motion Picture Trilogy - 4K UHD Blu-ray.

Read our review for An Unexpected Journey - 4K Ultra HD and The Desolation Of Smaug - 4K Ultra HD Blu-rays.

OVERALL
Recommended
  • TECH SPECS & RELEASE DETAILS
    Technical Specs:
    Six-Disc Special Edition
    6 UHD-100 Triple-Layer Discs
    Region Free
    Video Resolution/Codec:
    2160p HEVC/H.265
    Dolby Vision HDR
    HDR10
    Length:164
    Release Country:United States
    Aspect Ratio(s):
    2.40:1
    Audio Formats:
    English Dolby Atmos
    English Dolby TrueHD 7.1
    English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1
    French Dolby Digital 5.1
    Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
    Subtitles/Captions:
    English SDH, French, Spanish
    Movie Studio: Warner Bros.
    Release Date: December 1st, 2020

Story Review Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take

3 Stars out of 5

Content with existing between a shoulder-shrugging meh and an adequately mediocre accomplishment, Peter Jackson's The Battle of the Five Armies is neither a total disappointment nor is it the overwhelmingly gratifying conclusion initially imagined. As though watching mostly from an obligation to see the entire Middle-earth series come full circle, we walk away from this third and final chapter feeling exhausted after spending nearly nine hours in this epic fantasy world and because the previous two entries were frankly tepid starters leading up to this, raising expectations higher than could be achieved. It's an unfortunate finish that fails to truly captivate and immerse audiences, made all the more lamentable given the spectacularly lifelike CG artistry from the talented folks at Weta Digital and Jackson's skillful direction in otherwise stunningly magnificent battle sequences.

In spite of the thrilling visuals on display, however, the clash between the dwarves, elves, humans and eagles against a terrifying horde of goblins and orcs doesn't quite measure up to the encounters seen in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. It's a shame really since the story picks up immediately where the second film left off with explosive action and mayhem as Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch) sets Laketown ablaze. The promise by this visually potent and energetic start soon subsides when it becomes clear that Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and Bilbo (Martin Freeman) are treated as side characters to the clash over who has a rightful claim to the share of the gold. Thorin's (Richard Armitage) gold-lust and Arkenstone obsession blinds him from peaceful negotiations with the Bard (Luke Evans) and Elvenking Thranduil (Lee Pace) while Azog and his Orc army fight for the mountain as a strategic stronghold.

By the film's end though, Jackson's closing chapter to the series is simply not the electrifying finish promised by its two predecessors.

For a more in-depth take on the film, check out our review of the Extended Blu-ray edition.

Vital Disc Stats: The Ultra HD Blu-ray

Warner Bros. Home Video brings The Hobbit: The Motion Picture Trilogy to Ultra HD as a six-disc package with a Digital Copy code. When redeeming said code via wb.com/redeemmovie or MoviesAnywhere, users are granted access to the 4K digital version in Dolby Vision with Dolby Atmos audio. All six UHD100 discs, three of which contain the extended editions of each film, sit comfortably on either side of three center spindles. They are housed in a slightly thicker than normal black keepcase with a side-sliding slipcover. At startup, each disc goes directly to the standard menu screen with full-motion clips and the usual selection of options along the bottom while the iconic music plays in the background.

  • TECH SPECS & RELEASE DETAILS
    Technical Specs:
    Six-Disc Special Edition
    6 UHD-100 Triple-Layer Discs
    Region Free
    Video Resolution/Codec:
    2160p HEVC/H.265
    Dolby Vision HDR
    HDR10
    Length:164
    Release Country:United States
    Aspect Ratio(s):
    2.40:1
    Audio Formats:
    English Dolby Atmos
    English Dolby TrueHD 7.1
    English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1
    French Dolby Digital 5.1
    Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
    Subtitles/Captions:
    English SDH, French, Spanish
    Movie Studio: Warner Bros.
    Release Date: December 1st, 2020

Video Review

4.5 Stars out of 5

The final installment in the fantasy-adventure trilogy erupts on Ultra HD with a magnificent, demo-worthy HEVC H.265 encode that handily triumphs over its Blu-ray companion. According to some reports, the original elements were granted a fresh restoration and remastered for a new 4K digital intermediate. In either case, Andrew Lesnie's all-digital photography is simply marvelous with razor-sharp definition, exposing the tiniest flaw and imperfection in the costumes, armor, buildings and various weapons. We can plainly make out every pockmark and pit in the rocks of the Lonely Mountain, the stone halls of Erebor and the masonry of Dale. Individual hairs are discrete, and the textures of the fabric in the costumes are distinct and lifelike while the faces of the cast reveal wrinkle, pore and negligible blemish.

Similar to the last movie, the CG visuals and action sequences hold up extraordinarily well overall, but unfortunately, there are a few instances of flickering and shimmering along some of the sharpest edges. Most often, these mildly distracting bits that nearly look like aliasing happen during extreme long shots of Dale and are all the more apparent in those shots with wide panning movement, such as those inside Erebor. In those scenes where Dáin's forces ready to battle Thranduil, there are also instances of trivial aliasing along the finest metallic lines in the spears and around the armor worn by the elvish army. Thankfully, they don't distract from the film's enjoyment or completely ruin the overall quality, but they are evident enough for the 2160p picture to drop slightly a few notches. 

Nevertheless, this 4K edition remains the king of the mountain thanks to the improved contrast and brightness balance, supplying the action and the many daylight exteriors a  noticeably brighter and more energetic appeal. Whites really pop off the screen with vibrant luminosity, giving the hottest areas like the sunshine bouncing off the stone edges of Dale and the fluffy clouds in the sky an enthusiastic glow that's true to life. Specular highlights are top-notch and radiantly mesmerizing, equipping the armor and the edges of various weapons with a realistic metallic brilliance or the jewelry and eyes of the cast with a dramatic sparkle. A good chunk of the movie is also inundated in luxurious, inky-rich blacks that penetrate deep into the screen, providing the 2.40:1 image with an appreciable, three-dimensional cinematic quality. Velvety, stygian shadows remarkably never obscure the finer details in the darkest portions or in the blackest corners of Erebor's poor-lit halls.  

Interestingly, Lesnie's orange-teal cinematography feels more subdued and toned down than its HD SDR counterpart, leaning heavily more to a grayish tint overall that bathes a majority of the film with a bleaker, more somber atmosphere. Despite that, primaries lavish every frame with a slightly fuller vivacity, particularly the intensely animated reds and true-to-life blues, but comparatively, it is not a massive night-and-day jump like the contrast and brightness balance. Notwithstanding, this Dolby Vision HDR presentation still delivers by furnishing the visuals with a dramatically wider assortment of secondary pastel hues, giving the rays of sunshine with hot pinks and slivers of vibrant magentas around its buttery-yellow glow. The massive yellow-red-orange flames and explosions from Smaug's destruction of Lake-town brighten the screen, and the battle is an eye-catching showcase of earthy-sandy brown, golden butterscotch yellow, fuchsia, violet and lots of sepia tans with small flashes of cobalt blues and crimson reds. 

In spite of some minor issues here and there, the final chapter in Peter Jackson's The Hobbit Trilogy invades with a spectacularly impressive and beautiful 4K video presentation. (Dolby Vision Video Rating: 94/100)

Audio Review

5 Stars out of 5

The epic battle rages into home theaters with an awesome, reference-quality Dolby Atmos soundtrack that impressively enhances and prevails over its DTS-HD counterpart. 

The extra breathing room allows for slightly better definition and separation in the mid-range, exhibiting superb distinction and clarity in the upper ranges. The tiniest pop and sizzle of crackling fire burning the wooden structures are clearly heard while the clanging sounds of metal on metal are extraordinarily detailed, echoing throughout the room. Every scream and wail can be clearly heard about the loudest, chaotic sequences while dialogue remains outstandingly intelligible. Much like its lossless predecessor, the low-end is powerful and pleasantly robust, providing Howard Shore's score with a great deal of depth and the battle sequences with a palpable presence. Sadly, it's not quite as effective or commanding as the visuals would imply or as demanding as the other Tolkien adaptations. 

On the other hand, the constant use of sound effects throughout are the track's ultimate highlight, sure to sweep the audience away and drop them in the middle of this fantastical world. Imaging is layered with tons of background activity fluidly moving across the screen and into the top heights along with Shore's music, generating a highly-engaging, half-dome wall of sound that feels constant. A variety of subtle ambient effects expand into the surrounds and ceiling channels to create a stunningly immersive 360° soundfield. The scenes of war and mayhem provide are even more active with battle cries and howls effectively circling the listener while arrows, eagles and bats fly overhead with flawless panning, creating an awesomely satisfying hemispheric dome. In the end, the final chapter in the trilogy comes with a marvelous and highly-enjoyable mix. (Audio Rating: 96/100)

Special Features

0 Stars out of 5

This UHD edition of The Hobbit Trilogy is a standalone release without any of the previous bonus features ported over. 

Final Thoughts

The third and final chapter in the massive and needlessly overlong adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's prequel to the battle for Middle-earth saga, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, arrives more with a whimper than as the exciting conclusion to the grandiose adventure it originally set out to be. Featuring the same cast from the previous two entries, the conclusion isn't a waste, but it's also not the electrifying finish promised by the previous two movies. The final chapter goes to war on 4K Ultra HD with a gorgeous, often stunning Dolby Vision HDR presentation and a reference-quality Dolby Atmos mix, that handily triumphs over its Blu-ray companion. Although lacking in special features, the UHD package makes for an awesome addition to the 4K collection and a recommended purchase for those loyal fans too impatient for the eventual special edition.

  • TECH SPECS & RELEASE DETAILS
    Technical Specs:
    Six-Disc Special Edition
    6 UHD-100 Triple-Layer Discs
    Region Free
    Video Resolution/Codec:
    2160p HEVC/H.265
    Dolby Vision HDR
    HDR10
    Length:164
    Release Country:United States
    Aspect Ratio(s):
    2.40:1
    Audio Formats:
    English Dolby Atmos
    English Dolby TrueHD 7.1
    English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1
    French Dolby Digital 5.1
    Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
    Subtitles/Captions:
    English SDH, French, Spanish
    Movie Studio: Warner Bros.
    Release Date: December 1st, 2020