Extra Elrond

Elrond in The Hobbit.

As he did with his Lord of the Rings films, Peter Jackson will soon release an extended edition of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. The box set will include “making of” extras, along with a longer cut of the film itself. This past summer, a single scene from the extended version was released to the web.

In it, Elrond (lord of the elf enclave Rivendell) joins Bilbo on a picturesque balcony. Bilbo complains about bad vibes from his dwarvish companions, and Elrond offers some consolation—even offering to let Bilbo remain at the Last Homely House.

The scene nicely captures Bilbo’s internal conflict: risk his neck with Thorin (who disrespects him) or return to a safer, more comfortable life. It also helps explain why Bilbo loves Rivendell (he seeks to return later in the film, and he retires there in Fellowship of the Ring).

I like other things about the scene, Weaving tosses some delightful little details into his performance. For example, Elrond throws a contemptuous glance toward the dwarves as he chews the word “companions”. Likewise, he offers Bilbo a gentle, bemused smile when describing hobbits’ fondness for creature comforts.

Another reason to enjoy this moment? The scene continues Jackson’s predilection for repurposing Tolkien quotes. This time, Bilbo’s whispered aside (“It’s not wise to seek the counsel of elves…”) steals a line from Frodo in Lord of the Rings.[1]

The scene has some hiccups, however. The entire conversation is shot from Bilbo’s height, forcing us to stare up into Hugo Weaving’s nostrils. In addition, Martin Freeman’s interpretation of Bilbo Baggins (usually spot-on) falls short. In particular, his delivery of the “counsel of elves” line borders on hammy, and it’s hard to hear for anyone who doesn’t already know the aphorism.

Still, the scene seems like a worthwhile addition. Maybe, just maybe, this extended edition can redeem An Unexpected Journey, a disappointment as a theatrical release.

  1. Frodo recites the saying for Gildor, who had just offered conflicting advice about whether to wait for Gandalf before leaving the Shire.  ↩