Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

'Hobbit' Finale Forgets the Core Story; Movie Review; Bilbo and the Boys Play Second Fiddle to On-Screen Computer-Generated Slaughter

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

'Hobbit' Finale Forgets the Core Story; Movie Review; Bilbo and the Boys Play Second Fiddle to On-Screen Computer-Generated Slaughter

Article excerpt

Maybe it's a side effect of the Longbottom Leaf that wafted across the parking lot, but I can scarcely remember a thing about this third "Hobbit" movie. The title provokes dim recollections that it involved an apocalyptic war between five forces, and I seem to recall a reappearance by that dragon from movie No. 2. But what happened to the dwarves who had a food fight in the first movie, and the magical ring and that Bilbo fellow?

Director Peter Jackson has spent this entire century adapting books by medievalist J.R.R. Tolkien. Between the "Lord of the Rings" and "Hobbit" series, Jackson has conjured six blockbuster movies comprising about 18 hours of footage and untold thousands of colorfully costumed characters. For his farewell to Middle-earth, Jackson goes out with a bang. But since when is "The Hobbit" about bang? The original children's story is about a diminutive homebody named Bilbo Baggins, who has an adventure with some new friends. In Jackson's bid for bigness, he's squashed the little things that matter.

Compared to the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, "The Hobbit" is a small book. Yet Jackson and his investors have carved it into three bloody slices. So the final film has no logical starting point. It jumps right into the fire, with the dragon Smaug (voice of Benedict Cumberbatch) inflicting his fiery breath on the hapless humans of Lake-Town. Comparisons to the London Blitz of World War II are apt, and it's a dynamite scene of suffering and heroism. But remind me again: What does this have to do with our pint-size protagonists?

Somehow all this sound and fury is blowing toward a mountain of gold that is coveted by dwarf king Thorin (Richard Armitage). Arguing on the sidelines are the dwarves' frenemies, the flaxen- haired elves, including leader Thranduil (Lee Pace), resentful son Legolas (Orlando Bloom) and dwarf-loving floozy Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly). …

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