August 13, 2015

The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies

Truly awful. Peter Jackson has lost sight of what made his Lord of the Rings movies so magical, and has become bogged down in battles for their own sake with no emotional dimension...and no connection with the Tolkien stories.
Smaug the dragon dies 12 minutes into this three-hour beast.  The remainder of the movie is devoted to the five armies of the title crashing into each other in a CGI mishmash. Jackson has invented all of the villains and monster characters in this movie, and scores of Laketown humans, and the Tauriel love triangle. The 'return of Sauron' arc which stretches across all three Hobbit movies has also been invented in an attempt to more fully prequel-ize these films. Yes, the novel has a battle for the elf mountain at the end of the book, but this is like taking a child's tee shirt, ripping open the seams, and sewing in massive panels of new fabric to fit a 300 pound man. The tag may still say "3T" but it's not for a toddler anymore. Much more than Hobbit 1 and Hobbit 2, Battle of the Five Armies has been bloated to justify a third feature film, when a very pleasant family adventure could have been produced for the entire novel in three hours or less.
As a devout fan of the Lord of the Rings movies - I own all three theatrical and extended editions on DVD - I was shocked to find myself fingering the Stop button halfway through this movie. There's only so many ways you can battle Orcs before I've seen it all. Elsewhere in this blog I called An Unexpected Journey "very good but flabby" and when reviewing Desolation of Smaug, conceded I was ready for the movie to be over after two hours, but this third installment never had me in the first place.