Let me start by saying I like The Hobbit trilogy. Do they live up to my expectations for my favorite book of all time? Of course not. But I love the characters, the cast is spot on, and it’s a fun adventure I can appreciate as a separate entity from the book. That said, there are more than a few moments that made me go “Nope, that didn’t just happen.” Enough to make my own Crown Jewels list, it seems.
10. CGI (Cartoonish Giggle-worthy Images)
Don’t get me wrong; not all the CG in these movies is bad. Smaug is a masterpiece, and many of the other digital characters are really well done. But for every beautiful piece of computer graphics, there’s an effect that feels half-finished or unreal, whether it’s the backlit halo that tells us our characters are on a green screen, goblins straight out of a cartoon, or Legolas rendered in videogame-level graphics. It’s a step backward, not only in the LOTR universe, but in movies in general.
9. Legolas’s Contacts
It was the first thing I noticed when Legolas showed up on screen. Not his awesome moves, not his cool lines. His eyes. His distractingly, unrealistically blue eyes. It was less noticeable in the original series, probably because Orlando Bloom kept forgetting to put his contacts in, but here it’s like they filled his eyes with blue Gatorade. It’s not unearthly; it’s unnatural, and quite frankly I feel as though I’m getting stabbed every time he looks in my general direction.
8. Skinny Beorn
Read the book and you’ll see a rough and rugged mountain man with long black hair and beard and thick muscles, an imposing figure. Watch the movie and you’ll see a guy with a face like a porcupine after a bad haircut and arms scrawnier than Mike Teevee post-taffy pull. Maybe I’m nitpicking here, but the reality was so far from the expectation with Beorn, I wish he’d been left out with Tom Bombadil.
7. Comic Relief Alfrid
You know what bugs me? Characters who are only present for comic relief and nothing else (and annoying comic relief at that). Alfrid was okay during Desolation, but in The Five Armies, his character’s purpose was over. Why have him stick around for the sole purpose of making jokes at his expense? Why not give us clever humor from characters we know and care about, like the dwarves, or keep the Master of Laketown, a preexisting character, and poke fun at him? Instead, we have this guy to add to the ranks of Jar Jar and Darcy the intern.
6. Battle Trolls
Okay, I can take orcs seriously. I can take normal trolls seriously. I can even accept those werewyrms. But when you start replacing troll arms and legs with sharp metal bits, you’ve lost me. If other scenes in this movie feel like a video game (the escape from the goblins, the barrel river ride), these guys are straight-up boss battle material. In real life, though, that double amputee with mace feet should be spending most of his time falling down.
5. Smaug’s Lack of Smell
We’ve established that Smaug can smell Bilbo even when he can’t see him, and that sense of smell leads him right to the little guy. But later, when Bilbo is in the company of several unwashed dwarves, Smaug slithers right over them as he searches his cave for them. Really? They’re five feet below you and you can’t smell them? That dragon must have suddenly caught a cold or something.
4. Bombur’s Barrel Roll
Remember how I said the barrel river sequence felt like a video game? This is the part that cemented that feeling. Dozens of enemies going down like the cannon fodder they are, and suddenly Bombur, the heaviest dwarf of the group, decides it’s time to leave the river and goes bouncing through the air and along the river bank, just happening to smash through every orc in his way. Not to mention smashing through physics and logic.
3. The Melting Gold Statue
Oh, look, we’re defying physics again. This time, after a chase through the halls of Erebor, Thorin cracks open a giant mold to reveal a freshly-created solid gold statue. At least, it’s solid for about a minute before suddenly melting and submerging Smaug. One minute, it’s staying firmly in place; next minute it gushes away in pure liquid form. I don’t know much about molten gold, but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t work like that.
2. Galadriel Yelling at Sauron
So the White Council goes in to rescue Gandalf and stop Sauron, and I’m expecting a huge battle, all these elves and wizards against the most powerful evil in the land. How do they defeat him? Galadriel goes all dark blue, waves her light vial around, and yells at him. That’s it. That’s your rushed, anticlimactic, logic-defying showdown. Why didn’t they just do that to defeat Sauron in The Lord of the Rings? If nothing else, it would have bought them some time. No idea who to blame for this, Peter Jackson or J.R.R., but whoever did it didn’t think it through.
1. Legolas Defying Gravity
Until this point, I’d been able to ward off my incredulity. But when Legolas starts running up the falling rubble, I’m checked out. That’s my breaking point. I believe the guy can take down an Oliphaunt with one arrow. I believe he can take out twelve dozen orcs without refilling his quiver. But I do not nor will I ever believe that an elf can fly. Sorry, Legolas. Even you aren’t that awesome.
Did these moments stretch your suspension of disbelief? What movie moments made you take a step back and say “Nope”? Let me know in the comments below, and never try to climb falling rubble because you will die.
The Hobbit is owned by New Line Cinema & Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer.