I finally got around to seeing the third movie in the Hobbit movie trilogy. Since it is way too late to give my review of that movie, I thought I would give my thoughts on the entire Hobbit movie trilogy.
Where to begin?
I guess I should start with the way people should (but don’t) judge the movie, as movies by themselves disconnected from any other context.
The three movies (what were their names again?) were fun movies. There were lots of action scenes. They had some terrific actors as the dwarves. Martin Freeman was great as Bilbo (although a little too similar to John Watson) and how did Benedict Cumberbatch get both Smaug and Sauron? Speaking of Smaug, I loved the way they did this dragon. This was one place where the CGI shone. I can’t believe I’m saying this but my main complaint about the movies is that the battle scenes were too long. What I mean by that were the one-on-one battle scenes rather than the pitched army battles. They got a bit boring. I would have liked to have seen them shortened and some more time of Beorn ripping apart orcs and trolls (just my opinion).
How do the movies do in the context of being the prequels of the Lord of the Rings movies? The Hobbit movies were filmed as if it was just as epic of a story as the Lord of the Rings but it is not the same kind of story. It felt like Peter Jackson tried to force the Hobbit into being the Lord of the Rings. Another criticism that may seem small, but really bugged me, was the way the orcs were portrayed. I really liked the small but mean orcs of the Lord of the Rings movies. They were created with makeup rather than CGI. The orcs of the Hobbit did not look like the Lord of the Rings orcs because of the overemphasis of CGI. Not only did I not like the look of them, they were too big. At times it was hard to know who was an orc and who was a troll. One of the problems with this is that in the Lord of the Rings, it was a major event that Saruman did something big by breeding a man-sized orc, as they had always been small before. If the orcs were already the size they were in the Hobbit, Saruman would not have to do anything.
How did the Hobbit movie do in the context of the Hobbit book? I enjoyed the movies as movies by themselves rather than as film versions of the book. The movies had none of the charm of the book. I would have preferred one movie that really attempted to adapt the book rather than try to force it into the Lord of the RIngs movie mould. This trilogy should be described as “Inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien’s the Hobbit.” This does not mean that the Hobbit trilogy were bad movies, it just means that we are still waiting for a film version of the Hobbit book.
None of this is meant as condemnation of the movies. My hope is that people who see the movies will be motivated to read the book. This was the same hope that I had for the Lord of the Rings movies.