'The Hobbit' Blu-ray: How the filmmakers restored dwarfish dignity
In Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, dwarves were a mysterious race. Sure, there was Gimli, a loyal soldier of the Fellowship, but his kind were a scattered, weakened tribe symbolized by the remnants and relics found in the dark caves of Moria. One of the delights of The Hobbit, then, was the rehabilitation of dwarves, in the Tolkien universe and pop culture, in general. Bilbo Baggins is a mere hobbit, but the 13 dwarves who recruit him as a burglar on their quest are a diverse collection of characters — whom Jackson playfully referred to as “the little bastards” — led by the dashing Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage).
In the new Extended Edition Blu-ray for the film, which arrives in stores on Nov. 5, fans can revel in dwarfish delights, just as the film’s creators did. Before the movie, dwarves were still widely perceived as Snow White’s supporting characters, but that wouldn’t do for Jackson’s epic adventure that sends them to face a dragon. In one of the new extras, “Durin’s Folk: Creating the Dwarves,” the creative artists explain how they researched and revised the image of the dwarf from comic sideshow to courageous warrior. “I honestly believe that Peter is going to do for dwarves what Tolkien did for elves, removing what nursery rhyme and folktale has done, which is to diminish them,” says conceptual designer John Howe.
Click below to see the exclusive Extended Edition Blu-ray clip.