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THE HOBBIT: EXTENDED EDITION

   

For Hicksflicks.com, Nov. 1, 2013

After last March's release of the nearly three-hour "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" on DVD and Blu-ray, Peter Jackson and friends have come up with "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: Extended Edition" — an even longer version to release during the run-up to the second film, which opens on Dec. 13.

Nothing like priming the pump close to the next event … as if "Lord of the Rings" fans need priming.

In the original version, the special effects are astonishing, the cast very well chosen, the canvas vast and occasionally eye-popping, and the adventure often engaging as an addition to the "LOR" saga. But the story was stretched beyond reason. Now it's 13 minutes longer. And this is only the first of three.

Still, "LOR" fans won't care, and this adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkein's 1937 novel is reasonably entertaining most of the way ... though it does have its lulls. (Hey, Hollywood: less is more, less is more.)

The story has sedentary hobbit Bilbo Baggins (played perfectly by Martin Freeman, who also has a following as Dr. Watson in the BBC series "Sherlock Holmes") being coerced into joining a band of dwarves as they head out on a quest to reclaim a kingdom.

If you're a fan, you won't be dissuaded.

If you're not, you won't be tempted.