The Hobbit Blu-Ray Buying Guide
When it comes to huge blockbusters being released on home video there are always a gazillion different options with multiple features to choose from. Don’t you hate it when you storm to the store to buy the blu-ray but find out a week later that another store had a better cover with bonus features that you don’t have with your copy? Does it bum you out when you find out there are better copies as you sit sadly in the corner thinking “HOW DID IT GO SO HORRIBLY WRONG?” Well fear not because I’m here to guide you through the multiple releases of my favorite movie of 2012, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
As you can see the cover art for both is atrociously uninspired and these will be the versions you see at every retail store. The Bonus features included in these are also included on ALL of the other sets we’ll look at and are as followed:
New Zealand: Home of Middle Earth
Start of Production
Shooting Block One
Filming in 3D
Locations Part 1
Locations Part 2
Stone St. Studios Tour
Wrap of Principal Photography
Wellington World Premiere
The Hobbit: Kingdoms of Middle-Earth
Guardians of Middle-Earth
Lego The Lord of the Rings
Standard DVD copy of An Unexpected Journey (2D)
UltraViolet digital copy An Unexpected Journey (2D) (expires 3/19/15)
Each edition also comes with a code to see an exclusive live preview of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug on Sunday March 24th!
Best Buy is offering an exclusive Gollum and Bilbo 3D litographic sli cover that’s a much better design than the photoshopped one that we see in the regular versions. It also comes with an exclusive 30 minute documentary on the making of the movie in addition to all of the standard bonus features.
Target is offering their own special cover art that includes a massive box with a limited edition Lego figurine inside of The Hobbit himself Mr. Bilbo Baggins. In addition to the figure it also has another exclusive 30 minute bonus feature that should have the same scenes as the one from Best Buy. If you really want the figure and don’t mind having a massive box protruding from your blu-ray shelf then this is your version.
Aside from the terror of actually venturing into a Wal-Mart to buy this copy you’ll be treated to the same features as the standard versions with one difference: New cover-art and an exclusive “digibook” packaging design. For those of you that might not know a “digibook” design is a blu-ray with a 20-30 page book on the front of it that usually has photos from the movie, behind the scenes images and written transcripts from the cast and crew. I think this is a really cool option and is possibly my favorite of them all.
Warner Brothers usually has exclusives for their own movies like Harry Potter and Inception but they really half-assed it with The Hobbit and are offering the same versions as before with an “exclusive” lithographic poster for an absurd amount of money ($35 dollars right now). Worth it? In my opinion absolutely not.
Amazon UK and Future Shop Exclusive
Both of these sites have the exclusive steelbooks for The Hobbit with in my opinion the best cover design of the bunch and that awesome collectible packaging. The release date for Amazon UK is 2 weeks after the US one so if you can stomach waiting an extra few weeks you can have the steelbook in your possession.
Well there you have all of the editions that have been detailed and are available right now. The price is similar with all of them so it really comes down to which set you like and which documentary features you’re looking for. I’m personally going for the Amazon UK steelbook since I collect them and absolutely love the design.. but I might go for Best Buy as well. There have been rumors and talk about an Extended Edition by the representatives at Warner Brothers and even Peter Jackson himself but nothing has been officially confirmed yet. Considering that it’s a Jackson adapted Tolkien work I think us fans can expect an Extended Cut around the time of The Desolation of Smaug but our fingers are still crossed. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is released today on March 19th and would make a worthy addition to any movie fan’s library!