I went down to the theatre last night and watched the third and final instalment of Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit. I’m the kind of person who goes to watch a film and reads a review afterwards, mostly so I can determine if I’m feeling the way everyone else is feeling. So, after watching The Hobbit and feeling sort of melancholy about it, I was surprised to see such harsh reviews of the film.
The Atlantic was surprisingly aggressive about Peter Jackson’s work:
It’s one thing for a director to produce movies worse than the ones he made earlier in his career. But it requires a rare gift—and thank goodness—to produce movies that actually make that earlier work itself look worse.
Rolling Stone also disliked the film:
The Hobbit movies are so bloated they could survive at sea without flotation devices.
The most fitting review I found was written by Forbes:
It helps that the acting is so good. Martin Freeman is the perfect Bilbo. I can only wish that Frodo’s casting had been so on the nose in Lord of the Rings. (Alas, Elijah Wood is no Martin Freeman, and Frodo will always be somewhat ruined for me.) Richard Armitage is fierce and powerful as Thorin. Luke Evans is never given quite enough breathing room, but his Bard the Bowman is solid. And of course Cate Blanchett, Ian McKellen, and pretty much the rest of the cast all turn in wonderful performances. I was even a little sad to see Stephen Fry’s town master squashed.
I also particularly liked the fun (and slightly vulgar) commentary done by The Verge:
Opam: That was such a bizarre, trippy scene that took me out of the movie completely. We don’t need Thorin Oakenshield’s fever dreams!
That’s the thing: The core story here is great because Tolkien told a great story. But everything else feels like padding. Do we really need to see Legolas take a jaunt to Gundabad for no reason? (I had to look that up just now — that’s how much it didn’t matter.)
Actually, at this point we could make a pretty fair case for how useless Legolas is in this trilogy.
I think the third film is a barrage of action and a fair amount of fun. I find it really hard to justify saying the film isn’t worth a $10 admission ticket. I think you’ll get what you pay for.
But, if you’re a Tolkien book fanatic, take fair warning: this two-and-a-half hour movie is based on a short chapter in the book. Artistic rights have been used to their greatest extent. If watching the movie ruins the book, or vica versa, stay away.