Hobbit, The: The Motion Picture Trilogy 4K Ultra HD

Featured In Issue 253, January/February 2021

WSR Score5
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
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Peter Jackson
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Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD 7.1
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"The Hobbit Trilogy" from Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson is a Warner Bros. Home Entertainment release. The trilogy includes "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," "The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug," and "The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies." The 4K Dolby Vision™ remastering process was overseen by Peter Jackson. Both the theatrical version and the extended version are in the collection in 4K. In addition to Dolby Vision HDR, the set features a Dolby Atmos® Immersive Sound soundtrack remixed specially for the home theatre environment. The price of the trilogy is $89.99.

Special features are similar to the previous release.

The 2.40:1 2160p HEVC/H.265 Ultra HD HDR10/Dolby Vision picture, reviewed on a Sony Bravia Z9D 4K Ultra HD HDR display, was photographed digitally using the Red Epic camera system and sourced from a 4K master Digital Intermediate format. As each movie in the trilogy has previously been reviewed, the following is a generalized report on the appearance of the remastering, which applies to each film. Each film in this trilogy benefited from a new 4K restoration by WETA Digital, which involved a full 4K scan of the camera negatives and new color timing made possible by HDR enhancement. Both the theatrical and extended versions of the movies, as to be expected, are visually identical. While there are numerous improvements to the visuals, the most striking is the brilliant color palette, which is extremely vivid and naturally hued throughout with a warm and rich, as well as wide and nuanced color spectrum. There is an incredible increase in fine detail, density, and refined contrast levels, thanks to the HDR treatment. Blacks are deeper and richer and shadows are more revealing. White levels are brilliant. Resolution is nicely enhanced with nuanced detail exhibited throughout. Each chapter is as great as the other chapters in the trilogy in every conceivable way. These reference-quality immaculate presentations showcase the movies with the best picture quality to date. They represent the absolute quality reference for this trilogy, which will thrill fans of the saga. (Gary Reber)

The Dolby Atmos/Dolby TrueHD 7.1-channel soundtrack was remixed specially for the home theatre environment. The new mixes enhance the dynamics and seemingly sonic nuances of the three movies in the trilogy while extending the surrounds to four channels.

The Immersive Sound element represents the most noticeable improvement to the otherwise excellent holosonic® ear-level soundtrack. Often aggressive in impact, the elements are comprised of winds, rumblings, rain, nuanced exterior atmospherics, powerful sound effects, such as crushing rocks, a church bell, a dragon destructive fire breath and battle sounds, dialogue extension, especially of a dragon, in some scenes, thunder and din. Howard Shore's orchestral/choral is extended to the height layer, which adds far greater spherical surround dimensionality in the first chapter, but not the other two. The lack of music extension really limits the sense of height dimension. Overall, while at times subtle and lacking in fulfillment potential and inconsistent height layer composition, the treatment is a welcome element to provide a more satisfying sonic experience to those with a height layer loudspeaker system in their home theatre. (Gary Reber)