Everybody get your popcorn and sit down 'cause I'm gonna tell you all a long story.
I LOVE the Lord of the Rings trilogy, all three films easily deserve their tied place as my number one favorite film of all time. The Writing is Perfect, the Acting is Perfect, the Practical effects and Makeup are Perfect, the Casting is Perfect, the Computer effects are Perfect, the Directing is Perfect, Everything about these films are perfect!
More than that, let me tell you about when these films came out in relation to my childhood. Fellowship of the Ring was released shortly after 9/11, I was only in the second grade at the time and didn't really understand what was going on the world, or why everyone was so scared. My parents were big time fans of the books, so when Fellowship of the Ring came out on DVD, they got it instantly and watched it and rewatched it a few times while I just did whatever. Finally, one day while I was just playing with my Legos and Bionicles in the dining room when my parents say that they're going to watch Fellowship of the Ring again, and asked me if I wanted to join. I begrudgingly said "yeah, I guess I'll watch your guys's boring grown-up movie." at the end, I was hooked. I was wondering when the sequel would come out, saying who my favorite characters were, asking my parents if they saw that one scene where that awesome thing happened, and asking all sorts of other questions.
The Two Towers came out and we were hyped; me, my parents, and my younger sister (sorry, forgot to mention that she existed). I couldn't wait to see Gollum in action, seeing as how he was only eluded to in Fellowship, and my parents told me that he played a major part in Two Towers. I was abso-frikkin-lutely blown away by Gollum, and my investment in the franchise deepened tenfold! Gollum became my favorite character, and later on Andy Serkis would become my favorite Actor.
By the time Return of the King was nearing release date, the hype levels for me and my family were a thousand times what they were when I heard that Bionicle was being brought back in 2015. Now we never saw Fellowship or Two Towers in theaters, don't ask me why I was only a kid at the time. But I was a very stringent kid when it came to keeping on a timeline and I never I repeat NEVER did anything that wasn't planned out. However, when my parents simply offhandedly asked if I wanted to go see Return of the King in theaters one night, out of the blue, I said yes. These movies were so good, they could make me break my normal routines and just be accepting of spontaneity.
My family bought all of the special extended edition box sets for each film, and the LORD said it was very good. But my happiness was not to last... for from the shadows of Mordor, among fires of Mount Doom: a new evil was sprung upon me without warning. Middle School. Now maybe your experience was different, but my Middle School was a seething hellhole, I. had. no. friends. No one to talk to, no one to talk to or sit with during lunch time, it was a bleak and depressing three years. But there was hope to be found, even in such a dark time as that. The Extended Trilogy offered a unique escape from my accursed prepubescent socially awkward existence. Those films helped me get through Middle School, because while everything else that occurred in that time I associate with the evil and pain of the public school system, Those three films are among the few things that have a good connotation to them, because those films mean: the entire family gathers, has a wonderful night, and we are all happier as a result. Without fail, everyone in my family loves these movies and it brings us together.
Fast forward a few years to the cancellation of Bionicle and I am half about ready to look for colleges and declare a major. Considering my natural love of movies, I of course chose a Vid/Film major. And so it was that I began to learn the art of Filmmaking: the do's and don'ts, the ins and outs, how difficult it is to complete even a student film project. Now of all times do I choose to finally watch the Appendices on the Extended Editions and BY MATA NUI'S MASK I watched all ten plus hours of content and learned exactly how they made those movies. And so the amount of Love and Respect I had for the trilogy increased exponentially. Before, I had merely liked them for the action, the entertainment value, I likened them to Michael Bay's Transformers (I was young and foolish). But naturally, I did not watch Transformers and it did not stick with me at all. NOW I liked the Lord of the Rings Trilogy for different reasons, I had matured in my understanding. Now I liked them because I could comprehend how well-made they were. I could recognize and pick out the cast and the director by name, whereas before I was simply blindly enjoying these nameless entertainers. I have thought critically about these films and put them under a Film Student's microscope, and they still stand up taller and higher than the Argonath.
Jump forward to 2012. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey releases in theaters. I saw it and it was, okay. I still had high hopes Jump forward to 2013. I go to see The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug in 3D, on the biggest screen in the most expensive theater I can access. The. Biggest. F****** letdown of my life. The word "hate" gets thrown around loosely a lot, but I do hate Desolation of Smaug with all of my being. In the most base sense of the word, I hate Desolation of Smaug as much as a thing can be hated. I am not joking. It was not entertaining, and it was not well-made. I could tell how horridly bad this movie would be just by the opening scene alone. Allow me to "summarize" my thoughts on "Desolation:"
The movie jumps the shark in the first act with the barrel chase scene and it's mostly downhill from there. There's pointless retreads back to the LOTR movies what with Thranduil forbidding Tauriel to marry Legolas and using the exact line Elrond spoke to Aragorn. To many characters quote LOTR in this movie, and there are way to many references and retreads and pandering. Kili gets shot with a Morgul arrow(I thought there were only Morgul blades wielded by the Nazgul, how did these orcs get Morgul metal for the arrowheads? maybe it's explained in the expanded universe.) So they get to retread what happened to Frodo. But they add in a pointless love triangle between Kili, Tauriel and Legolas. STOP PUTTING LOVE TRIANGLES INTO MOVIES WHERE THEY DON'T BELONG! The addition of Legolas and his girlfriend into this movie added nothing of positive worth. The pointless fight scene between Legolas and Bolg in Laketown is a needless retread of the fightscene between Aragorn and Lurtz in Fellowship of the Ring, and it makes no sense. Why aren't the townspeople reacting? Where are the town guards? Why does Bolg just run off after the fight scene? What was accomplished? Beorn the skin-changer was underused, either give him more screentime or cut him out entirely. Don't have the actor who plays Bard look so similar to Orlando Bloom.
Did I mention that there are little to no practical effects in these movies? There is no make-up, no costumes for the orcs or goblins, it is all CGI and it is painfully obvious that it is CGI whereas LOTR had CGI that was expertly covered up. What's with the step backwards?
And then there's even more pandering and retreading. Sweet Illuvatar above the pandering and retreading. They spend too much time in this movie referencing and reminding us of the LOTR movies(protip, never remind your audience of much better movies they could be watching!)so they never let the movie develop on its own. WE KNOW THAT THE HOBBIT IS SET IN THE SAME UNIVERSE AS LOTR. STOP INSULTING OUR INTELLIGENCE!
The movie should have ended after the dwarves open the door to Erebor. It would have been the perfect climax to end on. Instead, the real ending was anticlimactic and felt like an embarrassment. Smaug's voice was good, but he had way too many times when Bilbo was wide out in the open, in plain view(without his ring on)and Smaug opted to monolouge instead of roasting him. I get what they were trying to do with the dwarves trying to drown Smaug in his own gold, but I'm confident in saying that everyone knows how Smaug dies, shot down by Bard the Bowman (not Bard the Bargeman.)
What's more the Black Arrow is supposed to be an actual arrow that Bard fires from his own bow, not some bolt that gets shot out of a ballista. The pointless changes what with the dwarves "not finding the keyhole and giving up hope" and trying to kill Smaug themselves did nothing to heighten suspense. We know that they're going to get into the mountain, and we know that Smaug is killed by Bard. And then there's just one problem I have with Smaug's design: He's a stupid two-legged dragon that has wings instead of arms. ENOUGH ALREADY WITH THE HIPSTER TWO-LEGGED DRAGONS, BRING BACK THE TRADITIONAL FOUR-LEGGED DRAGONS. They only part that I liked was the part that I thought going in I would hate: Gandalf in Dol Goldur.
I still refuse to see Battle of Five Armies. From what my trusted sources have told me, I will most definitely hate it. My sister saw it and described some of the stupidest parts to me, I commend her for sitting through it, but for me the pain is still too near. Aerated the last point. THE EAGLES! They never explain the Eagles! Ever! In the book The Hobbit it takes one small paragraph to explain how Gandalf and the Eagles know each other! Is that too much to adapt into Film? Huh? How about No!
If you enjoy the Hobbit movies, I have nothing against you. I just expected these movies to be like LOTR without ripping off LOTR, but they're not. I'm sorry this is so long, I just have so much respect for the LOTR movies, and The Hobbit is the only Tolkien Book that I have ever read.