Tolkien Geek’s Review of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Heading into the theater I was a little disconcerted by the mixed reviews of this last installment in the Hobbit series from both critics and fans alike. I suppose a lot of one’s appreciation for (or lack thereof) this grandiose cinematic interpretation of such a small but beloved book depends primarily on the expectations that are brought to it. Personally, from the outset I’ve been very happy with what Peter Jackson and company have presented. And I know that I’m probably considered very much to be a Jackson homer/fanboy, blind to the mistakes, imperfections and downright presumptive liberties taken in the execution of turning “The Hobbit” from written word to visual media.

A 1901 Version of “A Christmas Carol”

Via mental_floss:

Scrooge, or, Marley’s Ghost, a silent film from 1901, is the earliest known film adaptation of Charles Dickens’ 1843 A Christmas Carol. Produced by the English movie pioneer R.W. Paul, the film is based more on J.C Buckstone‘s 1901 stage adaptation Scrooge than on Dickens‘ original story. Like in the play, the silver screen Scrooge is shown the error of his miserly ways all by the ghost of his deceased business partner, Jacob Marley—played surprisingly convincingly by a man in a sheet.

Probably worth four minutes of your day.

Monsters of Africa

Courtesy of CNN, of all places.

[P]erhaps no continent has more history of folkloric myths, monsters and demons than Africa.

This is where the human story began, after all, and it remains home to tales of giant reptiles, lost plesiosaurs and snakes with the head of an elephant!

Yet few of these creatures are as well known as the Loch Ness Monster or the ape-men type creatures of the mountains in Asia and the U.S..

To set the record straight, we decided to highlight ten examples of African legends that can compare to anything the Scottish lochs or peaks Himalayas has to offer.

Totally Not a Course on Bigfoot

Via the Idaho State Journal:

In the upcoming semester, Idaho State University professor Jeff Meldrum will be teaching an experimental course titled The Relict Hominoid Inquiry. Part of that inquiry will address scientific theories on Bigfoot, alongside other links in the human evolutionary chain.

“It’s not a course about Bigfoot,” Meldrum said. “What I’m trying to do is address a shift in perception that’s been gaining traction in the anthropological community.”

That shift involves looking at human evolution as a tree in which scientists are discovering new branches all the time.

“Each year it seems like there are more discoveries,” Meldrum said. “The phylogeny is becoming bushier and bushier.”

The theory is that offshoots of human evolution are recent and could still exist, roaming the earth undiscovered. Therein lies the course’s connection to Bigfoot. Discussion about the Yeti is also referenced in the course syllabus.

Annalee Newitz’s Review of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Here’s how it starts:

Remember when Peter Jackson announced he was splitting J.R.R. Tolkien’s slim volume The Hobbit into three movies? Even with Jackson’s OCD attention to detail, that seemed too much — and the entire internet worried that it would be all bloat and no heart. Well, the internet was right, at least about the third movie.

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies has none of the character-building moments, nor the sense of grim forboding, that made The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug the best of this trilogy. Like The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, it’s incredibly uneven, often pointless, and full of fight scenes that lack any sense of gravitas because they are so emotionally decontextualized. Ultimately the problem here isn’t the acting or directing. It’s quite simply one of the most clearcut cases I’ve ever seen of a trilogy that failed because it should have been a single movie.

Personally, I’m holding out for a fan-edit that pares the whole thing down to the single movie it should have been from the beginning.