Last month, as part of the regular release of MPAA ratings for upcoming films, a curious piece of potential news surfaced: the extended edition of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies was given an R rating for “some violence.” Could director Peter Jackson really be delivering an R-rated cut of the film to audiences, or was this simply an initial rating that would be brought degraded to PG-13 after subsequent edits? Well folks, it looks like it’s actually the former—we’re getting an R-rated Hobbit movie.
As part of Warner Bros.’ press release detailing the Blu-ray and DVD release of the Battle of the Five Armies Extended Edition, the film’s rating is confirmed to be R. That’s quite a development, and not necessarily an easy decision for WB to make. In the eventual trilogy set that will be released on home video, the Extended Editions package will include one R-rated movie, which could be cause for concern for some particularly strict parents. Although we as a society seem to be perfectly fine with movie violence as long as there’s no talk about S-E-X onscreen, so maybe it’s not an issue after all.
Regardless, it sounds like Jackson went all out with the action-intensive extended cut of the closing chapter in the Hobbit trilogy. Will this be enough to entice those not crazy about the trilogy to give it one more shot? It’s a tough call. On the one hand, the prospect of seeing Jackson embrace his Bad Taste and Dead Alive sensibilities once again is highly enticing, as is the fact that this is probably the most expensive R-rated movie ever made. On the other hand, this is still The Hobbit we’re talking about—a bloated, boring, meandering 9-hour-epic—and the R-rating more likely applies to simply more CG violence, not practical blood and guts. It’s a bit of a toss-up, really, but this rating may convince me to at least give Battle of the Five Armies another watch.
And for those curious about the special features included on the Extended Edition Blu-ray, they are as follows:
- Commentary with director/producer/writer Peter Jackson and co-producer/writer Philippa Boyens
- The Appendices – The Appendices Parts XI and XII showcase a chronological history of the filming of The Battle of the Five Armies, documenting the work done on set chronologically through the three shooting blocks and in the world of its digital effects.
- New Zealand: Home of Middle-earth – Part 3
Since The Battle of Five Armies was mostly shot after Jackson and Co. had wrapped principal photography on the two Hobbit movies and decided to expand to a trilogy, those appendices should be mighty fascinating. The Extended Edition arrives on 3D Blu-ray and 2D Blu-ray Digital HD combo packs on November 17th.