Looking back, was The Hobbit trilogy really such a great idea? An additional $2.9 billion in box office takings would certainly say yes, and there’s a whole lot of fans out there who got a real kick out of returning to Middle-earth, but there were just as many left crushingly disappointed by Peter Jackson’s second stab at the J.R.R. Tolkien mythology.
The high frame rate was a very poor decision in hindsight, one that’s since been rectified on the various home video and streaming releases, and the decision to stretch the slim source material into three epic blockbusters instead of two when Jackson was in the middle of production is directly responsible for the frequently sluggish pace. The reliance on CGI over practical effects was also incredibly detrimental to the levels of immersion, as the cast of characters ran around against obviously digital backdrops and poorly-rendered enemies.
Of course, there’s still plenty of enjoyment to be found, and the performances are all top notch across the board, with particularly high praise earned by Martin Freeman’s out of his depth Bilbo Baggins and Ian McKellen slipping back into the robes of Gandalf like he’d never been away, as well as a special mention for Benedict Cumberbatch evidently having a whale of a time chewing on the scenery as the voice and performance capture of Smaug.
Netflix subscribers have been revisiting The Hobbit in their droves across the last few days, with all three installments among the 25 most-watched titles in the platform. Audiences have evidently decided to get through them one at a time instead of a nine-hour binge, though, with An Unexpected Journey currently sitting in seventh position, with The Desolation of Smaug in 20th and The Battle of the Five Armies just two places behind.