There’s no denying that Comic Con delivered the goods this past weekend. We got our first look at Wonder Woman, a surprise appearance from Christopher Nolan and Matthew McConaoughey with Interstellar footage, an epic Mad Max: Fury Road trailer, a panel with the full cast of Avengers: Age of Ultron, and an announcement from Quentin Tarantino, to name just a few of the highlights. On the final day, director Peter Jackson appeared with a new poster and trailer for The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies, both of which begged the question, does anyone even care any more?
When Jackson announced that he would be returning to direct The Hobbit and that it would feature a lot of the cast and talent that were part of the beloved Lord of the Rings trilogy, fans rejoiced. When it was announced the simple story would be told over three films, there was some trepidation, but audiences were still excited to return to Middle-earth. When it was revealed that these films would have running lengths comparable to those in the first trilogy, you either braced yourself for 10 more hours of hairy feet, pointy ears, and CGI as far as the eye can see, or if you were like me, you simply stopped caring.
If The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was second breakfast, then The Desolation of Smaug was brunch, and now we’re on second brunch with The Battle of Five Armies. As much as I love brunch, I can only take so much. The new trailer is certainly slick, but the film doesn’t look like it offers much that we haven’t already seen in the existing 16 hours of Jackson’s sprawling fantasy saga. The new films are playing out like the extremely geeky appendices that only the hardcore fans read. But if we’re to believe the poster, this last one will be “THE DEFINING CHAPTER.”
I haven’t heard anyone say they love these movies, or give them any kind of adulation close to what the first films received, yet the first two were highly profitable. In that sense, they’ve become like the Nickleback of films, no one wants to admit they like them, but someone’s buying tickets.
I went to see An Unexpected Journey on New Year’s Day with a hangover, so I can’t entirely blame the movie for my struggles to stay awake. When The Desolation of Smaug came out the following year, my friends suggested we see it on New Year’s Day again and make a tradition of it, I wasn’t prepared for this kind of commitment and nipped that tradition in the bud. The Desolation of Smaug was the first of the series that I did not see in the theatre, I did however watch it on blu-ray and will give it credit for being the first Lord of the Rings film that was better than the one preceding it.
Will I still see the final film? Probably. But this blatant overkill, whether it’s for money or love of the material, makes it very hard to get excited about new promo material like posters or trailers. What pose can Bilbo strike that makes me think this one will offer something more than the five previous films? What can Peter Jackson say in an interview that he hasn’t already said? He’s become like Nigel Tufnel in Spinal Tap saying “this one goes up to 11.” The guy at least deserves credit for maintaining his own enthusiasm all these years.