The Download: 'The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies,' Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman Breaking Up, and Peeps

The Hobbit

The third and final Hobbit movie is getting its title changed from The Hobbit: There and Back Again to The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, and they're making a movie inspired by a marshmallowy treat. We discuss that and more on this week's Download.

Binh: We talked about the third Hobbit movie potentially getting a name change last week. Well, now it's official. It's not going to be The Hobbit: Into the Fire though, but The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. Peter Jackson's reason is below, but are you buying it?

"There and Back Again felt like the right name for the second of a two film telling of the quest to reclaim Erebor, when Bilbo's arrival there, and departure, were both contained within the second film. But with three movies, it suddenly felt misplaced—after all, Bilbo has already arrived 'there' in the Desolation of Smaug. When we did the premiere trip late last year, I had a quiet conversation with the studio about the idea of revisiting the title. We decided to keep an open mind until a cut of the film was ready to look at. We reached that point last week, and after viewing the movie, we all agreed there is now one title that feels completely appropriate. And so: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies it is."

Jeff: Well, it's a more exciting title, I guess. It doesn't make me want to see the movie, but perhaps others won't be so stubborn.

Binh: I take it the vistas of New Zealand don't impress you anymore? It certainly is a better title, but I feel the general sentiment is that people will be watching the third movie just to complete the series rather than it is because it's something they want to watch. Do you agree?

Jeff: Does anybody really love these movies? I feel like the collective response has been anywhere between an eyeroll and a shrug. It's got to be one of the quieter $600 million+ grossers in recent memory. And by "it" I was referring to Smaug.

Sara: I think we'd say and understood more about the fans if knew them personally (I know...duh, Sara) but at this rate our understanding of all things Hobbit and Ring has morphed into a confusion about how anyone could care about anything this big,, bloated and drawn out for this long.

Binh: $600 plus is nothing to sneeze at, and the third Hobbit will gross about that or more, so yes? Maybe not love is not the right word, but like? Terminator: Genesis may also get a name change, so we'll keep an eye out for that. In any case, I'm glad Peter Jackson will be freed from Middle Earth after this, and I hope he takes a long vacation.

Jeff: I'll be curious to see where he goes from here. His movies certainly can't get any damn bigger. I wonder if he'll pull a Whedon?

Binh: Pull a Whedon as in getting locked in Warner Bros/DC's superheroes franchises?

Jeff: No, as in ping-ponging back and forth between blockbusters and indies.

Sara: Or pull a Whedon as in make a movie you sell for $5 a pop online? That's the dream, right?

Jeff: Bingo. It's the dream, and Jackson is one of the few directors with enough built-in brand value to pull it off. Del Toro could do it. Nolan could, too. After that...maybe Danny Boyle?

Binh: They could, but why do that when they could be paid much more in the studio system? Yes, I'm aware there's the creative aspect. Besides, I think these guys want the big screen. The Wachowskis and and James Cameron fit the bill.

Sara: Oh, I love Danny Boyle. But what major property did he sign on to?

Jeff: None yet. I was just trying to think of directors who can pull in an audience by virtue of their name above the title.

Sara: And do many of those have turned to TV.

Binh: The direction of the flow is usually from TV to movies, not the other way around.

Sara: Not for brand name directors like Scorsese and Spielberg. They flow upstream, like salmon.

Binh: Directors of their stature get to punch their own tickets and can go anywhere they want.

Speaking of directors, Roberto Orci is breaking up The Beatles, splitting from his long-time writing partner Alex Kurtzman, to join the director ranks as the helmer of Star Trek 3. From some of the coverage, they have 666 somewhere on them. Is that criticism justified or even fair?

Jeff: The only reason I'm at all upset about this is that it conceivably frees them up to make twice as many movies.

Binh: Sure they wrote these blockbusters, but the jury is still out on them as directors. Of the two, only Kurtzman has been behind the camera, and that movie, People Like Us, is very different from the Transformers and the Star Treks they've written. We'll see what they are as directors after Venom and Star Trek 3. Until then, it's too early to judge.

What we ought to fear is not them, but that Jon M. Chu Jem and the Hologram movie. It looks like it's being made for a buck and will probably make bank at the box office. Cue the copycats.

Jeff: Considering that Sony is revving up a live-action Barbie franchise, I guess we can consider them cued...

Binh: Didn't they already made a live-action Barbie movie? I think it was called Legally Blonde. In any case, I have a bad, bad feeling about that Barbie movie. It sounds like a desperate attempt to raise the sales numbers of the dolls.

Sara: They've been doing absolutely horrifying CGI Barbie movies for home viewing for more than a decade so I actually have hopes the Barbie live action could raise the bar. And when I say this I want to make clear the bar is gutter-level so raising it is a pretty low expectation.

Regarding Jem, I was torn to learn how young the cast was--in part because I watched the show as a kid and definitely perceived the characters as adults. In my mind "adult" means out of junior high. I realize we go through this subject a bit--casting often seems too young for films aimed at a crowd who will naturally/literally look up to them--but these girls are too young to be duping their boyfriends and driving fast in excessive, rock-n-roll financed cars. Five year olds will think they're grownups and the girls still have baby fat. Maybe I just think it's creepy.

Jeff: Compared to the Peeps movie, it might as well be an Oscar winner. I admittedly know very little about Jem beyond her pink hair and overall outrageousness, but the synopsis didn't sound like it had anything to do with the cartoon at all.

Binh: Isn't it basically a road movie with social media tie-ins? This could be the only movie where it'll ask audience to tweet about it or like some Facebook page during the movie.

Sara: That sounds brilliant. The kickstarter intro admitted an interest in brand loyalty but whatever. Jem was the original Hannah Montana, though now that I write that, I'm sure there was someone before Jem. It's not unlike Honey West but instead of spies, they're rock stars--and BFFS.

Binh: Peeps and Angry Bird can duke it out in 2016, but yeah, they'll turn anything with brand recognition into movies these days. Dentyne: The Movie, anyone? Rom-com potential there.

Jeff: Oh God. They might hear you, Binh.

Sara: You mean, you were joking? I was sure you knew something I didn't. Why weren't there Angry Bird Peeps? Or, for that matter, Jelly Bean Minion?

I pray the movie has a scene about imperfect peeps that recalls the clone room in Aliens Resurrection. There has been such peep art. I love the way this mass produced food craft is a kind of inspiration to people. Look at this, the perp was never found (neither the victims).

Binh: Have you ever considered that's where the idea for the movie came from?

Sara: OMG you think the unfound/untold victims of the stone peeps are launching their retribution in tentpole form?

Binh: They are saving that for the sequel. Well, that's all the time we have for this week. Until next time.

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