The Hobbit trilogy — a series of words that, to this day, can only be written with a sigh — is long, bloated and mostly unnecessary.
That’s not exactly breaking news, but two video essays from culture commentator Lindsay Ellis do a remarkable job of explaining exactly why the movies are so hard to watch, before taking a deep dive into a likely explanation of how they get that way.
The whole thing will take you about an hour to watch, but it’s a better use of your time than watching any of the Hobbit films again. The breakdown is filled with more affection than most videos critiquing the series, which is another reason they’re so easy to watch. Ellis even travels to New Zealand to interview one of the actors from the film and visit the remaining sets, while laying out a very plausible theory about what happened during production, which adds a lot of weight to her theories about the films’ quality.
Spoiler warning: Much of what Ellis reports puts the blame on the studios, and there were a lot of studios involved.
I didn’t think I would be able to stomach the entirety of the first hourlong video when I clicked on it, but the hour flew by, and I came out with a much better understanding of these films — and even a bit of respect for the few things the series was able to get right! This is highly recommended viewing for any Lord of the Rings fans, or anyone interested in how to tell an effective story in general.
Part one is at the top of this post, and part two can be watched below. Be sure to stick around for the ending.