I'm hoping Howard Shore's score to The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies will be better than his somewhat lackluster effort for its predecessor, The Desolation of Smaug.
There was a wistful "love theme" in the latter film that harkened back to Shore's earlier, greater work for Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy. But on the whole, the music, including the requisite leitmotifs, was inferior to the composer's previous endeavors ... even to his tunes for Jackson's first Hobbit film, An Unexpected Journey. The whimsy, the menace, the inspiration wasn't there. In its place was a maudlin assemblage of bombast and meandering melodies.
I'd be happy if this wasn't the case for TBotFA. But I'm concerned it will be.
Even good composers fall short every once in a while, and there are such high hopes for the Hobbit installments that a small decline could be viewed as catastrophic. The music to Jackson's cinematic J.R.R. Tolkien initiatives is vital to their quality. Who doesn't remember the theme to The One Ring? The leitmotifs for Gondor, for Rohan? The powerful, triumphant melody that plays as Samwise carries Frodo up Mount Doom in The Return of the King?
We need more of that in this final Hobbit chapter. Nothing less. Otherwise, the film won't be as grand as it could be ... and will be compared unfavorably to the other LOTR pictures. Why not end with a bang?
I'm anticipating immense battle scenes and tense drama in TBotFA. Let's hope they're complimented by great music. The fate of this Middle-earth series depends on that. It's no minor matter.
Read more of Simon Hardy Butler's thoughts on the cinema at cinemablogishkeit.com.