After disappointment and accusations of placing profit above integrity with the release of the first two films of The Hobbit trilogy, An Unexpected Journey and The Desolation of Smaug, the final part has a lot of ill will to claw back. With the first trailer now released for The Battle of the Five Armies, the dwarves are in the catacombs of Erebor, Smaug is heading for Esgaroth, Gandalf is trapped in Dol Guldur, and across Middle-Earth, forces gather to claim the treasure beneath the Lonely Mountain, goblins, men, elves, dwarves, eagles – the five armies. How do the Geek Chocolate team react having viewed this first footage?
Wes May – I could literally live inside the Lord of the Rings universe for the rest of time. After this movie we’ll have damn near twenty hours worth of films to watch. I’m beyond excited for this third film in the Hobbit trilogy.
After The Desolation of Smaug amped up the volume a bit from the borderline sleepy first film , the prospect of another Peter Jackson directed war in Middle-Earth thrills me. Having never read The Hobbit, this is all new to me. The trailer really showcases the excitement and the stakes for the world at large. December can’t get here soon enough for this mega-fan.
Dario Persechino – Do we really need a trailer? Haven’t we already had six hours of trailer footage? This isn’t so much a new movie as it is the end of a film I started watching two years ago… just with really long commercial breaks.
It looks, as the others have, beautifully shot in Peter Jackson’s loving unrushed style of Sunday afternoon bladder challenging three hour epics. There will apparently be more Legolas crowbarred in, more Enya sounding music, and more CGI-tastic battles that will pit our heroes against enhanced versions of the books events. I am looking forward to it because it is more of the same, and that is not a bad thing. The trailer does not wow me with a sense of anything new, it just says lets finish this as we started, with style.
Michael Flett – “One day I’ll remember everything that happened, the good the bad…”
Well, the bad was stretching this to three damn films, and everyone outside the studio could see it, but all they wanted was another round of box office receipts. Whatever this film does achieve, the hardest task will be the enormous amount of resentment it already has to overcome.
The Desolation of Smaug was an improvement on An Unexpected Journey, but only by virtue of that having been so wretchedly structured and utterly tiresome, a whole hour devoted to the opening chapter, but even then the whole final forty minutes of The Desolation of Smaug, running around in the tunnels under Erebor, were utterly pointless.
The battle of Laketown should have been the climax, not the opening of The Battle of the Five Armies, and considering that Return of the King was by far the longest part of The Lord of the Rings with multiple endings, I dread to think what the runtime of this will be or how many last bows the cast will take.
It’s indulgence and greed, pure and simple, and it’s indefensible; there is nobody who can look at the first two films with an unbiased eye and say the additions to the text are justified to advance the story or make the film better, and even the most blindly generous among us wouldn’t presume to say these films at their best have approached the magnificent achievement of The Lord of the Rings. It’s padding, all of it.
This trailer is little more than a teaser of concerned looking faces and beautiful landscapes – and yes, it does look beautiful, the technical accomplishment has never been in doubt – but it looks exactly the same as the last six hours. Where is the story in here? Anything Peter Jackson was trying to create has been sullied by the demands of the studio to which he agreed, I can only presume to prevent them from just farming the project out to another director, of which there would have been many willing hands grabbing at the scraps. Can you imagine how awful if Brett Ratner or Stephen Sommers had stepped into the gap had Jackson walked?
I’m sorry, have I meandered off topic? Yeah, well I’m only following the example set by Warners, MGM and New Line. Yeah, we have more production partners to please, one of whom had very public financial troubles in the last decade. That couldn’t possibly had any effect on the purely artistic decision to split it into three, could it?
I’m also dubious about the veracity of the claim that this is “the defining chapter of the Middle-Earth saga.” How, exactly? Wouldn’t that be the defeat of Sauron, which we already saw in The Return of the King?
Becky Dillon – I stopped expecting the films to be anywhere close to the books some time ago, and decided to judge them purely on their relevance as film. But even that criteria leaves much to be desired in this last “defining chapter.”
Visually, the film should be quite arresting. Weta Design and Weta Digital do exceptional work, no matter what they have to work with, and with this piece being wholly dreamed up by the writers and production staff, they literally have carte blanche, as the much of the battle of the five armies isn’t actually described within the book, Bilbo having been knocked unconscious as the eagles of the Misty Mountains arrived to aid the free folk.
The actors, however, are not as lucky; having to spew mediocre dialogue whenever they aren’t being attacked by a long-dead adversary and his son and their minions. It’s almost as if they are thrown back into a battle scene whenever the action slows down and the viewers get bored with the tires
All this “action” will detract from the final battle, and its overall importance to the value of the original story – unless that, too, has been put aside.
Meanwhile – what’s with Billy Boyd’s singing in this trailer? Doesn’t the film have its own score yet or are they trying to subconsciously link it to The Return of the King, being the last great film Peter Jackson made? Or maybe its really not so good and PJ decided not to put it on the trailer for fear of losing viewers/listeners? I do hope that it is better than the last one.
Owen Williams – No, damn it, no! I will not be watching this film. The fact that people are excited about this film boggles my mind. It frustrates me that people know that they are getting fleeced with the Hobbit movies. They know that Jackson has taken an essentially thin story and padded it out to twelve hours, or whatever it ends up being. They know that the story does not deserve to be split into three epic length movies.
“Epic” used to mean “a lot of stuff happens” but now the Oxford English Dictionary is changing the definition to “arse-numbingly long”. The tendency to split single books into multiple parts may have started with The Deathly Hallows, and franchises like The Hunger Games may be doing it, but it is Jackson that has turned it into an art form.
I expect the term “Jacksoned” to become part of the lexicon of film making: The art of taking a slim source material and inflating it to gargantuan levels, as in “Yeah, dude, we totally Jacksoned We’re Going on a Bear Hunt – it’s now three hours long with a romantic sub-plot and a guest appearance by Legolas. Plenty of panning shots of the group trying to figure out how they’re gonna get to the other side of the river: they can’t go over it…”
The fact is, though, that I am in the minority. The audience know they’re getting ripped off and they’re happy for it to happen. This is the only way to explain how the first two films have managed to achieve a box office revenue of almost $2 billion. People keep paying to go and see these films.
To make matters worse The Hobbit was originally meant to be two films which Jackson then stretched to three. How did he manage this? The majority of The Battle of the Five Armies is footage originally shot for the first two films which Jackson re-cut, added a few scenes and voila, another movie.
It’s a bit like when you’re cooking tea for two on a budget and an unexpected guest turns up that you invite to stay. You re-portion but there wasn’t that much there to begin with, maybe chuck in a few extra ingredients and you have a third plate. In the end, however, it would have been a satisfying meal for one, adequate for two but a sad excuse when forced to feed three.
Adam Dworak – What can I say about new production of Peter Jackson that has not been said before in the last two years, about the greed of movie studios splitting one short novel into three movies with constant padding, ridiculous beards and musical numbers, variable acting…
On top of that The Battle of The Five Armies looks just awful – in my opinion it is not a movie anymore it is just a cartoon, an endless parade of CGI characters, landscapes, interiors, dragons and orcs – nothing feels real everything is plastic. The other day I rewatched Ridley Scott’s Legend, made in 1985 using entirely practical effects and after all those years it still looks fantastic. So it can be done, Mr Lucas – sorry, Mr Jackson.
The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies is scheduled for release on Friday 12th December