So the final instalment of the divisive Hobbit trilogy is nearly upon us, and we are faced with another trailer that outlines just how much extra stuff that nobody asked for is in the movie. Quite a lot from the looks of things.
For a start, we have the title; The Battle of Five Armies gives us an idea of the scope of the film which will presumably focus on the comparatively short closing sections of the story. This includes the general destruction caused by Smaug, his death at the arrow point of Bard the Bowman, and the big showdown at the end between the eponymous five armies of Men, Elves, Dwarves, Goblins and Eagles. Just how Peter Jackson has managed to stretch the closing chapters of a short book where the main character spends most of the final battle knocked-out into a two and a half hour (minimum) film is anyone’s guess, but I think it can be safely assumed that a whole load of extra story-line and several needlessly long action set-pieces have been dumped in to fill the running time.
If it’s not already apparent, I am not overly enamored of The Hobbit films; mostly because I find them incredibly frustrating to watch. There have been solid gold scenes scattered across the films so far: the Dwarves singing in Bag End, ‘Riddles in the Dark’ and Bilbo chatting to Smaug being personal favourites of mine (testament to how good a job Martin Freeman has been doing). The problem is you have to sit through jarring changes in story-line and tone, questionable narrative additions, the occasional bad actor (or cameo) and constant reminders that the films are not as good as The Lord of the Rings.
Indicative of this in the inclusion in the trailer of what is affectionately referred to as ‘Pippin’s song’ from The Return of the King. This throw-away song was used to great effect in a very short section of that film and is one of the more poignant moments in the entire series. Whilst it does fit rather well with the trailer, all it does is remind me how much better the Lord of the Rings movies are and how all three of The Hobbit films represent a missed opportunity to do something interesting.
Peter, I know you made The Lord of the Rings. They are good movies. In fact, to my mind, they represent a major development in the history of cinema. You should be proud of that; not bad for a man who started out making splatter-house films (I love Dead Alive by the way). But, Peter… The Hobbit is not that. It’s not a prequel in that sense. You’ve missed the point. And by constantly referencing Lord of the Rings, you’ve made it impossible for The Hobbit to have it’s own identity. It will always be the weaker trilogy because you’ve linked them so much. The Hobbit could have been great… but unfortunately, you’ve made it impossible for the films to be as good as they could have been. The Hobbit will now forever be the weaker trilogy.