Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Thoughts on the Hobbit Movies

Now that I’ve seen all three Hobbit movies (the last one in 3D, though not by choice), I’m going to go over some of the good and bad aspects of the three movies.  I am not a professional reviewer by any means, this is just my take on everything:

  • I’ve said previously that this was a prequel series to the The Lord of the Rings movies and these movies do just that.  Yes, they are not exactly canon to the book or the lore, but neither was the original set of movies.  I think Peter Jackson succeeded in making a better prequel series than George Lucas did with Star Wars.
  • Lengthening the movies out to three movies was unnecessary and it looks like most people agree with that sentiment.  Two movies would have probably done the trick.  Most of the second movie was a waste.
  • I am still bothered that they cut out the idea of a mayor heading up Laketown.  Instead we had some kind of dictator type figure who kind of was king but really wasn’t. 
  • The whole idea of Thorin being consumed by his greed in the third movie was an excellent subplot.  It was in the original work to a lesser degree, but it was a much more prominent element here.  Hell, if Jackson had Thorin have one of the rings of power (in canon, his father did but lost it) and who Bilbo the struggle he has with to contrast with his own ring, we might have had a more fleshed out story.
  • The beginning of the third movie should have been the ending of the second movie and it should have ended with the dwarves looking over Laketown while Thorin looks at his kingdom.  That would have been a better ending.
  • I liked how Dain was played by a Scottish actor/comedian.  It was very appropriate.  And that he rode a boar was pretty cool and unique as well.  Much better than Thranduil riding a deer.
  • There weren’t any giant bodyguards protecting Bolg.  And Beorn didn’t get to do much killing as a werebear.  That was a loss as I always liked Beorn.
  • The love triangle between Tauriel, Legolas, and Kili was incredibly stupid and wasteful.  The entire affair should have been left out.
  • Legolas should not have been left out of the movies.  Not because he’s awesome, but because it seemed appropriate as his people played a significant role in the original book.  But he did have a much bigger role than his character should have.
  • I thought they were originally going to draw out the fight with the Necromancer (aka Sauron), but instead it was wrapped up pretty quickly in the final movie.  This should have been shortened and they should have had the Rangers aiding the White Counsel in the final battle.
  • The idea of the Nazgul being “dead” and buried for all those centuries makes a lot more sense than what Tolkien originally penned.  Props to Jackson for producing a slightly better idea in this regard.
  • I know it is hard to have 14 prominent characters in a film, but there was a lot of missed opportunity to flesh out Thorin’s company.  Really it boiled down to a few prominent ones and the rest were just sort of there.
  • The final battle did not feature five armies.  It was more like six or seven.  You had elves, dwarves, humans, Azag’s orcs, Bolg’s orcs, eagles, and bats.  Yeah, the whole point originally was that there five: humans, elves, dwarves, eagles, and goblins.
  • Where were all the soldiers of Laketown?
  • The link between Smaug and Sauron was well established in these films.  And it was very well done.  Tolkien’s dragons were supposed to be evil, devious, and powerful beings.  This film captured that perfectly.
  • In the third film, Saruman’s treachery is somewhat established when he states that he will deal with Sauron.  That’s pretty good foreshadowing.

Overall, it was a pretty good movie series despite my qualms with it.  I know many purists out there hate the movie series even more so than the original movies and I can understand that.  But you are never going to get an exact interpretation of the books because there will always be people who think they can do it better.

Just be glad that things didn’t go way off course (like a love interest for Gandolf or something).  And given the caliber of people who work in Hollywood these days, I consider it fortunate that it wasn’t the case.