“THE HOBBIT: BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES” My rating: C (Opens wide on Dec. 17)
144 minutes | MPAA rating: PG-13
I am so over Peter Jackson’s Tolkein obsession.
It’s not that “The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies” is incompetent filmmaking. Rather, it’s empty filmmaking.
It’s got plenty of spectacle — beginning with a dragon and ending with an hour of uninterrupted combat — but it seems not to be inhabited. The characters are paper thin, and even those with whom we’ve developed some an affinity aren’t on the screen enough for genuine emotions to emerge.
Maybe this is what comes of taking a simple children’s adventure and ballooning it into a 9-hour trilogy.
Perhaps Jackson long ago emptied his quiver of tricks and is now reduced to repeating himself.
And the stuff that once wowed us — the CG that made the original Ring Trilogy such a technological marvel — now seems rather old hat. So many of the effects on display here look patently artificial rather than real.
For hardcore fans, of course, none of this matters. Having invested at least 15 hours in the first five Tolkein-inspired films, they’re not about to bail on the big conclusion. They’d probably stick around to watch Bilbo read from the White Pages.
Basically “Battle of the Five Armies” can be broken down into three segments.