The Hobbit review: One last slog through Middle Earth

Sorry Peter Jackson, but we’re all Orc’d out - Battle of the Five Armies is both way too much and not nearly enough

Film Title: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Director: Peter Jackson

Starring: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Evangeline Lilly, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ken Stott

Genre: Fantasy

Running Time: 144 min

Thu, Dec 11, 2014, 16:16


We’re some 888 minutes into Peter Jackson’s ongoing Middle Earth sequence – 1,031 if you add up “extra footage” and “special editions” – and enough is enough.

Enough Hobbitting. Enough CG Orcs. Enough CG elves. Enough CG dwarves. Enough CG. Enough stalling, even in combat. Enough grey filter. Enough sub-Wagnerian warbling. Enough wasting Benedict Cumberbatch.

Enough reports of mistreated animals. Enough with the Dickensian-sized cast that we can hardly keep track off and who are mostly glimpsed only fleetingly. Enough with the tacked-on feminist heroines who, however well-intentioned, never feel organic to the material. Enough Cate Blanchett doing her “how now brown cow” vowels. Enough seemingly endless battle sequences. Enough last-minute eagles. Enough deferrals.

Enough cash: sneaky Hobbitses movies have grossed $1,975,370,425 to date. Enough jittery Imax Digital Media Remastering at a high frame rate: what do you mean we have to pay extra?

Enough with the mere sight of gold turning previously sound-as-a-pound characters into gibbering psychopaths. Enough with the awful retro- con dialogue (“Sometimes a storm is just a storm”). Enough with putting the band back together: the extensive backstage guest list has been improbably extended to LOTR star Billy Boyd, who wrote and performed the track played over the closing credits.

Enough with giving us five minutes of swashbuckling Orlando Bloom in the hope that we won’t notice that nothing happened for the entire previous half hour. Enough side-lining of Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman). Enough seeing the family of Bard the Bowman (Luke Evans) lurking inexplicably in the background of every other shot. Enough switching protagonists. Enough padding.

Enough British character actors. Enough transforming a banging little tale of derring-do into a distressing account of post-traumatic stress disorder. Enough shoehorning and stretching the material to make sure The Hobbit 3 functions primarily as a prequel to LOTR – get ready for the 2,000- minute Blu-ray cut.

That’s really quite enough, thank you.

What do you mean there’s still another hour to go?