I intended for this review to focus on the films wizards, but alas Sarah Watt’s caustic review on Stuff has necessitated something of a reply. So the wizards will have to be patient.
The link to Sarah’s piece is at the bottom and in it you will find a distillation of the worst traits of a film reviewer. Reviews must be separated from a piece of criticism, which is an intellectual and academic exercise. Sarah demonstrated neither in her written squawk. And she ruined her own case in her second paragraph.
“…as the third film unfurled before my eyes and I couldn’t remember who was who, what they’d done or where they were headed, there was a dragon breathing fire over a city and suddenly everyone looked an awful lot like Actors Dressed up in Costumes on a Film Set and things went downhill from there.”
My point I hope is obvious. If you can’t summon the mental energy to recall the story of a trilogy which has been adapted from one of the best loved books of the 20th century, nor its characters, then I am afraid the problem is with you. It is annoying but everyone looking like ‘Actors Dressed up in Costumes on a Film Set’ is what you get whenever you watch a live action film. To be disappointed is to be absurd.
To say that the bottom falls out of the story as soon as Smaug is dispatched is to take issue with J. R. R. Tolkien himself, since that is how he wrote it. There is something very realistic and logical about the sudden destruction of a dragon leading to a violent struggle over its treasure trove.
Sadly I think that Sarah Watt didn’t have anything to write about Battle of the Five Armies except that it wasn’t her cup of tea. She then had to cobble together a truly bizarre array of complaints to fill out the column. Given the higher hit rate generated by negative articles her review no doubt will be read by thousands. What a tragedy to squander such an opportunity. Sarah should give up her column inches to a writer worthy of the job.