The Middle Earth Films

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This page is dedicated to the films of Middle Earth based on the fabulous novels written by J.R.R. Tolkien. Director Peter Jackson released the 3 "Lord of the Rings" films between 2001 and 2003. Over a decade later, he made the 3 "Hobbit" prequel films released between 2012 and 2014. Some time after the films were released, extended versions of the films were released for the home market.

These extended versions included a large mass of material that was not included in the theatrical versions due to length, the need to maintain a PG rating (you don't make a $250 million film and expect to get your money back with an R rating), and other various reasons. These extended versions, some of which are extremely long, contain extensive material that I personally feel never should have been removed. These include complete story arcs removed and yet we have scenes that imply a call backs that are never called back, characters that simply disappear without knowing what happens to them, removal of battle scenes, especially in the case of "The Battle of the Five Armies", including an exciting sequence involving a chase in a frozen river.

So, if you've never seen the films of Middle Earth, or if you've only seen the theatrical versions, I cannot stress how important it is for you to see the extended versions. It's the only way you'll get the full impact of Peter Jackson's vision and the full story. I'd also like to stress watching the "Hobbit" films before the "Lord of the Rings" films, even though they were made later. Not only is this the natural timeline for the events that occur, but watching them in this order makes each film a little better than the previous one, leading up to the Oscar Winning Best Film of the Year, "The Return of the King".


The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey [2012]


The first film in the LOTR timeline, a hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, is enlisted as a burglar to help a troop of dwarves retake their mountain home, Erebor, from the dragon, Smaug. Exquisitely well casted, awesome photography, delightful characters and wonderful, exciting and humorous adventures dealing with trolls, orcs, wargs, goblins, stone giants, Gollum and Azog the Defiler. Meanwhile, what's going on in Dol Guldur. So nice to revisit Middle Earth after all these years. I would recommend watching the Extended version. So much story is lost in the Theatrical version.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug [2013]


Our troop of adventurers continues to make their way to the Lonely Mountain. Along the way, they encounter a wearbear, giant spiders, elves, including the introduction of Legalos, and the town folk of Laketown before the fateful confrontation with Smaug. Meanwhile, Gandalf the wizard discovers the return of the evil one and it doesn't go well. The conversations between Bilbo and Smaug are wonderful and the sequences involving the Mirkwood spiders, the dwarves escaping down a river and them trying to destroy Smaug are awesome.

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies [2014]


Events have now culminated into a war between dwarves, humans, elves and two armies of orcs. This is such an exciting film that fails miserably in the theatrical version. I believe that much of its negative reaction is simply because of the continuity errors and rushed nature of the theatrical version they're in a hurry to get it over with. Entire action sequences weren't included to satisfy a PG rating and for length. I personally hate the theatrical version but the extended version rocks, even when its silly with its unrealistic action fx! Pure popcorn delight.

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring [2001]

60 years after the Hobbit, the ring is passed from Bilbo to Frodo who must walk into the heart of Mordor to destroy it. The introduction of the characters and the roles they play in this adventure is spot-on. The establishment of the Fellowship is logical, handled expertly in both dialog and action with the results being both heroic, full of sacrifice and doomed to failure. The action sequences are incredible and the constant sense of peril dares the viewer to look away. Also has a good dose of humor thrown in for good measure. Classic!

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers [2002]

While Frodo & Sam, with the addition of a new traveling companion, Gollum, travel to Mordor, the other hobbits try to convince a tree shepherd to go to war and the Rohan go to Helm's Deep in an attempt to save their people from a massive orc army. The fact that this film effectively splits the story into several threads, all given proper depth and connecting them all together into a cohesive whole, is what makes this such an epic film. The first time I saw the siege of Helm's Deep, I was stunned. And yet, "...the battle for Middle-earth is about to begin." Amazing film!

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King [2003]

As the war for middle-earth grows to unbearable levels, Frodo and Sam's desperate attempts to get to Mount Doom and destroy the ring faces horrific resistance both externally and internally. Quite simply the best fantasy film ever made and, overall, one of the finest films ever made. The ability of the film to continue the events presented in the first two films and take them to a phenomenal level is grand in scale and epic in vision. The warfare scenes are a visceral, sometimes painful, sight to behold. An amazing end to an incredible journey!

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