The Hobbit is continuing its movie legacy with the third and last installment The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. The title has changed from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey to this action inspired title. This title change may have come about to mirror the intensity of the Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, the last installment of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. It is possible that Peter Jackson is grasping at entertainment straws because The Hobbit has not been as well received as The Lord of the Rings trilogy. With lack-luster approval, it is a wonder if Tolkien fans even like the first two Hobbit movies at all.
Criticism starts with Peter Jackson’s intention to stretch the beloved Tolkien novel, The Hobbit, into three three-hour long films. One online reviewer is confused by this decision because the first glimpse into the Shire and hobbits was supposed to be very a child friendly, short and exciting novel. Hobbits are simple folk, not opposed to adventure, but they definitely do not knock on adventure’s door. The character Bilbo Baggins in the Hobbit trilogy is portrayed as anxious and stand-offish; some critics believe that the viewer does not get to know Baggins well enough by the end of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, and even go so far as to say that the actor who plays Baggins, Martin Freeman, is not a believable hobbit.
The iconic dwarves many Hobbit readers grew to love did not embody individuality in the films, causing one critic to claim that they all lumped together, so much so that he could not remember them as individuals in the films. The same critic believes that Peter Jackson took too many liberties with these Hobbit installments, causing the movies to appear overdone, which in turn has caused many people to not even like the first two movies at all.
Of course, there are many viewers and critics who are able to look past small technicalities with the first two Hobbit installments and embrace the movies as action-packed, eye-pleasing spectacles. The battle scenes and famous hobbit predicaments are not scarce in the first two Hobbit installments, helping many reviewers rate the films high, just not as high as The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Though, there are those commentators that claim just about every character in the first two Hobbit films were obviously computer generated, offering that computer rendering was too obvious throughout. This viewpoint detracts from the overall sentiment of the films.
Many movie-goers were befuddled by some obvious graphic errors in the beginning sequence of the first installment, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. While the films have all been beautiful, reminiscent of The Lord of the Rings trilogy and New Zealand, the story line and character development, along with obvious special effects issues, are less than appealing to many avid Tolkien fans. It is hard to say if fans will receive the last installment, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, with open arms. There are many wary fans anxiously awaiting the film, hoping Peter Jackson took feedback from fans constructively to apply it to the last film. Pleasing fans of any book series is not an easy task; many people do not like the first two Hobbit movie installments and only time will tell if The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies will suffer at the hands of these tough critics as well.
Commentary by Courtney Heitter