‘The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies’, Early Reviews Aren’t Promising

Dwight Wade - Author

Dec. 14 2014, Updated 7:18 a.m. ET

Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy is widely considered a cinematic masterpiece from beginning to end. While his follow-up movies for The Hobbit have certainly been successful, early reviews for the final film,The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, appear to show a franchise struggling to live up to its predecessor.

The Guradian’s Mike Kermode points out that the prequel trilogy was destined to be a let down from the cinematic heights of The Lord of the Rings, but still calls out Jackson for failing to take the chances he has in other films.

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“Fans of the first two Hobbit movies may not be disappointed by this final installment, which offers few departures from the formula of yore, but those who remember the risks Jackson took with Bad Taste, Braindead, Heavenly Creatures and even his reboot may find themselves wishing for more than just more of the same.”

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Kermode calls out The Battle of the Five Armies for focusing too much on long, draining exposition, and he even points out that the cinematic landscape brilliance of Jackson’s previous works seems tired now.

The Register’s Kat Hall takes Jackson and crew to task for a thin plot, but she heaps praise upon the team for fantastic CGI work. Hall notes her appreciation for the expected nods to the original trilogy, as well as the excellent work by the cast, but can’t get past the script.

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“There are a few pleasing nods to the Lord of the Rings here, both thematically and literally. I absolutely loved the spectacle of Smaug turning round to face the audience in 3D. And although the script itself leaves something to be desired, the likes of Ian Mckellen, Cate Blanchett and Ian Holm are all predictably fantastic.”

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However, while critics may not be all that thrilled with what they’ve seen, all that really matters is what audiences think. To that end, Forbes predicts another big money weekend with expected figures likely around $70-$75 million with a high of possibly $85 million for opening weekend. Long term, though, looks especially rosy for The Hobbit with Forbes projecting at least $660 million and up to $1 billion worldwide.

Even if the returns have diminished over the course of six films, that is a figure Jackson and company are likely to live with quite easily.

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies opens in the United States on December 17.


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