After all these years, I still have that little pain inside about what I think is one of the greatest missed opportunities (nay, crimes) in the history of film: that Guillermo del Toro did not get to direct the Hobbit due to all the delays in New Zealand over strikes (if I recall correctly), and so after two years of development he (and all his staff) packed up and moved on with their lives…. leaving Peter Jackson to take over the reins. That pain is right there next to those three jabbing pains inside that still feel a bit raw every time I get a reminder about how the films actually turned out overall. Just seeing a poster can set me off. (There are of course some nice set pieces in them here and there, but memory of them is rapidly erased by the overall wrong tone, silliness, and pandering to the need for pointless action sequences at the expense of common sense.) It’s old news now, but it still really hurts.
And it is nothing to do with the fact that when I was a teenager I decided that sometime late in my physics career I’d take some time out and direct the films of the Lord of the Rings, and then of course the Silmarillion (there’s still a chance there for me – and it is the crowning work after all). It isn’t to do with this since (a) I never wanted to direct the Hobbit, and (b) Jackson’s TLOR trilogy, even though I disagree with a few choices here and there, is actually a splendid piece of work because they are a selective adaptation of some of the ideas and themes of the books without trying to be the books…. also (c) I’m quite busy being a physicist still, so I guess it’s ok for others to have a go.
Anyway, why am I bringing this up? Because I’ve been meaning to share with you the brilliant rant/howl/post by Anne over on that wonderful site Pornokitch (I’ve told you about it before – don’t worry about the name) about the utter shambles that is The Battle of the Five Armies. It is such a delight to read, multiple times, (I find myself yelling YES! YES! EXACTLY! a lot), that it almost – but not quite – makes three of the hurts go away. (It’s full of spoilers, btw.) Here’s an extract:
[Tauriel] weeps over his body; Thranduil appears; she asks why it hurts so much; he intones ‘because it was real.’ No, Tauriel; it hurts so much because you love The Hobbit and you loved Jackson’s Lord of the Rings and this adaptation of The Hobbit is such a terrible disappointment it makes you wonder if the Lord of the Ring films are actually any good at all or if your entire nerd life for the last 15 years has been the unkillable skull-wearing orc swimming under the iced-over waterfall of inflated expectations and too-easily-impressed naiveté.
Read it all here (and her thoughtful analysis of the first two films are a click away from there), and feel free to share your pain in the comments*.
*It is also fine to disagree with me/Anne.