The third and final installment of the Hobbit is now out! And thus, end’s Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings 6 movie extravaganza. I would like to talk about all three movies at once. I held off on making a review about the second movie because I wanted to get all three of them at once. There will be spoilers.
Now, how does one turn one book into three movies? By adding a lot of stuff, some from the appendices and some just out of Peter Jackson’s own making to more strongly tie in The Hobbit with Lord of the Rings.
First off, I’ll admite to only having read part of the books. I’ve read none of the appendices, part of the Hobbit, The fellowship of the Ring, and the non-Frodo parts of the Two Towers and the Return of the King. I did read the parts with Faramir, though. So I’ll be going into this review from the perspective of seeing how complete and satisfying the movie is, not how faithful it is to the books.
In the sense of being fun to watch, the Hobbit definitely is that. And all of the Lord of the Rings tie ins actually make sense, unlike say, the Star Wars Prequels where they jammed in every old character they could. In the Hobbit, everyone that appears has a pretty good reason for doing so.
The party of dwarves is really fun to watch. They all have their own little ticks, and the costuming department did a great job with all of them. It allowed the minor dwarves to be memorable without having a lot of lines or important scenes. I have never seen such wild and glorious beards before anywhere.
I mean, I can not remember one thing Nori does in the film, but I still remember his character well all thanks to his appearance.
The tone of the film slowly gets more grim as things get more serious. The first is more light-hearted while the third is grim and dark most of the way through. Martin Freeman does a good job with Bilbo, showing how much Bilbo is out of league as an adventurer but growing to like it and relish it. The encounters with Gollum and Smaug were both really well done, especially in terms of being intimidating and creepy.
As for the Battle of Five Armies, if there is one thing Peter Jackson/WETA does well, it’s armies. Both the marching and the wide shot conflicts are amazing. Someone over there must be salivating at not two, not three, not four, but FIVE! Five armies.
The last film felt shorter, though. I haven’t checked running lengths, so I’m not exactly certain, but it felt the most light on plot. But it made up for that in some of the greatest action scenes around. Even Elrond and Saruman got in on it. And I love the individual designs for the Nine. It’s unfortunate they got beaten so badly that they lost all their cool powers for the Lord of the Rings.
Also on the bad guys side, Azog and Bolg were fantastic, too. If more orcs were like them, the plot of the Lord of the Rings would have gone differently. Bolg, especially, was a threatening force that felt like the more dangerous of the pair.
Now, from the previous film’s love of long endings, this one was cut too short. They left many plot threads only implied. Bilbo’s story was resolved, sure, but a lot of other fairly important stuff never got a conclusion. I am fairly certain they’ll be on the extended version, though. It feel like they wasted too much time on Alfrid’s character. For someone that neither changes nor really gets punished, it dragged on too much.
But as a whole, the trilogy is a fun romp. Even without the threat of Sauron, there are still big visuals and large stakes. The added tie-ins with the Lord of the Rings were cool to see.
For a fantasy adventure, look no further, especially if you are tired to pretty-boy knights and princesses.