Almost a year ago exactly, Peter Jackson’s An Unexpected Journey opened to great financial success, but disappointed critically as many viewers failed to indulge in its epic length, the often trivial plot embellishments and frankly pointless high frame rate experimentation. Restrained by the trepidation that these failures provoked, The Desolation of Smaug failed to repeat its predecessor’s box-office triumph, but this gutsy sequel returns Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy to familiar ground – a bigger, bolder adventure with detailed characters and breathtaking action set pieces.
A bitter end
Ten years ago in a flat not so far away, Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost were humble British television personalities until Shaun of the Dead launched their cinematic careers. Three years later, and despite immense expectation, they surpassed their previous success with the superior Hot Fuzz. A further six years later and the prodigal sons have returned with the final part of their Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy; The World’s End. Sadly, as victims of their own success, they are unable to go one further and this flat attempt provides a far from fitting conclusion to what could have been one of cinema’s greatest trilogies.
Pirates of the Clay-animation
Aardman are second only to Pixar as the studio who audiences trust to bring them consistently entertaining and inventive big-screen animations. With such tremendous reputation it’s only natural that every new project is met with heightened expectations and they usually deliver. However, following consecutive disappointments, Flushed Away and Arthur Christmas, Aardman’s fifth feature film received a surprising amount of trepidation.
In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.
Despite the universal acclaim surrounding his astonishing The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Peter Jackson’s return to Middle Earth has been met with an unexpected degree of trepidation. Prior to its release audiences maintained positivity towards the director’s proven ability in bringing Tolkien’s iconic material onto the screen, but failed to consent to the idea of stretching one novel to fit three epics as well experimenting with HFR (high-frame-rate) technology.