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The Hobbit - The Battle of the Five Armies

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Dearest Peter,

I genuinely wanted to love the concluding chapter of The Hobbit. But I didn’t. In fact, I was very much frustrated with it. I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed.

Smaug was in it. Such a wasted cliffhanger. The film picks up immediately following Bilbo’s alarming proclamation in Desolation, but Smaug’s (Benedict Cumberbatch) limited dialogue and rather snappy work razing Lake Town were underwhelming to say the least. Why wasn’t his face-off with Bard (Luke Evans) included in the previous film? Had you not shoehorned that faux-romance and everything involving Legolas, Smaug going nuclear would have been aces. The split-up doesn’t work for either film. Where Desolation felt empty, Five Armies feels bloated.

Was it the perverted abuse of CGI? These films overflow with digital bits, but one of the greatest satisfactions of The Fellowship of the Ring or The Two Towers were those tasty morsels of practical effects and creepy make-ups. Remember the Orcs and Goblins?! OMG! What happened? Five Armies is cramped by its poorly implemented CGI characters, the mechanically orchestrated armies, and the ridiculous fight sequences…I’m looking at you head-butting dwarf (Dain, played by CGI! Billy Connolly). While we’re at it, you could have done without Legolas (Orlando Bloom) riding/steering bats by their legs, or that equally unbearable slow-motion escape atop falling boulders. Legolas is light on his feet, sure, but that was utter nonsense. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

Why are you here?

Bilbo is an afterthought in his own film (again), which isn’t all that surprising. Martin Freeman’s acting prowess is woefully underutilized across all three films. Aside from dismissing the Hobbit from The Hobbit, who green-lit that scene where Bilbo incapacitates trolls by chucking rocks at them? Inconceivable!

Were the shortcomings due to stretching Tolkien’s (standalone) novel across a trio of movie-going experiences? Perhaps! But that horse has been beaten to death by critics and fans alike, there’s nothing to gain by revisiting the stable. Of course, after sitting through Five Armies, evidence now supports this should have been a two-flick pony. On a related note, kudos to the amount of beasts-turned-transportation you were able to get away with, someone was thinking outside-the-box.


In truth, these films were made for superfans of the Extended Editions of your Lord of the Rings blu-rays and DVD’s. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies and the previous two entries are excessive marathons meant to be viewed as a whole. They don’t stand-alone, leaving the uninitiated scratching their heads. Viewed together, I could almost justify melting into my lounger and cramming my face with junk food all day. Viewed together they have a beginning and an end.

I appreciate everything you did for Lord of the Rings. I even commend your effort adapting The Hobbit into three films. By the way, the studio made you do it…right? Despite the shortcomings, you were always the right man for the job. I will gladly follow you, one last time.

Very Nearly A Big Fan

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Movie Reelist Contributor: Chris Giroux
Chris Giroux is founder and editor-in-charge at Movie Reelist, an entertainment news and review blog serving the most fanatic moviegoers. Chris started his publication in Detroit in 2010 and has since reviewed hundreds of films and interviewed numerous talent across the country. He is an avid film festival attendee and red carpet photographer, having shot the likes of Steven Spielberg, Bill Murray, Mark Hamill, and more. Chris grew up in New Mexico, where he studied mass media writing while working in post-production and multimedia authoring. It is also where he discovered Big Trouble in Little China and Escape from New York, resulting in an unhealthy Kurt Russell obsession.

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