I reviewed The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug but I put off reviewing Battle of the Five Armies for a long time because I find it rather upsetting to watch. It feels a bit like this movie is trolling me. It has some nice scenes particularly as Martin Freeman does an excellent performance as Bilbo, parts of the movie are very beautiful and well executed but then it will pull some bullsh*t to just ruin everything! Mainly it is CGI battle stunts which are the offenders. We got some of that in The Desolation of Smaug but Battle of the Five Armies is worse, possibly because CGI battles are the meat of the movie. There’s also too much filler which includes the Tauriel/Kili/Legolas love triangle and (shudder) Alfred.
Filmed in Great Britain and free to watch The Hunt for Gollum is a fan-made Lord of the Rings film based on Tolkien’s appendices. Taking place between The Hobbit and The Fellowship of the Ring, the story follows Aragorn as he tracks Gollum across middle earth to prevent him revealing The One Ring’s location to Sauron. It’s stylistically similar to the film trilogy and the actors seem to have been chosen for their resemblances to their movie counterparts – I’m certain they used some of the same extras as well. All this makes it feel like a part of the series, and the production values are extremely high.
It’s a beautiful production, especially from a visual perspective. A lot of the landscapes are digital but they look incredibly realistic. These guys literally went out and created a whole new world. I cannot fail to be impressed; I’ve seen my share of fan films and where some might achieve the standards of a TV movie The Hunt for Gollum has the quality of a cinema release. They achieve a lot on a budget of only £3000.
Aragorn gets Gollum into the sack
I’m not sure why –lack of funds or difficulty with the CG model perhaps- but you don’t see much of Gollum throughout the whole thing. There are a lot of scenes with him tied up in a sack (which, incidentally, seemed to change size between shots). This seemed vaguely ridiculous and I just couldn’t believe Gollum would have any difficulty escaping from it. This is the weakest part of the entire film that some rescripting – involving Argorn finding Gollum later in the story – could have avoided. I would have liked to see Aragorn chase Gollum all the way to Mordor only to have him taken by the Orcs. It would have added more emotion and drama to the film – Aragorn getting so close only to fail.
As a fan it’s good to see more of Aragorn as a Ranger. Adrian Webster does a rather introverted performance, but is solid throughout and the camera obviously loves him. This is a huge contrast to most fan productions where the acting just makes you cringe! The fight scenes are the gem of this film, especially the one with the Orcs. All the people involved are experts in stage combat and it’s beautifully choreographed. The Hunt for Gollum really pushes the boundaries on fan-films; no Lord of the Rings fan would want to miss it.