Exploring the faults found in Peter Jackson’s Hobbit Trilogy
The Lord of the Rings can easily be stated as some of the best imaginative works in both fiction and cinema with J.R.R Tolkien’s incredible vision of fantasy and Peter Jackson’s remarkable adaptation of that vision. But, before there was the story of Frodo and his quest to destroy the One Ring his uncle, Bilbo Baggins, went on quite an adventure of his own in the sensational novel, The Hobbit.
As I grew up watching The Lord of the Rings over and over again I always wished that Peter Jackson would, indeed, bring the glorious adventures of Bilbo Baggins to life in a film. When it was announced that he was making a Hobbit movie my excitement was through the roof. Finally, my wish had come true.
I remember going to see The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in the movies for the first time. I was so excited. But as I walked out of that theater my enthusiasm had diminished greatly. The movie wasn’t exactly bad, per say, but it was underwhelming in ways that I couldn’t have imagined.
As much as The Hobbit trilogy didn’t deliver in the same fashion that The Lord of the Rings trilogy did I still happen to own every film and I have watched each installment at least ten times. You could summarize that I highly enjoy these films to a certain degree and you are correct. They’re not perfect but they can be a great midday movie.
So, in this two-part post, I’m going to share with you my opinion on the blaring faults and remarkable triumphs of The Hobbit trilogy.
Too Many Save-the Days
You know those movies where every time a hero (or heroes) are in trouble there’s always something that gets them miraculously out of a sticky situation? Well, that’s the basis of The Hobbit trilogy. From barely escaping being crushed by Stone Giants and eaten by goblins (The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey) to not drowning in barrels and miraculously surviving multiple encounters with dragon fire (The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug) this trilogy is filled with eye-rolling moments that can easily grate on the nerves.
In fact, in the final section of An Unexpected Journey (which consists of the dwarves escaping the goblin town and the dwarves facing Azog and his fellow orcs and wargs) there are at least five save-the-day moments. That’s a lot in a such a short span of time. While the heroes in The Lord of the Rings definitely found themselves in sticky situations, again and again, the way they triumphed over those tough times were much more realistic than what happens to the seemingly invincible (or extremely lucky) dwarves in The Hobbit.
Ah, Thorin Oakenshield, destined king of Erebor and leader of the dwarven company that Bilbo adventured with. I want to like Thorin. I really do. But there’s something somewhat annoying about him that I can’t quite latch onto. Maybe it’s his constantly grumpy (and sometimes aggravating) personality. Maybe it’s because he looks more like a human rather than the typical dwarf. Or maybe it’s because the script plays him out to be a heroic figure but he just doesn’t turn out to be that likeable. I’ll admit, I cried when he died in The Battle of Five Armies, but that doesn’t mean he’s not a bit grating on the nerves at nearly all times.
If Peter Jackson was trying to make Thorin the next Aragorn he failed miserably.
You remember when I was saying that Thorin didn’t look like a typical dwarf? Well, his nephews, Fili and Kili, ended up obtaining that gene as well. I remember when I saw Kili for the first time. I knew there had to be an agenda behind his extreme dwarven prettiness. Sure enough, in the second installment of the movie, he met Tauriel, the elven warrior that he would instantly fall in love with.
Now, I’m a fan of sappy love stories that involve people falling for each other at first sight but there was still something off about Kili and Tauriel’s relationship (besides the height disparity, of course.) Maybe it was the actors’ chemistry. It felt, at times, like I could see them acting out the script rather than feeling the story and making us, the viewers, believe they were madly in love. Maybe it was the poor script that forced this sort of unexpected romance into a movie that honestly didn’t need it. Or maybe because they had, possibly, ten minutes together onscreen and we’re supposed to truly believe they’re that deep in love?
The Hobbit novel didn’t have any romantic aspects of it and now I understand why. The fact that Peter Jackson and his co-writers forced romance into the last two movies did not help the movies’ quality in the slightest.
One of the reasons why The Lord of the Rings trilogy was so incredible is because a lot of it was, in fact, practical. The fortresses, the locations, the pure imagination put into those movies was downright mind-blowing. The Hobbit was a much more generic version of that creativity. Each scene felt awash in CGI. The lands felt fake, the skies felt fake, even the orcs and elves felt at times terribly artificial. Especially in The Battle of the Five Armies. That final battle is a hodgepodge of poor CGI that is sometimes painful to witness. Where The Lord of the Rings can be praised for its choices to be as real as possible The Hobbit is the exact opposite.
The Hobbit trilogy suffered the same prequel syndrome as most incredible franchises do. Star Wars suffered from the same lack of creative genius when George Lucas tried to make a prequel trilogy that focused on Anakin Skywalker which overall got scathing reviews from avid Star Wars fans for a lot of its choices. And with this new Harry Potter prequel series, the Fantastic Beasts movies, the first film wasn’t received very well. It had okay reviews but it was nowhere near as magical as the Harry Potter series conjured so easily.
But, I do own each and every Hobbit movie for a reason and in the next part of this two-part post, I will tell you exactly why.
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