The Hobbit trilogy, and its predecessor, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, have adopted a very odd, meta-textual depiction of Peter Jackson’s role in the adaptation of literary source material.
Having once been seen as the Gandalf figure (bringing us sheer joy and wonderment in never-before-seen spectacles), he is now Thorin, infected by what can only be described as Dragon Sickness.
The Hobbit trilogy has never really been given much of a fair chance. From the very beginning, at the announcement of the movies (only two parts back then), audience have been cynical as to how a book best described as a fraction of the length of The Lord of the Rings could warrant equal screen time in adaptation. And matters didn’t improve when it was later revealed that the movies were to be further divided to allow a third instalment.
But with the first movie, despite complaints of dragginess and inefficient pacing, the justification for a trilogy seemed visible–the movies would not only adapt the eponymous novel, but also any and all content occurring within the same period of time. It was this decision that got us a glimpse of the White Council in its early days as well as Dol Guldur.
But with the follow-up of The Desolation of Smaug, most arguments in favour of the trilogy was shattered. And The Battle of the Five Armies takes a sledgehammer to already-shattered hopes.
Displaying none of the charm found in the extensive scenery building shots, in-character banter, or vastness of mythology found in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies concludes what can only be called a bloated ode to a franchise best remembered independently.
Jackson’s clumsy attempts to remind audience that this is essentially a prequel to The Lord of the Rings stains the entire narrative by shoving more Legolas down our throats (what, didn’t Orlando Bloom have any other movies to shoot?) with a completely movie exclusive dame-elf and a completely unnecessary love story that goes nowhere.
Side note: Tauriel, the elf played by Evangeline Lilly, was a character introduced for the sake of adding some female presence in an otherwise all-male cast. As much as I loved the idea of bringing in a kick-ass female elven warrior played by the gorgeous Lilly, the movies essentially reduce her to a B-plot tool as a love interest who ends up as the damsel in distress who inadvertently causes the death of a character. Oops, spoiler. (Seriously, no one cares by this point in the movie.)
Back to point–absurd plot lines and character developments aside (I could never say enough on Jackson’s idiotic insistence on portraying Thorin as Aragon 2.0), what truly disappointed me was how even the very basics of presentation were warped somewhere along the way.
Jackson displays an understanding of visual literacy comparable to Zack Snyder sans Larry Fong. With an opening sequence that would best serve to titillate Michael Bay, any form of narrative pacing or comprehension is tossed out of the window while stray plot lines and absolutely inconsequential characters are adopted.
In all, it’s actually quite depressing to say that this is the end of a 13-year journey that began most magically with The Fellowship of the Ring. If you’re one of those who has been hesitant to watch The Hobbit movies and have been waiting for the series to conclude before watching them, I suggest just re-watching The Lord of the Rings.