Summary: Today film critic Locke Peterseim reviews the last of The Hobbit films, The Battle of the Five Armies. Peter Jackson gives us fare that well suits 21st century America, a spectacular but shallow and overly long war. Three hours of CGI carnage without meaning or emotion, just like our real wars (except to those who wage them). It’s a built-for-export product, whose action transcends the lack of characterization. Post your comments about the film or the review!
Trust me, I well know that books are not movies and movies are not books. I’m fully aware of (and fascinated by) the differences in how the two mediums tell stories and create meaning and experience. And I also know that in this age of Internet tribalism, Hel hath no impotent, squealing fury like a fan who feels the movie on the big screen doesn’t quite match his or her version of the beloved, sacred source material. I know you’re supposed to address the film that was made, not the film you wanted made.
Which is to say that I don’t think The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies — Jackson’s final visit to Middle Earth and the closing chapter in his two-trilogy, six-film, nearly 20-year Tolkien filmmaking journey — is a bad movie. I was somewhat bored by it, but these days I’m more often bored than thrilled by big-screen CGI martial whiz-bang.
Obviously many of you are out there enjoying the film fully, dutifully enthralled by it, and most critics follow the same lines when “reviewing” films like The Hobbit — they focus on how well they’re paced, do they hold together, and most importantly for your two and a half hours and 10-plus dollars, do they entertain enough?