‘Hobbit’ Review: Third Time’s a Chore

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Illustration by Joseph Weeden

By Chris Mudd, Staff Writer

The final installment of “The Hobbit” trilogy, “The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies” confirmed every fear I had of the completely destructive tendencies success and money bring to a director.

Ask anyone who has seen the films or read the book and they will inherently bring up the discussion on the length of the films. While I have no problem with the idea of creating a trilogy from a single book, it needs to be justified.  It’s incredibly apparent there was no story justification for the shift from the original two-movie deal, to a three-movie endeavor through the blatant and unnecessary stretching of the plot. While I have no idea whose decision it was at the end of the day, whether it was the production company or Jackson himself, the fault must lie with the director, and he will be judged for it.

I’ve spent the last two films hoping the third installment would redeem the awful pacing and terribly cheesy dialogue of the first two films, but “Five Armies” jammed the accelerator down and rammed us into the wall even harder than before.

However, there were some excellent moments in the film. The acting was fairly solid. Despite the writing being pretty awful, the actors delivered a strong performance. The problem with the dialogue stems from the film not knowing how much like “Lord of the Rings” it wants to be. While its characters and dialogue seem to exist in a children’s movie, the violence and dark tones of the film seem to reflect a more adult sensibility.

The music was mediocre; it felt flat and uninspired, but served its purpose well enough. The score never overshadowed the action and added a nice element to the screen action.

The emotional scenes of “Five Armies” felt rushed and unmotivated. Even after three movies, I don’t care about a single character, excluding, perhaps, Bilbo Baggins.

“The Lord of the Rings” was able to get away with over-the-top lines due to the world the film created, yet nothing in “The Hobbit” films outside of the Shire felt real. Dependence on computer graphics was the film’s biggest fault by far. Computers made not just the environments, but the visual effects and action scenes as well, and they were insanely exaggerated  I couldn’t take a single moment seriously.

The irony of the film is the reason Peter Jackson, director of “The Lord of the Rings,” and his crew became successful was the believability and detailed world they created with “The Lord of the Rings.”  Why spend any effort on making the magical world of Middle-Earth come to life when the tickets are going to be sold nonetheless?

What upsets me  is  the films could have been good. From the dialogue alone it’s plain to see that the script was broken from the beginning. With such excellent source material I’ll never understand how the writers let this opportunity slip by.

Never before has a good director fallen so far. Wait, Star Wars prequels were a thing. I guess Peter Jackson isn’t so awful after all.