Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Just a Quickie Please: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Review

As a Tolkien fan, this review will hurt me far more than it will you.  And I am sure to definitively ruffle some Eagle feathers in the process.  To put it as gently but honestly as I can, compared to their LOTR predecessors all three of these films fall quite short.  First, and most obvious to everyone with a "halfling" of a brain, is that the material was simply stretched too thin.  When that occurs, naturally both quality of story and character suffers greatly.   For me, unlike the first trilogy, the characters never make a solid connection with the audience.  And the fault wasn't so much that the acting was sub-par.  Rather their on-screen counterparts just seemed to lack the same endearing qualities and affections, feeling almost stale, two-dimensional, strangely resembling the same experience I had while watching the Star Wars prequels.  Only Freeman stands out, wondrously salvaging his incarnation of Bilbo. While the normally remarkable McKellen's trademark Gandalf does the exact opposite, seeming barely lucid, almost bored.  Second, they just tried to hard with this final outing, throwing everything and the kitchen sink into its matrix,   More time and energy was spent on the battle sequences than anything else.  That would make sense based on the title, however, the CGI is so heavy, that the action blends together, sacrificing clarity for massive quantity.  Thereby making it difficult to discern and appreciate the sweep and scope of the scenes.  Lastly, Smaug unmistakably gets the fuzzy end of the lollipop when it comes to his big scene.  I will say no more to avoid spoilers, but if you don't walk away disappointed, you might be drinking too much of the Jackson Kool-Aid. In the end, the entirety of the feature simply felt forced.  As if it was something that had to be done, going for broke, as opposed to the patience, passion, and energy of the Rings series.   Add into that an over abuse of slow mo' strikes and kills, an almost silly amount of bad guy pauses before they get their comeuppance, and absolute overuse of the "gotta kill the baddies three times cliche," and what you end up with is a discouraging, disheartening farewell to Middle Earth on the silver screen.  2 out of 3 Kernels: I know, the truth sometimes hurts but this one truly Stings!!!!  

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