Phil’s Best To Worst: Peter Jackson’s Middle Earth Films

Phil’s Best To Worst: Peter Jackson’s Middle Earth Films

Best... Other Cr*p

In our latest regular feature, coming out the first Friday of each month, Phil (of Phil’s Quick Capsule Review) breaks down a film related subject in order of his own personal enjoyment from Best To Worst.  This time out: Peter Jackson’s two Middle Earth trilogy’s ! 


Best: Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers

Gollum entered cinema lexicon in what is still an unbeatable combination of motion capture and CGI, the battle of Helms Deep still remains untouched on screen and we are now fully invested in the characters and their fates.  In short it’s epic. 


2. Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship of The Ring 

Tough one this.  Fellowship of The Ring and Two Towers sit almost alongside each other in terms of quality.  A great establishing film packed full of memorable moments, it’s smaller and more intimate scale pays dividends.  It introduced fantasy to millions and set the benchmark for the film series that followed.


3. Lord Of The Rings: The Return of The King

A stunning film for sure, the action beats alone represent some of the best fantasy action ever captured on screen.  Yet the film is hampered by tough source material and a seemingly never ending series of, er, endings. The film peaks well before the credits fall.


4. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

This film remains the best Hobbit film mostly due to a few stand out sequences, not least The Riddles In The Dark scene which still stands out as a franchise high point.  The rest of the film is fine but like all the rest of the Hobbit films it’s too long at times.  I didn’t mind the singing!  


5. The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies

The Battle Of The Five Armies isn’t a bad film.  It’s just one that takes forever to get where it’s going (much like the rest of Hobbit trilogy).  Once again finding story where the book didn’t include it. Jackson struggles to make a run time out of the scant original material and instead adds pointless sequences after pointless sequence.  Also the CGI already looks dated


Worst:The Hobbit: Desolation Of Smaug

Smaug is an amazing creation for sure (almost rivalling that of Gollum) but the film struggles to find pace to get there and when it does it takes too long.  The wider effects can let the film down also.  Meanwhile certain call backs to the earlier (yet timeline latter) Lord Of the Rings films just don’t work. At this point it’s hard to see WHY this had to be split into three films (other than money)

Blog: Grosse Point Geek – Rapid Fire Reviews Jan 2015

Blog: Grosse Point Geek – Rapid Fire Reviews Jan 2015

A Blog Grosse Point Geek Uncategorized

Happy New Year fellow film fans! Welcome to Grosse Pointe Geeks Jan 2015 Rapid Fire Review!



Exodus: Gods and Kings

Director: Ridley Scott

Actors: Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton, Ben Kingsley, Aaron Paul, John Turturro, Sigourney Weaver.

Scott has another stab at the historical epic with this so-so retelling of the story of Moses. On the plus side its beautifully photographed, very well directed and the set designs are amazing. However, its too long, fairly dull in places and there isn’t nearly enough action. Also Weaver and Aaron Paul barely get a look in -making one wonder why they were cast in the first place, not only that but to be honest the whole thing had a distinct whiff of Ridley Scott tapping Gladiator all over again.

At Cinemas now



The Expendables 3

Director: Patrick Hughes

Actors: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford, Dolph Lundgren, Wesley Snipes, Jet Li, etc etc.

Recently released on Blu Ray, which includes an extended more violent version than the one released in cinemas. Now i know i did a quick review of it last year, but if I’ve said it once I’ll say it again – for the love of God and Mammon – if you haven’t done it already  -please please watch this film!

Yes its silly, no it isn’t Shakespeare but if you love an action movie that doesn’t take itself too seriously, is well made and extremely entertaining – then this is definitely for you.

(On Blu Ray and DVD now  – however i would recommend getting it on Blu Ray)



The Heat

Director: Paul Fieg

Actors: Sandra Bullock, Mellissa McCarthy

The mismatched cop genre is mined once more in this fairly good action comedy. Bullock is the straight laced FBI agent who reluctantly teams up with McCarthy’s slobbish Boston detective. Skips along at a rare old pace, very profane and actually quite funny in parts – especially McCarthy who gets all the quality one liners.

However we have seen this kind of film many times before in the 1980’s and one hopes that its success wont necessarily inspire Hollywood to go down that route all over again.

Available on DVD/Blu Ray and Netflix




The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies

Director: Peter Jackson

Actors: Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Luke Evans, Ian McKellan, Lee Pace, Orlando Bloom.

The Middle Earth saga comes to a close with this epic final chapter that sees all and sundry close in on the Lonely Mountain to try and claim the gold from Thorin and Dwarves.. Freeman, Evans, Armitage and McKellan give faultless performances once again, plus Jackson effortlessly crafts a film that not only looks fantastic but is incredibly enjoyable as well. I will say this though – as good as it is, it cant touch the Return Of The King and one did get the feeling that a lot of footage was held back for the yet to be released 2015 extended edition DVD.

At Cinemas now



The Imitation Game

Director: Morten Tyldum

Actors: Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightly, Mark Strong, Charle Dance, Matthew Goode.

Based on the true story of Alan Turing – a brilliant mathematician who single handedly built a machine that could decipher the Nazi Enigma Code and as a result turned the tide of World War 2, saving millions of lives in the process. A totally outstanding film, with a mesmerising performance from Cumberbatch that, if there is any justice, will bag him a much deserved Oscar nomination. One of the best films of 2014 – highly recommended.

At cinemas now



The Pyramid

Director: Gregory Levasseur

Actors: James Buckley, Ashley Hinshaw

Found footage film featuring a team of archaeologists who unearth a lost pyramid then get trapped inside, whilst being pursued by evil supernatural forces and all manner of flesh eating beasties. Descends into CGI madness at the end but to be fair the story is quite interesting, there are some pretty scary bits and its certainly worth a look for anyone who enjoyed last years As Above So Below.

Possibly still at cinemas now




Sin City 2: A Dame To Kill For

Director: Robert Rodriguez, Frank Miller

Actors: Mickey Rourke, Bruce Willis, Jessica Alba, Eva Green, Josh Brolin, Joseph Gordon levitt, Powers Booth.

Not bad sequel to the 2005 original. Well made, fairly enjoyable with some good performances  – especially Brolin, Levitt, Booth and Green, however the narrative and story aren’t as well structured as the first film and overall it all feels like a case of been there done that with no need to do it again  – which seems to be all Robert Rodriguez does these days anyway.

Available on DVD/Blu ray



The Wicker Tree

Director: Robin Hardy

Actors: Graham McTavish, Christopher Lee

Adaptation of the novel ‘Cowboys for Christ’ and a sort of sequel/companion piece to Hardy’s original film – The Wicker Man.

Suffice to say that once in a while there comes a film that is so bad that it automatically gets into my top ten worst of all time list………and this is that film. Awful in just about every way you can imagine – cheap looking, amateurish direction, terrible acting, appalling script,  and overall a complete and utter insult to anyone who enjoyed the first film.


Available on Netflix (if you can be bothered)




That’s it for now.  I’ll be back soon…

Author: Will Strong 


Blog: The Hobbit The Battle Of The Five Armies – A Quick Capsule Review

Blog: The Hobbit The Battle Of The Five Armies – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Look.  If you’ve seen the Lord Of The Rings trilogy and previous two Hobbit films you exactly know what you are going to get here and WHATEVER I say will have no massive impact because, let’s face it, you’ll watch it anyway.  And to be honest the film fully delivers on those expectations, and with a much shorter run time that any of the previous Middle Earth films.  The problem is it does nothing more than do what you expect. The battle scenes are good (but FAR too much CGI) but not as good or as epic as those in The Return Of The King.  The character moments are good, but again The LOTR trilogy did it all better.  It’s shot beautifully but in truth Middle Earth is getting a bit ‘been there done’ that by now.  So as impressive and pretty as all is, there’s just not enough new or original here to excite me.  Especially when Jackson has done it bigger better and with better CGI before.  So a final farewell to Middle Earth.  Please don’t come back.

Best Bit: Christopher lee kicks arse.  Kinda.

Buy, Rent, Stream, Borrow: Rent

If You Liked this Try: Lord Of The Rings: Return of The King, The Hobbit,  Krull

Author: Phil Hobden