The teaser trailer for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies was released this week and has sped its way through the Tolkien fan digital community. You can check out the footnote conversation at A Tolkienest Perspective, or some thoughts about film adaptation at The Oddest Inkling.
My review of the first film was called, “Not All Adventures Begin Well“–I think it’s pretty obvious how I felt. My review for The Desolation of Smaug was more reflective, considering why it is that Peter Jackson’s adaptations swing so wide of the mark. I argued there that in turning a fairy tale into an epic, he captured all the adventure and psychology and violence that is missing in the fairy tale, and missed all the mythic elements that are essential for an epic. In short, the films fell between two stools.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I loved watching the movies. I relished in lining up with friends, sitting next to people with incredibly hairy feet, feasting on the screen, and then arguing about it afterward. I think they were pretty good films. But they were very flawed as adaptations.
And that is exactly why I have hope for the third film. C.S. Lewis noted in his earliest reviews of The Hobbit that it began in fairy tale, but took on a darker tone by the end. The Hobbit grows into the genre of epic, trying it on at the end with global warfare, new allegiances, great deeds, prophecy fulfilled, and the heat of Smaug.
Perhaps I should be wiser, and temper my hope. Once bitten, thrice shy, after all. But Jackson is a genius at the epic, and the Lord of the Rings Trilogy forged in me new expectations of what film-making and writing epic fantasy could be like.
So here is the teaser trailer for The Battle of Five Armies. I hope you enjoy, and do let me know what you think in the comments below, or share your thoughts on twitter (I’m @BrentonDana).