All of Peter Jackson’s Middle-Earth movies have pushed the boundaries of the PG-13 rating, but it looks like the extended edition of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies may be the Halfling that breaks the Oliphaunt’s back. It seems that the longer version of the trilogy capper, which is returning to theaters this October, has been slapped with an R-rating by the MPAA.
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Remember the Hobbit movies? Your butt certainly does. Although they weren’t as long as the Lord of the Rings movies, Peter Jackson’s second series of films set in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-Earth felt much longer. Each film could have stood to lose at least 30 minutes from its running time. Heck, the trilogy should’ve been two movies but that’s a conversation for another day. The point is that these already long movies have extended cuts and these extended cuts are returning to theaters this October.
Forged in the fires of Mount Doom, the Ring of Power was stripped from the hand of Sauron following the final battle with the Last Alliance and became of a keepsake of Prince Isildur. Now corrupted by the One Ring, Isildur fell in battle, losing the ring to the river. From there, “Isildur’s Bane” fell into the hands of the creature known as Gollum and from there, into the hands of the Hobbit known as Bilbo Baggins. It was only through the efforts of the Fellowship of the Ring and the brave Frodo Baggins that the One Ring was destroyed forever ... or so we thought. Because the ring has fallen into the hands of a young Texas boy, who was suspended from school for wielding such an accursed tool.
After the jam-packed month of December, with its huge family-friendly blockbusters and awards season Oscar bait, we have arrived in the month of January. Formerly a dumping ground for mediocre films, the month has taken on a new identity in the past few years as a testing ground for unique genre films (think ‘Cloverfield’) and a solid place to release a horror movie, which seems to do quite well right around New Year’s for whatever reason. This year, we have ‘The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death,’ which had a fairly solid opening. Not solid enough to topple the Christmas Week champions, but no one is complaining too much.
As expected, ‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’ won the weekend, but a quick examination of the actual numbers makes this victory feel just a little hollow. The same goes for ‘Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb’ and ‘Annie,’ both of which took second and third place without putting forward particularly impressive numbers. Yep, the holiday box office looked just a little rough this weekend.
There seem to be two paths for monumentally popular pieces of art and entertainment once the initial excitement around them begins to wear off. Either they become a cultural touchstone, and become a part of the fabric of everyday communication, or they become a footnote, a piece of trivia relevant only as nostalgia and an occasional answer at bar trivia. I revisit Peter Jackson’s ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy every few years, because I desperately want it to be the former and not the latter.
Since few guest hosts do ‘SNL’ unless they have something new and/or exciting to promote, it was inevitable that the show would do something tied into ‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’ when Martin Freeman joined the cast for a week. However, the end result was unexpected, endearing, and probably only meant to be fully appreciated by a small portion of the viewing audience: they sent ‘The Office’ to Middle-Earth.
Both ‘The Colbert Report’ and ‘The Hobbit’ franchises will come to an end in the next few weeks, and given Stephen Colbert’s unabashed love for all things Tolkien, we’ve seen a great deal of cross-promotion. The latest might be the most impressive yet however, as Colbert interviews none other than the dragon Smaug himself, live on the set!
Having gone on an unexpected journey and endured the desolation of Smaug, Peter Jackson’s bloated adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s ‘The Hobbit’ finally comes to ‘The Battle of the Five Armies,’ which is less of a climax to this trilogy than a distended epilogue. After spending two movies and 330 minutes building up the dragon Smaug (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch) as the ultimate antagonist, he’s eliminated from the story completely in the first ten minutes. He’s literally gone before the title appears onscreen.
This past weekend's latest 'SNL' with three-time host James Franco didn't quite bring anything new to the table, but will the series have better luck with fresh blood from Martin Freeman? The first promos for the 'Sherlock' star's guest turn have arrived, and don't worry, there's plenty of 'Hobbit' references and British-isms for everyone.