If you can actually believe it, Peter Jackson’s final movie in the ‘Hobbit’ trilogy, “The Hobbit: Battle Of The Five Armies,” is actually his shortest in length. In fact, the economic two-hour, and twenty-four-minute running time is actually the most concise of the entire ‘Lord Of The Rings’ sextology. ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’ and ‘Two Towers’ are both just shy of three hours, ‘Return of The King’ is the epic at just over three hours and twenty minutes, ‘An Unexpected Journey’ is two hours and forty nine minute and ‘The Desolation of Smaug’ clocks in at two hours and forty one minutes. Comparatively, ‘Battle Of The Five Armies’ is pretty brisk, especially when you consider that it features a 45-minute battle sequence. Perhaps Jackson has been listening to some of the complaints that his movies run far too long.
Of course there’s an extended version in the works, however, and during the press day for the film overseas, Jackson revealed, “the extended cut, which will be about 30 minutes longer, will have some additional Beorn stuff” — that’s the character played by Mikael Persbrandt who has a brief appearance in in ‘Smaug.’ Even still, another half hour still will make the ‘Battle Of The Five Armies’ run under three hours and therefore it will easily be the shortest of the extended cut films as well. Perhaps that bodes well for the masochists who are planning to watch all six extended versions back-to-back one day.
But is it really over for Peter Jackson and Middle Earth? Sir Ian McKellen recently suggested he was not convinced this was the end of the series for everyone involved. “I was told by Peter, in 2001 that that was the end, that it was all over,” he said. “Here we are 13 years later. So I don’t believe necessarily that this is the end of the journey.”
And finally, though Jackson’s 48fps version of the first ‘Hobbit’ movie was met with backlash, the director seems convinced the faster frame rate will be accepted in the future.
“I just think it’s a much better way to see films,” he said. “After the first ‘Hobbit’ film, I found out a lot of tricks to make it look less like video. I understood the criticisms. So the second and third movies have a slightly more textured look. I regret more people didn’t see them like that. 100 years ago movies were black-and-white, silent, and 16 frames a second. So 100 years from now, what are they going to be now? But you can absolutely guarantee that they’re not going to be 24 frames a second and they’re not going to be 2D. And ultimately the audiences for movies are beginning to dwindle that it’s becoming a very serious issue for the industry. The industry has to have the audience in order to make these films. So it’s a serious thing – how do you get people to leave their houses and go to the theater? I think it’s important that filmmakers look at the technology and figure out how to make the theatrical experience a little more exciting.”
“The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies” opens on December 12th. Check out a new featurette and two new clips from the film below. – reporting by Drew Taylor.