The Art of the Hobbit: The Battle for Box Office Dollars

18 Dec

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Just how in the name of Sauron can Peter Jackson fall from grace? He did great with The Lord of the Rings trilogy by crafting a wonderful world that’s interesting from beginning to end. Viewers are left waiting with bated breath for the next film. The same can be said for The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies, but in how it’s presented, the let down is simply with the fact that it is not a self-contained product. Multi-part movies are better when each unit offers something new to the plate to make the whole meal fulfilling. In this film’s case, what’s presented as a conclusion to Bilbo’s tale feels like one half of a six-course meal.

The Hobbit should have stayed a duology as Guillermo del Toro intended that’s self contained than a trilogy which Jackson believed he can expand upon. He believed that he could add to the narrative from the material J.R.R. Tolkien wrote later and make it work. To see Jackson’s team of writers create Tauriel as a new character is fine. But to fill in the gaps of the Hobbit story with moments never written about felt awkward. It felt unneeded since all it does is to establish what’s to come in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. When there is a sixty year gap between trilogies, some viewers will be left asking so what happened during that time?

Just what is Sauron up to? Of course, time is needed for the orcs and goblins to build a massive army. In the way The Battle of the Five Armies tries to reconcile the two narratives, more questions are raised. Just what are the powers that be in Middle Earth doing to prevent this new war from happening since they know what’s coming ever since the Necromancer revealed himself?

In what Gandalf discovers when he we went to fight the Necromancer is that he is Sauron in disguise. He’s very slow in rebuilding his empire. Aren’t evil-doers typically impatient? This wizard’s fight against such an almighty force only yields imprisonment. Just how the White Council learns of Gandalf’s incarceration almost needs to be questioned since it is them — Saruman the White, Radagast the Brown, Lady Galadriel of Lothlórien, Master Elrond of Rivendell — who rescues Gandalf.

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To see the Nazgûls return to fight Gandalf’s rescuers makes for a true highlight for this film than the massive battle that’s to come. These Ringwraiths’ fearsome appearance sets up the fact that the dogs of war will indeed come. Thankfully, Galadriel saves the day moreso than the siege that’s to occur at Lonely Mountain.

When the epic fights are told in a few pages, The Battle of the Five Armies is definitely more about making the battles as epic as possible than to really delve more into the psyche of the characters, especially for Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage), who is reluctant to lead his soldiers to battle. He succumbed to dragon fever during this latest film and the way he expresses himself feels drawn out. The fan service mostly focuses on Legolas showing how deft he is when racing along crumbling structures and riding colossus-sized beasts. Somehow, along the way, the feelings that the dwarf Kili and Tauriel have for each other are reconciled, Legolas finds acceptance from his father  Thranduil, and Thorin has a spiritual awakening. When the blood is racing, especially in the heat of battle, the emotions that burst out just arrive at an awkward time.

The speed at which the story gains momentum is more like coming down a hill fast with a huge rest-stop to make before the climax is achieved. But in this film’s case, there is no finale. There’s more story to tell, and this movie hardly feels like a conclusion to one book. It feels more like a tiny piece of a greater whole that has yet to come. When this movie is seen together with Desolation of Smaug, this film is fine. On its own, it just lacks substance. Despite the fact that this latest entry to the Hobbit-verse is the shortest of the three, it hardly feels like a fitting end to a trilogy. Peter Jackson’s intent was to create a hexalogy and that’s where The Battle of the Five Armies belongs, stuck right in the middle.

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One Response to “The Art of the Hobbit: The Battle for Box Office Dollars”

  1. Denny Sinnoh 2014-12-19 at 6:18 am #

    Perhaps it is easier for film directors to make a commercial movie with lengthy battle sequences and awesome special effect monsters than it is to make a heartwarming yet compelling children’s story.

    Like

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