As the old saying goes, “Hindsight is a wonderful thing.” It couldn’t be more true for Oscar Winning director, and personal hero of mine, Peter Jackson.
Almost a year after the final part of The Hobbit trilogy (The Battle of the Five Armies) was released in cinemas to an underwhelmed legion of Lord of the Rings fanatics, Martin Freeman fans and general movie goers, the director of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogies has revealed just how difficult making the sequel to his beloved movie trilogy was.
In a breathtaking admission of guilt in behind the scenes footage for the Extended Edition of third Hobbit film (find it here), the director has said that he simply wasn’t prepared to film the climactic battle sequences of The Battle of Five Armies. Citing 21 hour working days, a sudden illness which could have killed him and the sudden departure of original director Guillemo Del Toro, the behind the scene clip shows frantic preparations cancelled to allow for planning.
It’s fascinating how a simple fact like this can so suddenly change your opinion on a film. When The Battle of the Five Armies hit cinemas in 2014, I couldn’t have been less irritated by it. I thought the film was retreading the same ground as the Lord of the Rings trilogy; it even had the same comedic moments, similarities in speeches and huge CGI battle sequences. It left an extremely unpleasant taste in my mouth.
Today I find my faith somewhat restored in my Director hero, it wasn’t laziness or lack of inspiration which left The Hobbit as a wasted mess, no, it was simply that Mr Jackson took the reins because he knew no one else could have done it. Despite saying ten years or so before that he had no intention of making The Hobbit because he didn’t “want to spend a decade trying to improve on my own work”, he stepped in because jobs were on the line, a production company would have faltered and people’s work may have never even graced the screen.
It’s a bitter sweet taste in my mouth now, while I still feel that the whole Hobbit trilogy is largely a write off, I can’t help but think that Jackson did the honourable thing. There’s something very Tolkein-esque about a short bedraggled man rescuing a film on the brink despite knowing barely anything about how he’d go about it. Mr Jackson, Bilbo and Frodo would be proud.