Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Hobbit 3 - The Battle Of Five Writers

This morning I wasted $7 and 2 hours of my life enduring the bastardization of a film loosely based around the Tolkien mythos, entitled The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.  Eh, it really wasn't a battle of five armies.  And if you've read the book - as most Americans over 30 have - then you won't recognize most of the plot from the movie since it really doesn't have hardly anything to do with the book.  (and Jackson makes it actually 8 armies…  but I don't want to get into minutia) 

Peter Jackson did a great job in the Lord of the Ring Trilogy, sticking as close as he could to the 3 epic novels in 3 epic movies.  In the Hobbit movies, he drew out what could have been done in about 3 hours into 3 separate, painfully embellished films.  This last (thank goodness!) installment could have been wrapped up in about 30 minutes.  Instead, Jackson, and his fellow conspirators Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyen, and the increasingly annoying Guillermo del toro eviscerated J.R.R. Tolkien's beautiful little book, The Hobbit, and turned it in a misplaced love story, a personal blood feud, a father-son-angst conflict, and a mockery of the original Tolkien novel.  

To understand & appreciate how completely divergent The Battle of Five Armies was from the original Tolkien work, all one has to do is to look at the original Tolkien / Jackson ring trilogy epics, and then do a (1-X) calculation, proportionally.   So if in your perspective, Jackson got 98% right on the ring trilogy movies, in this final installment, he gets 2% right (1 - 0.98) = 0.02.  If he got 75% right in your perspective originally, then he's gotten perhaps 25% right on this last movie (1 - 0.75) = 0.25.  

There was no love story, between elves and dwarves or between anyone else, except for Smaug and his gold, in The Hobbit.  Yes, Tolkien wrote dwarves as greedy, and Thorin's grandfather as driven mad by the wealth, but Jackson and his cabal of co-conspirators created ridiculous plot devices that were not needed. 

The physics of a drawn bow, to propel an arrow through the air, are NOT purely the elasticity of the bow string, but the tension in that string and the elastic bending of the bow (as seen clearly in a simple long bow, or multiplied in a compound bow).  So when Bard (the Animated version was So Much Better!) uses his son's shoulder as the bow, that's a cute "father & son moment", but that arrow wouldn't have flown more than a few feet, much less several hundred feet, through the leathery hide of an ancient red dragon, through heart muscle, and killing one of the most vicious and formidable creatures ever to be characterized on the written page (think about it…  what other creature of mass destruction, pure evil & super intelligence have you ever read as much about in a beloved novel, and even cheered for (as I did, in the previous film, and this travesty as well)?  Jackson and his writers needed to spend less time launching water balloons with surgical tubing sling shots, and more time in Physics 101 class.

I half expected to see Paul Atreides (from Dune), riding along with the Northern Orc army - what's a matter Peter, were Wargs too hard to animate?  Or perhaps too deadly when matched against several hundred Iron Hills dwarves (who brought with them, no cavalry, but later, ram sheep conveniently appear)?  So many inane sub-plots and tangents…  I mean… it was great to see Radagast again… but the entire scene in which he appears… was not in the book.  Great to see Hugo Weaving (Agent Smith) as Elrond again… but in The Hobbit he never leaves Rivendell.  

There's so many things incongruent with Jackson's ham-fisted, market-driven re-writes of The Hobbit that it would take dozens and dozens of pages to describe, in even the briefest detail, and frankly, I don't have that kind of time to waste.  I am just delighted that Jackson cannot rape another Tolkien film, since the Tolkien family has not signed over rights to "The Silmarillion", and I hope in my lifetime, they never will.  

In The Battle of the Five Writers, J.R.R. Tolkien is soundly defeated.  Marketers rejoice, globally, and those who have never read the book will likely remain ignorant - reading takes time, and everyone lives connected to their digital devices, with the attention span of an impatient & unrealistic corporate board, expecting immediate results, gratification, satisfaction… which just leads to stagnation and disappointment, long term.  Much better to have video games, and plastic play toys, and to try and inspire fabricated dreams of interspecies romance, than to make a movie based solidly on the original work.  Pathetic & sad.

I was considering titling this "The Desolation of Smug", or "Jackson-itis" (the disease where you get infected with so much hubris, that you band together with other writer-directors [like del toro] who also show the same symptoms, and then you create an abomination, a bastardization, a remarkably ugly and painful vehicle that movie-goers have to endure while they were expecting 'this won't be so bad…  will it?'), but when I saw Jackson had teamed up with 3 other writers, the Battle of Five Writers sounded much better.


  1. OMFG was that an awful movie. As Ferg said, "the battle looked like a 6-yr-old playing with miniatures."

  2. "Endurance test" … just to make it through. The bright spot, is that Jackson "can't do this again", just sad that the "final chapter" was so abysmally executed & presented.


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