The Problem With The Battle of Five Armies   YouTube.jpeg

A featurette from the extended edition of The Hobbit The Battle of the Five Armies has revealed what we suspected all along: Peter Jackson by his own admission didn’t know what the hell he was doing during the making of the bloated Hobbit trilogy.

In a shockingly candid piece, enlivened by awesome Kiwi accents, the filmmakers reveal that because of Guillermo del Toro’s sudden departure from the production, Jackson jumped in with not enough time to prep. Unlike the three and a half YEARS they took to make the Lord of the Rings films, Jackson had basically…no time. “I started shooting the movie without doing any prep at all,” he says. Actor Jed Brophy concurs. “We were still finishing Tintin and with little or no preparation we jumped into The Hobbit.” There was no time to polish the script r get it to the place it needed to be, as if we needed to tell you that.

Jackson appears in the featurette on the set with an immense coffee cup grafted to his hand, just winging a $745 million production , but looking dull and depressed, and obviously putting back on all the weight he lost as the shoot progresses.

“I spent so much of the Hobbit feeling I was not on top of it and making it up as I was going along,” Jackson says, stating the obvious.

But when the huge set piece of the Battle of the Five Armies started shooting he realized he needed time to figure out what the hell was happening. “I couldn’t wing it really. I did need to know what I was doing and have a plan. “Nothing had been formulated at all. I didn’t know what the hell I was doing.”
The production was forced to shut down for a year and the third Hobbit movie was pushed back form a summer to a holiday release in 2014.

While this story basically confirms every worst fear we had about the bloated, lifeless trilogy that was The Hobbit, it does make me have more sympathy for Jackson and more respect for the hugely talented filmmakers. The Hobbit movies aren’t entirely unwatchable, just really, really, disappointing and phony. But they don’t look quite like they were shot on the fly…just that the imagination that sparked the original trilogy had been stretched very very thin, like too little butter over too much bread.


  1. “Peter Jackson admits he didn’t know what he was doing on the Hobbit movies”

    The godawful quality of those films makes that clear. But I know from experience that Jackson has a horde of fanboys who think he can do no wrong (as long as he’s not making “chick flicks” like The Lovely Bones, which was flawed but still a million times better than the Hobbit trilogy).

  2. Eric, apparently expanding the Hobbit movies from 2 to 3 movies was Peter Jackson’s idea which he pitched to the studio. However, the fact that this decision was done in the middle of the production of the first movie, shows once again how little was thought out ahead of time.

  3. On top of it, they had to shoot it in 60 fps, which looks just terrible on film. So glad that higher frame rates never took off. I want my movies to look like movies, thanks.

  4. Seriously?! I don’t understand why people don’t enjoy the Hobbit. Yes, it’s not as good as LoTR but nothing was going to be regardless of how much prep time there was.

  5. I gotta say, all told this makes me respect Peter Jackson all the more. I don’t know if anyone could have foreseen the problems that kept the $745M production stalled at the outset – leading Del Toro to leave – but he certainly didn’t. And once faced with Del Toro’s departure, there was no way he could have asked for more time without further costs and massive risk, to both the studio and to himself. It even makes me all the more frustrated by Del Toro’s decision to leave, but yeah, no one’s the bad guy in this scenario – not Del Toro, not the studio that had invested a lot of bank, and not Jackson. The circumstances really screwed with this one.

    If a less skilled filmmaker had been at the helm in a scenario with that insane amount of pressure, I sincerely doubt the movies would have been appealing enough to make back that entire bloated budget by halfway through the 2nd movie’s gross (they did about 950M-1B each). Seriously, kudos to Jackson, as when I say “less skilled filmmaker”, I do include a number of the great filmmakers today in that count. This was just a different animal of a situation altogether.

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