The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies: A Review of a Shameless Money Grab

The defining chapter? Too bad the definition is "atrocious".

The defining chapter? Too bad the definition is “atrocious.”

For my thoughts on the first two “Hobbit” movies, click the following links:

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Tolkien 

OKLAHOMA CITY – Thank heavens – the trilogy of movies ostensibly based on J.R.R. Tokien’s The Hobbit has finally come to a close! In the first two movies, it was exceedingly clear that not only would Peter Jackson recklessly abandon his source material but that he would interpose elements of his own creation, as if to improve upon Tolkien’s masterpiece. Now, after watching the third “Hobbit” movie (if it can even be called that), I am certain that Tolkien’s The Hobbit has yet to be delivered on the silver screen.

What do I mean? Well, this endeavor was NOT The Hobbit anymore than The Last Temptation of Christ was the story of Jesus. Indeed, this movie series so widely misses the mark in tone, plot and subject that I believe if someone delivers a proper interpretation it will feel like a totally fresh intellectual property.

By my troth, most of my comments from the first two movies apply to The Battle of the Five Armies. The music is still weak, the CGI is still good, the story is still befuddlingly clumsy, the characterizations are still wrong, and the Tauriel/Kili/Legolas love triangle is still completely tasteless. So, I will use this space to comment on the one huge problem that I’ve yet to address, namely, this movie (and the other two) is NOT about the Hobbit.

Indeed, it is reasonable for one to think that a movie entitled “The Hobbit” would actually be about the Hobbit. However, as this blogger writes, “Bilbo was rendered absent for large portions of the final two films.” Iwis, there was actually a moment in The Battle of the Five Armies where so much space exists between Bilbo appearances that I actually forgot that he was in the movie. I know that sounds crazy, but he was gone from the plot for so long that I literally forgot about him. That should never happen! Instead, we are treated to lengthy CGI battle scenes and boring interactions between pointless characters like Tauriel and Legolas’ dad. Blech.

Before I close, I want to mention that I use the word “boring” intentionally. Even if you don’t care about any of the source material, I’d still suggest you avoid this movie as it is indeed boring. My friend Jennifer (who is not an especially avid fan of The Hobbit or Tolkien) saw it, and that was the exact word she chose to describe it. In fact, she said she nearly fell asleep within the first thirty minutes. It’s that bad.

In closing, I have thought of several ways this movie could’ve been better, but by far the most effective improvement would’ve been for the movie never to have existed. Yes, that is harsh, but this material could easily have been incorporated into a streamlined presentation of the book in only two movies (or even one). As it stands, there is so much fluff and padding that it doesn’t resemble an interesting narrative as much as an audio/visual spectacle in the guise of a movie a la Michael Bay’s Transformers series. If you like to watch CGI battle sequences, then I would strongly recommend this movie. If you like charming, well-told stories, I would strongly recommend against it.

All told, this movie series is shameless money grab, and I shudder to think of what might happen if audiences financially affirm this effort by paying to watch it. I don’t want to overreact, but I fear that, if that happens, blockbuster movies will turn to mindless drivel in no time. See: Transformers.

2/10 The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies

3/10 The Hobbit trilogy

Grant Stevens really likes the book version of The Hobbit and hopes that, one day, someone will make a proper film adaptation. In the meantime, he lives in Oklahoma, writes terrific reviews of movies and books and plays the occasional music concert. He is also the Warlord of the Use Ironic Correctly Society, and he is super into apologetics.

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