2/10
Unequivocally Terrible
27 December 2014
Peter Jackson, with this new trilogy, which adapts a somewhat long children's fairy tale into a three-part action epic, each movie being three hours long and delving into completely irrelevant stories that are only hinted at in Tolkien's body of work, has really destroyed his reputation as the Tolkien translator. He will always live in the shadow of The Lord of the Rings, which is a sumptuous, beautiful, heartrending, thrilling masterpiece.

I don't know what happened. But Jackson sacrificed tone, realism, characterization, and story when he adapted The Hobbit. It is unrecognizable as work by the same director.

There are so many problems with this trilogy and this movie that is nigh impossible to list them. Nearly every scene is a real travesty, and the whole operation is an affront to the source material and fans of LOTR. The movies make hyper-violent beheadings and mass slaughter into orgies of staged action sequences and dumb gags. The orcs, which are now entirely computer-generated, are no longer compelling or realistic, and they are seemingly significantly more fearsome than in LOTR... It takes what the audience understands about Middle Earth and makes it BIGGER, in a completely childish overextension of the original story, to make things even more epic! Were-worms and enormous bats - these don't exist in the larger and more climactic battle in LOTR, but sure, they existed back then, right? Sure! Jackson also turns characters into absolutely ridiculous flat caricatures. Thranduil, the bourgeois blue-blood riding an elk, Dain, Thorin's cousin, who rests his enormous high- pitched Scottish girth on a wild boar, the she- elf who falls in love with a dwarf... It's stomach churning how Peter Jackson has combined a love for extreme violence and an eye for juvenile gags and unbelievable characters, and in a beloved, classic setting.

This movie, once again, extends Legolas past human bounds, past elven bounds, past the bounds of Newtonian physics, as he sprints, newly cyan eyes shining, on falling bricks and hangs from bats. We get to watch dwarfs behead seiging armies of orcs, who are impotent to the blows of the tiny Olympians. Again, oh no!, Middle Earth is doomed, the age of men is over, (cue slow-motion shots of Gandalf looking stricken, Thorin killing orcs with Sparta kicks)... The feel, the script, the look is all taken from LOTR and rehashed with this cast of cardboard characters, in a badly rendered world of excess and fancy.

I expected mature film-making for thoughtful audiences expecting real characters living in a real world with a compelling story, but obviously that was too much to expect.

If one of the important themes of The Hobbit is the rejection of greed, as we can see personified by Thorin, then is it hypocritical that Hollywood has churned out three abominably shallow and violent films out of The Hobbit for the public's consumption? I think so. I hate what these films represent, and what they could have done.
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