Friday, January 2, 2015

The Last Goodbye: My Response to The Hobbit's Final Movie

Where Watch and download The Hobbit (2014) Full Movie  The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies 2014Let's be clear: I am not writing a review of The Battle of the Five Armies. I saw it in theaters last Tuesday and didn't desire to review it. Instead, I'm writing this article in response to the WORLD magazine article in their most recent issue.

If you're a WORLD reader and also happen to be a fan of J.R.R. Tolkien's books being adapted to the big screen, it'll be no secret that WORLD has overtly criticized Peter Jackson since the first Hobbit debuted two years ago. As a disclaimer, I want to tell you that WORLD is a wonderful magazine with a Biblical perspective, but also that recently I've been disappointed with their movie reviews. For example, their review of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 was hardly more than a synopsis, yet they felt it necessary to say nothing but bad things about The Battle of the Five Armies. As an example, “Now that they have drawn to a close, it will be hard for even director Peter Jackson’s most die-hard fans to look back on his sprawling Hobbit prequels with real affection” (Basham). What? I'm not a die-hard fan of Peter Jackson. I wasn't all that impressed with his adaptations of The Lord of the Rings, to be honest, particularly The Two Towers. In fact, laid side by side, I might even tell you I like The Hobbit trilogy better. But I am a die-hard fan of J.R.R. Tolkien, so I should be even more upset by Jackson's adaptations, right?


See, Jackson has stated before that his desire with The Hobbit was to create the movie out of the book he thought Tolkien wanted to write. That sounds a little hogwash-y from the start, but let me tell you something. If you're a serious writer, you'll know the trouble than can be caused with plot holes and how much logic is required to fix them satisfactorily. To me that's what Jackson did with the movies. At the beginning of The Hobbit book, it's mentioned that Azog the goblin died years and years ago. BUT at the end the goblins and orcs still want to exact revenge on the Lonely Mountain. Think about that -- sure, goblins and orcs love treasure and all that, but it makes it more logical to revive Azog and give him a hardcore reason to hate Thorin Oakenshield so that the Battle of the Five Armies makes a little more sense. Don't think I'm necessarily condoning Jackson's resurrecting of Azog, but I do think he's right on one point: if Tolkien had written The Hobbit in the same mood/adult level as The Lord of the Rings, he probably would have done something similar.

Also, take a break from the bookish perspective and instead think on the cinematic level. Ten years ago (well, more than that now) Jackson ended The Lord of the Rings trilogy with a flourish. The trilogy won multiple Academy Awards and everyone loved it. Then he decided to make The Hobbit. And do you really think he would have gone without criticism if he'd made this prequel a children's film? Really? No. No matter what he did, he would have been criticized for it. He had to try to equal the level of The Lord of the Rings for the satisfaction of the public. But as the old saying goes, when trying to please everybody, he ended up pleasing nobody.

Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins. I LOVE him in Sherlock, I'm sure he will do an absolutely fantastic job as BilboTo me, this trilogy has been absolutely beautiful because of the sheer magnificence of it all. Cinematography, costuming, makeup, CGI -- it was all brilliant. And because he split it into three movies, Jackson was able to go into tremendous detail. Remember at the beginning of An Unexpected Journey when Bilbo is trying to write down the history of Dale for Frodo? I adore that segment because it's a history lesson of Middle-earth. If Jackson had tried to cram all that into one movie . . . you think he'd be able to do it? Sorry, no. Besides which there has to be focus on the connections The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings share -- the White Council's defeat of the Necromancer/Sauron, Bilbo's finding of the One Ring, his decision to spare Gollum's life which consequentially ended in the death of Sauron, and his growing fondness of the Ring itself. All that takes time to show in detail. Plus Jackson was able to deeply characterize people like Thorin, who, yes, was “blustery, elderly, often buffoonish” in the books, but still had a greed problem (Bashan). And Bilbo as well, whom we see transform from a frightened, unadventurous Baggins into a courageous Took. 

Sure there's that one storyline of Tauriel and Kili that shouldn't have been added at all. I highly doubt Tolkien would have written a Dwarf-Elf romantic relationship -- to me it doesn't make sense because at the beginning of The Lord of the Rings trilogy Legolas and Gimli do not get along, and if Legolas had really witnessed Tauriel's love for Kili, my thought is he would be easier on Gimli when they first met. But other than that, I'd say Peter Jackson did a darned fine job with what he had, and I really wish more people could believe that.

Bashan, Megan. “Tolkien take away.” Pub. 19 December, 2014. Web. 2 January, 2015.  

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