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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Cry Havoc and Let Slip the Orcs of War...

Peter Jackson concludes his Hobbit trilogy with the exciting final installment ‘The Battle of the Five Armies.’  As the name implies, Bilbo’s long and arduous journey is now over and war is upon us!  TBOTFA pits an uneasy alliance of hearty Dwarves, noble Elves and rag-tag band of Humans from Laketown who survived the ravages of Smaug against two massive Orc warhosts converging on Erebor and Dale in a climactic Battle Royale we’ve all been waiting for since the good guys vanquished the fell legions of Sauron in ‘Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King’ over 10 years ago.
 
Tolkien fans decried that Jackson wasn’t faithful enough to the source material in this trilogy, but we should bear in mind that adapting a single 300-page novel into three feature-length films is difficult at best and near impossible at worst, since the story of ‘The Hobbit’ can probably be told in just one movie.  Filler had to be put in to pad the movies, two of which are over two and a half hours long.  Under the circumstances, Jackson did the best that anyone could reasonably expect and it is unfair to expect ‘The Hobbit’ trilogy to equal his earlier ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy, which had the luxury of having three novels to derive from rather than just one.
   
While ‘An Unexpected Journey’ and ‘The Desolation of Smaug’ dragged and meandered at moments, TBOTFA maintained its fast pace and is action packed throughout, aided by its relatively ‘short’ two hour twenty-four minute length.  Filled with drama, betrayal, heartbreak, redemption and acts of individual heroism, TBOTFA possesses the hallmarks of yet another Peter Jackson fantasy epic.

Grade: A

Have a merry Christmas everyone!

Santa's helpers took a break from the workshop to save Middle-Earth.

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1 comment:

  1. I agree with everything you said about the imposed limitations of making three films from one book. And taking that aspect alone, P. Jackson did a competent job of creating a Trilogy out of a single, not-so-lengthy novel.

    But my objections involve his choices for "filler", and the way he presented his filler much of the time. Why he felt required to defy all visual appeal to the laws of physics is just aggravating. There was no need to wax so extreme with the silly, cartoonish action that punched any normal BS meter. We have Warner Brothers cartoons for that kind of stuff. Blatant, ridiculous defiance of the laws of physics, time and again, degraded the "epic" quality a ton, in my not so humble opinion.

    I won't take exception to the way he juggled scenes, that's simply personal taste, and I liked the settings quite a bit for the most part. Moving away from the main battle down in the vale of Dale was in some ways a smart move, requiring less fiddly CGI, and focusing on the main characters with fewer distractions.

    P. Jackson's vision of "orcs" has morphed from goblins of not so huge size, into hulking monsters that should pound to pulp any mere human, dwarf or elf. Visually, the vanquishing of such enormous monstrosities by even pre-teen boys, through that mass of plate armor no less, just didn't look possible to me.

    Oh, well. It sure was cinematic! And I guess that's what sells today. I hope everyone makes a lot of money back on their investment, because that will encourage others to make more Middle Earth films. Tales from the Silmarillion, anyone?...

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