Christmas is coming up. When I was a kid, it took forever for Christmas to come around. Now it just breezes by. Being single and generally alone I barely notice it’s arrival. I don’t bother with a tree. I don’t bother with decorations. I just wait for people to stop being jolly at me. It’s not that I go out of my way to go all “Bah! Hum-bug!” on people, but there is a limit to other people’s joy that I can take.
To me, December is just another month full of just another days. And this December has been worst than most.
My friend John from ex-work asked if I’d like to see the new Hobbit movie yesterday. I decided to go mainly because it would be nice to see him again and, also, being out of the apartment is better than being in the apartment. I have to admit that I was curious to see if this movie was anything like the last one.
If you don’t remember what I thought of Desolation of Smaug, I’ll remind you that I very nearly walked out during it. I have never walked out on a movie. The only movie I would ever have walked out of, had I seen it in the theater, was Earth Girls Are Easy. It’s even worse considering I saw Desolation of Smaug at the iPic where they have alcohol and comfy recliner chairs. Had I been able to get the chair out of the reclining position in a speedy manner I very well may have given up on the film.
And let’s be honest: I’m a fan of the source work but not such a big fan that I could repeat all four books forwards and backwards. I’ve read them. I’m familiar with them. I liked them. But I’m no super-fan who has tried to make sense of “The Silmarillion.”
I also liked Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movies. I thought they were good. Sure, some liberties were taken here and there but I’ve read enough to know that very few author’s works make it through being turned into a movie without changes being made somewhere. It happens.
If someone were to ask me what was my favorite part of LOTR is I can pinpoint it: it’s the part during the Council Of Elrond when Frodo volunteers to carry the ring to Mordor and Gandalf’s facial expression. To me, this one, small, spot sticks with me.
Now, if someone asks me what my favorite part of the Hobbit movies is… I’d have to say the ending credits. And I feel bad about that.
As far as Battle of the Five Armies goes, it wasn’t as bad as Smaug but I was really glad it didn’t last three hours. There are just a lot of problems with it. Lots. And lots. And they have nothing to do with the source material.
In fact, let me **SPOILER ALERT** you right now. There are two things in this trilogy that I find unforgivable. The first is in Desolation of Smaug and it involves the barrel ride. It’s not just the fact that Legolas has to show up. It’s not just the whole sequence looked like a Mario game. It’s that freeing the dwarfs from prison was one of the first things that Bilbo does on his own as a thief. And his plan worked perfectly, if uncomfortably. It was Bilbo’s victory. And Jackson went and took that away so we could watch an elf bounce from head to head slaying orcs.
In Battle of Five Armies we see Bard take down Smaug. He fires a ludicrous sized ‘Black Arrow’ (specially designed to kill dragons) using his son as a giant crossbow just managing to see a weak spot in Smaug’s armor.
The same section in The Hobbit (the book) it’s a bit different. Bard shoots arrows arrow at Smaug with no affect until a thrush tells him about the missing armor on Smaug’s underside. Bard takes his last arrow, which is his ‘lucky arrow’ and not at all the size of a harpoon, and fires into the breach of armor and kills Smaug. How did the thrush know about the lack of armor? He had overheard the conversation between Bilbo and Smaug where it was discussed.
I can understand how that may be a bit difficult to put into a fast paced action movie, but it’s another thing that Bilbo is responsible for that Jackson has taken away. It almost seems that Peter Jackson doesn’t care for Bilbo very much.
In that vein, I have to consider The Hobbit trilogy a failure, regardless of how much money it’s made.
Actually, there’s one other thing I’d like to mention and that has to do with humor. Humor works best when it’s a part of the characters and/or the situation. The best way I can illustrate this is to say watch the original Star Wars trilogy and point out all the bits that are humorous.
Now watch the new trilogy and point out all the bits that make you feel embarrassed for the people on screen. All those parts were supposed to be funny but they felt tacked-on, like someone thought, “Hey, kids love fart jokes! Put in some fart jokes there!” Whole characters existed for no other reason than to try to make things funny.
Now go re-watch The Hobbit trilogy and find where humor was actually a part of the characters or situations rather than something someone thought would be hilarious.
Humor is an art form and it has to fit its medium. It’s not enough to nail a joke to a drama because your friends liked it.
And, there you are. End of the **SPOILERS**