Richard Armitage, who played Thorin Oakenshield in ‘The Hobbit’ trilogy, has passionately defended the films against criticism that they were too long.
The cumulative running time of the series was almost eight hours, but Armitage told Yahoo Movies there was “almost too much [material] for three films”.
He said: “I think a lot of people who weren’t necessarily into the genre or Peter’s work probably felt it was too long; in which case I feel like maybe it’s not the right movie for you. The fans loved every single second of it and actually wanted more. When you look at what had to be lost, there was almost too much for three films. There wasn’t quite enough time to tell the whole story.
“[The length] was a question that went through my mind but then it’s such a weird thing to criticise as well. The movies were criticised because they were considered to be too long, but when in life do you ever get twice as much for the same price? People who bought a cinema ticket were effectively getting two movies for the price of one.
“What people don’t realise is that really ‘The Hobbit’ was the blueprint for ‘The Lord Of The Rings’. Tolkien himself expanded on his own work. Peter Jackson’s love of Middle Earth drove him forward and made him want to explore every character and detail because with the technology he developed, why wouldn’t you want to go to Dol Guldur with Gandalf? Why wouldn’t you want to tell that side of the story? I think he knew he was never going to visit Middle Earth again so he wanted to show it in the best way that he could.”
Read the rest of our interview with the very honest (and very nice) Armitage below.
Yahoo: What are the deleted scenes from ‘The Battle Of Five Armies’ that you are most excited about?
Armitage: We’re going to see a big funeral scene at the end with some pretty emotional speeches by Gandalf. That’s something I’m looking forward to. I know that when the decision was made to take that out of the final movie was made there was a little scene added where you see the dwarves on the waterfall and they kneel around the dead body. That was an addition because the funeral was cut. I imagine in the Extended Edition they’ll both be in.
There’s also a great chariot race that’s in the middle of ‘Five Armies’ which got cut. They spent a lot of time and money building a chariot and the computer graphics in that sequence are really special. I think Balin is driving the chariot and Dwalin is on the back firing off weapons, and Kili and Fili are hanging off the side of it. I think that whole sequence is a three and half-minute chase so there’s quite a lot of footage.
I also heard a rumour that they might do a release of the extended edition in cinemas so people could see it [the chariot scene] in IMAX, so lets keep our fingers crossed that that might happen. That would be cool wouldn’t it?
Why do you think these scenes were cut? For length?
Partly that, but sometimes you can repeat themes. There were a lot of characters who had to finish of their stories, for example the Tauriel/Thranduil storyline had to finish. Playing a funeral scene on top of that is just overloading the end of the movie so to be honest I wasn’t disappointed that it got cut. The end of the film felt right without it.
I was sad about the chariot and I know Graham McTavish [Dwalin] was very disappointed that it wasn’t in there. It’s so exciting and thrilling to watch but there just wasn’t time for it.
Was Part 3 shorter because the other films got stick for being ‘too long’?
I don’t feel that. The thing is you see all the 3 films individually but they actually tell one long story. As you head towards the end the tempo speeds up. The tempo of this film was always going to be faster than the other two and I think Peter always knew that. That’s why the first 45 minutes of the first movie, which everyone felt was quite slow… if you watch those 3 movies as a whole its necessarily paced that way because he knows the end of the film is going to be this fast and furious finale, and he had that whole picture in his mind, and it was just where it was divided up and when it was released in the cinema that made people feel like that. [Five Armies] is like the final act of a Beethoven symphony, its fast and driving towards the end. I think that’s why it’s shorter.
What extra scenes did you have to shoot when the series became three movies?
People think that when they decided to do three movies we all had to go back and start shooting more stuff. Actually it wasn’t the case, we’d already shot pretty much everything and Peter was editing ‘Part Two’ and said ‘I can’t do this’… ‘I need to ask for another movie because there’s so much stuff we’d have to lose’.
What then happened was that he pick-up stuff we shot was really making the third film about ‘The Battle of the Five Armies’ but also just shaping the finale to the first and second films, so we could really make sense of where he stopped the story and where he could restart it again. It was just a shaping process that happened.
What did you make of the new romantic storyline involving Tauriel and Kili?
To be honest I don’t have much of an opinion about it. They created characters that they wanted to explore. It was a female element that didn’t exist [in the books] which personally I don’t think was necessary. But I appreciated the fact that they knew that this film would be watched by a lot of young people and that they wanted young girls and women to have ca character that they could possibly relate to. I didn’t worry too much about it and I enjoyed the storyline myself and I was happy to see it played out.
‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’ is available now on DVD and Blu-Ray.