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Review of The Hobbit 3: Battle of the Five Armies

by Dr. Bob Hieronimus

21st Century Radio® on WCBM 680 AM Baltimore

December 11, 2014

I thought this movie was great! Even though I was left melancholy at the end, this being the final-final installment from this particular team of this particular story. This is why I thought it entirely appropriate for the film to end very sweetly and softly, rather than with a big bang, because for people like me, we are sad this is truly the end of our adventure into Tolkien’s Middle Earth through this particular lens. And what a ride it’s been!

I am still confused about which characters and scenes are new to this film version and were not in Tolkien’s book The Hobbit. And of course some parts were added from Tolkien’s later books, The Silmarillion and Annals of the Kings and Rulers (all of which I have read, believe it or not, thanks to the unabridged quality recordings of them from Recorded Books, Inc.), both with enough names and details to allow über-fans to really sink into the reality of this fantasy world.

But by this time, I’ve actually given up caring that I can’t remember what’s original to Tolkien and what came from Peter Jackson and crew. I’ll enjoy puzzling that out over the years to come as I perform my semi-annual ritual that started with Jackson’s release of “Lord of the Rings”. I enjoy re-reading all the books, and then watching all the movies on DVD and making a family-holiday marathon out of it. This year I’m going to be on the look out for that scene I just saw in “The Hobbit 3” where Galadriel single-handedly takes on Sauron and all nine ring wraiths. What a powerful scene! Well done! I sure don’t remember ever reading about that in a Tolkien book, but I loved every minute of it on the screen.

That’s probably because I’m the perfect audience for this film. I’m Tolkien-fan enough to do the above obsessive ritual, but I’m not obsessive enough in the minutia of Middle Earth as some fans are to be disappointed when things are changed for the big screen.  I especially love the seamless way Peter Jackson and crew have woven in strong female characters for the films, which is sorely lacking in the books. I’m also a big fan of action-adventure/sci-fi movies, so the special effects of all six of these movies are the real winner for me. Thanks to Richard Taylor and his Oscar-winning crew at WETA in New Zealand, the creatures, costumes, make-up, prosthetics, and so much more (most of what they do I honestly don’t understand), every one of their Tolkien films is completely realistic and swashbucklingly real. They thoroughly stand up to repeat viewings and close scrutiny because the layers of detail are so rich that you miss most of the finer points on the first round.

Bravo Peter Jackson, WETA and Richard Taylor, and everyone else involved in bringing this magic to life. Thank you for this most realistic, and super fun romp through Hobbit 3: Battle of the Five Armies.

Listen LIVE on 12/28/14 SUNDAY 8-10 PM Eastern

Host: Dr. Bob Hieronimus, Ph.D.

GUEST ONE 8:00-8:30 PM Eastern

Sir Richard Taylor

Oscar-winning special effects genius behind the Lord of the Rings, previews the final installment of “The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies”. Plus the Thunderbirds Are Go!