Saturday, December 20

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014)

Directed by Peter Jackson

I don’t have a whole lot to say about this movie that I haven’t said already in my reviews of the first two installments (An Unexpected Journey [LINK] and The Desolation of Smaug [LINK]).  Ultimately, for all its flaws, which are many, I loved this film.  For all its flaws, which are many, I love Peter Jackson’s vision of J. R. R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth and look forward to revisiting it from time to time.  It saddens me that there are no more new installments in the works despite a wealth of treasure that could be mined out of The Silmarillion.

As far as analysis of this last movie goes, I found an excellent review online that I’m going to let do the heavy lifting [LINK].  Among other perceptive insights, Steven D. Greydanus at National Catholic Register hones in on one of the things that for me, ultimately makes Jackson’s Hobbit a lesser “trilogy” than his Lord of the Rings:

I would have hoped that Jackson and company, who had been sensitive to Tolkien’s spiritually inflected language in the original trilogy (e.g., the ‘grey rain-curtain’ speech in Return of the King), might include either of The Hobbit’s most overt religious references: a dying character’s speech about going ‘to the halls of waiting to sit beside my fathers, until the world is renewed,’ and Bilbo and Gandalf’s parting exchange about prophecy and Providence in lived experience. No such luck. The former is simply omitted, while isolated phrases from the latter are clumsily reworked to avoid the spiritual resonances.” 

[EDIT:  A couple of days later I found another article by Greydanus that expanded on the theme:  LINK]

Nevertheless, perhaps because they are so much part the “Jackson Hobbit” at this point, most (not all) of the additions and interpolations worked for me, and in the end the necessary bridgework was laid toward the opening of The Fellowship of the Ring.  I am satisfied.


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