The Hobbit Trilogy: 10 Worst CGI Moments

Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.

The Hobbit The Battle of the Five Armies Extended Edition Legolas
New Line Cinema

It's been ten years since the long and eagerly awaited first Hobbit movie graced our screens. The idea of Peter Jackson taking us back to Middle-earth for a further three movies, after almost a decade, was music to our ears. That was until the first film started rolling.

Pretty soon it was clear something was off. The gritty tone of The Lord of the Rings had been replaced with a dream-like glow. Everything was clean and polished. It looked like a fairy tale. Now, initially that might have suited the tone of The Hobbit - the original story was far lighter than The Lord of the Rings after all - but as the movie progressed the ability to suspend disbelief soon dissipated.

The combined approach of shooting in 48 fps, with 4k cameras just made everything look too real, but not in a good way. Props looked like props, make-up looked like make-up, and the CGI looked cartoonish. Although characters like Gollum and Smaug were triumphant achievements in digitalisation, there was an over reliance on CGI throughout the trilogy. Some moments were excusable, and some would have had Tolkien rolling in his grave.

The indie director-turned-Hollywood big hitter simply dropped the ball on this one.

10. Dwarf Stepping Stones

The Hobbit The Battle of the Five Armies Extended Edition Legolas
New Line Cinema

The inclusion of Legolas in the Hobbit trilogy was shameless fan service. The filmmakers thought it necessary to reference the Lord of the Rings at every opportunity, and no one gave them more of an excuse to do so, than Legolas.

Admittedly his inclusion in the films wasn't necessarily a bad thing. Although Tolkien had not conceived of the character when writing The Hobbit, the information we gained from The Lord of the Rings made it plausible (and even probable) that he was around during the story.

But man did the writers really stretch plausibility into all out ludicrousness. They torpedoed the character. Put aside the whole moody teen-elf thing, every other action scene was nonsensical. No longer was he the skilled archer of the first trilogy - who did the odd impressive stunt - now he felt like a lost member of the Avengers performing ballet.

This CGI scene perfectly summed up a key issue with the entire trilogy. Peter Jackson seemed confused about the tone of his movies. On the one hand we had a dramatic chase sequence with the dwarves in a desperation situation, on the other hand he packed it full cheap laughs. One tone undercut the other and caused the entire sequence to fall flat.

Legolas skipping over dwarves heads couldn't have been more ridiculous if he was wearing a tutu.


Before engrossing myself in the written word, I spent several years in the TV and film industry. During this time I became proficient at picking things up, moving things and putting things down again.