The Hobbit 3: A Very Short Review

by Brenda W. Clough

The_Hobbit_-_The_Battle_of_the_Five_ArmiesI’m a real fan of snappy, tight work. So I was annoyed by The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. This thing is at least an hour too long.

All the pernicious influences of modern cinema are fully on view here. Too much CGI (those armies, really?), too many theme-park ride moments, too many combats that are like video games. Coolnesses are set up (Bilbo’s acorn, the messy fate of Alfred) and never followed up on, the screen time instead sacrificed to portentous and ponderous conversations and tight facial close-ups of people emoting. They got involved in their fancy stuff and lost track off the heart and soul of the story. The viewer’s mind wanders off onto minor but irrepressible questions. Like how troops in massive armor holding long spears are completely walked over by a helmetless opposition wearing cloaks and carrying butter knives. My guess is that Orcs go to the same military academies as the Emperor Palpatine’s Storm Troopers. Or why the spectacularly picturesque roughness of the terrain has apparently no effect whatsoever upon troop movements.

Would it be better if one could sit down with parts 1, 2 and 3, and view them one right after the other? Possibly — at least then one would get a sense of the arc of the thing. Better is the idea that one fan has proffered, of taking all three and doing a Tolkien cut — dropping everything that was not actually in the original novel. That might get you a quite brisk film.

However! Life is long. This is not the first screen version of The Hobbit. With luck it won’t be the last. We have not yet seen the true, ultimate movie of this story.

The ebook version of my novel How Like a God is now available from Book View Cafe. And it is available now in an audio book edition which is read by Bronson Pinchot!

How Like a God, by Brenda W. CloughMy newest novel Speak to Our Desires is out from Book View Café.

I also have stories in Book View Café’s two steampunk anthologies, The Shadow Conspiracy and The Shadow Conspiracy II, as well as in BVC’s many other anthologies, including our latest, Beyond Grimm.




The Hobbit 3: A Very Short Review — 5 Comments

  1. I have a prose allergy to Tolkein–my eyes slide off the page unless I’m reading him aloud (I know. Terrible thing to admit, but you’re my friends, right? Don’t hate me). This is how I read The Hobbit: aloud, to my daughter. And sitting through the various Jackson movies I kept wondering where all the video-game stuff had come from.

    At least with the LOTR movies, I hadn’t read the books, so I could be blissfully ignorant of additions and extensions. Even then…

    • LOTR got me through law school. I re-read the entire series every semester during finals. I would pick up one of the books on a study break, usually starting at some favorite part of the story, and one thing led to another. The prose was marvelous when contrasted with legal materials.

      However, I re-read it in anticipation of the movies and can now understand your prose allergy. I found it hard slogging in places, and probably had less patience with the lack of women in the story. The LOTR movies, however, are reasonably accurate, except that there are too many battle scenes and not nearly enough ents. I enjoyed them.

      The Hobbit movies are more annoying, because they took a charming small story and made it into an action/video game extravaganza. Sigh.

  2. I foresee, with gloom, the theme park ride. It’ll be in Disney World or Six Flags or something like that, and be called something like MORIA THRILL RIDE.